Indiana Swimming

Swim Meet 101

Swim meets, while overwhelming and intimidating to some at first, are a fun and rewarding experience for the swimmers. It is extremely important for swimmers to participate in swim meets. They help give purpose and meaning to the countless hours of practice, and are a great way to track progress. Due to our club not being able to host any meets, GREAT currently does not have any required meets. We typically try and offer two meets a month, while offering a good balance between local and travel meets, although it does not always work out that way. We recommend at least one meet a month. This will allow for consistent opportunities for tracking improvement. The majority of meets are Friday-Sunday with multiple sessions to help split up age groups. You are not required to attend all of your age groups’ sessions in order to be able to participate. However, attending all sessions is encouraged by the coaches, and gives you the chance to swim a wide variety of events. All of our new members are encouraged to observe a meet first, before signing up for one. While this is not required by any means, this gives both swimmers and parents a chance to sit back and take it all in, without the stress that can sometimes come along with participating. Below is everything you need to know about swim meets. 


Signing Up

The first step to a swim meet is signing up. Below are the steps needed in order to sign up for a swim meet:

  1. Sign-in to GREAT’s homepage.

  2. Once signed in, you can access our events through the “Events” tab on the website, or scroll down to the bottom of the homepage where our events are also listed. 

  3. For the meet you wish to attend, click the “Edit Commitment” button (this button will not appear if you are not signed in).

  4. After that your swimmers name will appear. You will notice that it says “Undeclared” next to their name. Click on your swimmer’s name and proceed to declare them for the meet by clicking the “Declaration” drop drown box and selecting either yes or no. After clicking yes, you will be prompted to select the days and/or sessions that you are available to attend. There is also a notes box where you can leave a message for the coaches about anything relating to the meet or anything you want them to know. When done on this page make sure that you click “Save Changes” at the bottom.

  5. After saving it will return you to the previous screen where either “Committed” or “Declined” will appear next to your swimmer’s name. If you have multiple swimmers you will need to repeat the process for each.

Coaches will pick the events for every swimmer at each meet. 


What To Pack

  • Two suits (Team suit and a backup)

  • Two caps (Team caps only)

  • Two pairs of goggles

  • Two towels

  • Sharpie for writing events, heats, and lanes on arm

  • Team gear to wear in between races

As you can tell, you will want to pack multiples. Towels get wet quickly, goggles often break, and suits and caps can sometimes rip. Always be prepared in case of an emergency. 


Before The Meet

  • Always arrive no later than 15 minutes prior to the start of our designated warm-up time. It is crucial for swimmers to warm-up prior to the meet, and a late arrival may not guarantee that your swimmer can appropriately warm-up. 

  • Parents will need to check-in upon arrival. The typical cost for a meet is around $5 a day, and they typically offer multiple session passes at a cheaper rate. There will also be heat sheets available to purchase (typically only a dollar or two). These are optional, however very helpful with following along with the meet.

  • Swimmers will sometimes need to sign-in. At meets where this is required, swimmers cannot swim if they have not signed in. Sing-in sheets will be posted somewhere within the facility, make sure to ask the check-in table when you arrive. Check the meet letter posted on the events tab to see if the meet requires swimmers to sign-in.

  • After checking in parents will then be directed to the spectator seating area. Parents are not allowed inside of the locker rooms, and only parents who are officials are allowed on the pool deck. After signing in swimmers will head towards the locker rooms where they can then access the pool deck. The team will always have a designated sitting area for the entire team to place their belonging and hang out in between races. Look for familiar faces and gear, as well as our team banner when you get onto the pool deck. 

  • A big help to coaches is if parents or swimmers can write their events, heats, and lanes on their arms prior to them getting onto the pool deck for warm-ups. 


During the Meet

  • At some meets there will be a clerk of course for younger swimmers (10 & Under) to report to, to line up for their event. For ages 11 and over, and sometimes the 10 and under swimmers, it is their responsibility to make it behind the blocks in the appropriate heat and lane for each of their events. This is why it is very important to have events, heats, and lanes written on their arms. They can also always check with the lane timers to make sure they are in the right spot at the right time. Each event will have an announcement over the PA system. Once a swimmer hears first call for their event they should check with the coaches for any last minute advice, and then head towards the blocks to get lined up.

  • Swimmers should have their caps and goggles on and be ready to go when standing behind the blocks. The starter will not wait around for a swimmer to get ready. 

  • After each race the swimmer should go immediately to the coaches for constructive feedback on their race. The coach will discuss the swim in a positive manner, detailing what they did well and giving them suggestions for improvement.

  • An important thing for swimmers and parents to remember is that DQ's (Disqualifications) happen. This is not a reason to get upset. Every swimmer at one time or another has gotten DQ'd. It is important for the swimmers to learn from, and apply what they've learned, so that it does not happen again. 

  • It is very important for the swimmers to keep hydrated during the meet, as well as refuel between races with light snacks. 

  • Swimmers are not allowed to be in the spectator seating area throughout the meet. They must remain on deck in our designated team area between races, or be up supporting their teammates on the side of the pool. 

  • Swimmers are not allowed to be on their cell phones or other electronic devices, unless checking meet mobile or communicating with parents when absolutely necessary. Swimmers should be socializing with teammates or up cheering on teammates when they are not swimming. 

  • Swimmers can only scratch from an event under emergency circumstances, with coaches approval.

  • Most importantly, swimmers should give their all and do their best!


After The Meet

  • Swimmers must ask the coaches for permission before leaving the meet. While we do not require our swimmers to stay for the entire meet, even if they are done swimming, we do encourage it because it shows support to your teammates. Also, relays are often at the end of the meet and it lets down the rest of the team when one individual has left causing the relay to not be able to swim.

  • Ribbons or medals awarded to your swimmer will be handed out by the coaches at the next practice following the meet. 

  • Coaches will also acknowledge two swimmers from the meet with the following two awards at the next practice:

    1. ​​High Point Award- Goes to the swimmer who scored the most points in their respective age group from the entire meet. 

    2. Spirit Award- Goes to the swimmer who displayed the most team spirit by cheering for and supporting their teammates over the course of the meet. 


Tips For Parents

  • The pool is usually very warm, dress appropriately. 

  • Most facilities have bleachers for spectator seating. Most facilities will allow you to bring in stadium seats or bleacher seats, as well as folding lawn chairs to be set up in certain areas. 

  • You will have plenty of downtime between your swimmers races. If you'd like, bring things to keep you busy.

  • The most important tip is to be a good parent. This can be a great experience or horrible experience for your swimmer. It is both the parent's and coach's responsibility to work together and make this a great and rewarding experience for your swimmer. Let the coaches coach, and we will let the parents parent. Coaches are there to provide constructive feedback during the meet, not parents. Be there as a positive and supportive network for your children and others on the team, and remember that encouragement goes a long way. If there is an ever an issue please see the coach. We want to represent GREAT and our athletes in the best way possible, and must work together in that effort. 


One of the most important things for both swimmers and parents to remember is that no swimmer will cut time at every meet in every event, or even at every meet in general. Both a swimmer’s season and career are full of peaks, valleys, and plateaus. We encourage our athletes to celebrate the peaks, learn from the valleys, and fight through the plateaus.