The Survival Guide 

What to Bring To a Meet, What to Expect At a Meet

A Swim Meet Scoop Will Be Sent Out Before Every Meet!!  Please read the meet scoop carefully!

The following information is general guidelines.  The meet scoop will give you exact details. 

There is a lot of excitement going on at every swim meet, the best way to be prepared is to be informed and know what to expect.

Before the meet:

Before Meet Day, your swimmer must be SIGNED-IN or SIGNED-OUT for a meet.

To sign in or out of a meet, you need to SIGN in to the team website

click on the Events tab at the top of the page, scroll down to the event you want to sign in to

click on the Sign in to this EVENT  button

– this is how we let the coaches know who is or isn’t planning on attending a meet.  This must be done by Sunday before a Saturday meet, and Wednesday before a Wednesday meet. If you do not sign in or sign out, your child will not be scheduled for any events for a meet.

Many might not understand the wide-reaching effects of even one swimmer not being signed in or out for a meet. Your adherence to these rules is critical to good team management:

  • Meet seeding: In addition to coaching your kids and being at meets, the coaches must carve out time to review each of the 150 individual swimmer's performances and goals and then balance those with the needs of the team to position us competitively for each meet. To effectively do this requires many hours and begins days in advance of a meet.  Please support our coaches by giving them all the information they need to do their job.
  • Fairness to other swimmers:  Every swimmer on the team works very hard and wants to do well in as many events as possible.  Of the 6-7 events available in every age group, each swimmer can only swim in a maximum of 3-4, including relays.  Often it's less in large age groups.  Every swimmer can be affected by ONE swimmer not SIGNING IN/OUT or being late to a meet.  It can scratch a relay, or remove an opportunity for other swimmers to compete in events for which they might have been entered.

For the consideration of our hard-working coaches, and your hard-working fellow swimmers, please adhere to these rules and be sure that you are signed in or out of a meet at least one week before the meet.

Rest & Nutrition

Swim meets require a lot of energy and stamina.  They start early and are fast-paced, so a good night’s sleep and a well-balanced dinner the evening before the meet are required to help your swimmer do the best that they can.

The morning of the meet:

Arrival Time

You must arrive at Saturday meets by whatever time is in the email (typically between 7-7:45 am), and for Wednesday meets by whatever time is in the email (typically 4-5 pm).  There is NO REASON not to notify someone if you are unavoidably detained but are still coming to the meet.  An emergency number (925-640-5069) has been designated for late arrival notification.  Directions to all pools in the league are posted on the Briarhill website.

All swimmers who are not checked in will be SCRATCHED (removed from ALL events at the meet) by 8:00 am for morning meets and 5:15 pm for evening meets.  SCRATCHES are permanent, NO EXCEPTIONS.

First stop, SWIMMER CHECK-IN.  Be sure that your swimmer(s) checks in with the team parent wearing the Hawaiian apron.  She is usually stationed at the Briarhill canopy.  Have your swimmer(s) wait long enough to be told that they are checked in.  All parents who are working the meet must also check in at the canopy and initial the job sign-up sheet next to their name.  Once you have officially checked in, head to the pool deck to get instructions from your coach regarding warm-up.  Then be sure to have your swimmer check in with their Age Group Line-up Coordinator and get their "strip" telling them which events they will be swimming.  Your Age Group Line-up Coordinator will tell them when they need to report to the canopy to line up for their races.  (Sometimes it is helpful to write the swimmers' event numbers on their hands with permanent marker.)

Warm-up is mandatory for all swimmers. Warm-up generally takes place between 7:30 am and 8:30 am for a Saturday meet, and 5:00 pm and 5:30 pm for a Wednesday meet. This is the time to get ready for your races, get your muscles warmed up and get used to the pool we are swimming in. It allows swimmers to try out the starting blocks, and see how the pool feels with all the flags and people milling around. This is especially important for our younger swimmers.

During the Meet:

Swim meets are very fast-paced with events quickly following one another.  Each event begins with the youngest age group and works up to the oldest, alternating boys and girls.  Each event has a unique number (which will be the same at all meets), for example, Event 28 is Girls 7-8 25-yard butterfly, and Event 29 is Boys 7-8 25-yard butterfly.  The current event number is usually posted on a board by the Announcer.  Additionally, the Announcer will always announce (a) the current event number and (b) the “on deck” (up next) event.  Listen, watch, and always be aware of the events, as you should have your child delivered to their Line-up Coordinator about 3 or 4  events before the one they are swimming.  It is YOUR responsibility to deliver your child to the Line-up Coordinator; they cannot come to find you!

Within each event, there are usually several “heats”, as there are more swimmers than lanes.  Events with large age groups have many heats.  Within each heat, there are lane assignments.  Your child’s Line-up Coordinator will tell you which lane to be in, and if it’s a relay, what order to swim in.

In between events, it is best to have your child stay warm (if it is cool) or cool (if it is warm) and rest for their next race. Now is a good time for the kids to be playing with toys (board games, cards, books, etc) while they wait for their next race.  Make sure your child is drinking enough water.  It is very easy to get dehydrated even though they are swimming in water.  If there are more than two events between races it is a good idea to have swimmers intake a liquid form of carbohydrate i.e. Gatorade or Powerade.  This gives the body extra energy more quickly than if they eat solid food.  Do not substitute carbohydrates for water.  They still need to have an adequate intake of water to prevent muscle cramping and headaches.

Once your child’s events are done, and you have finished your meet job assignment for the day, you may leave the meet!  Please be considerate of our pool and other team pools and clean up any trash that you may see around your area. Please check with your Line-up Coordinator before you leave, sometimes there are last-minute changes and your swimmer may be scheduled for an event without you being aware of it.

After the meet:

While the Tri-Valley Swim League is a recreational league, individual times and team scores are kept and we are competing against other teams to do our best!  Points are awarded based on placement of finish in each race.  You can see this point distribution in the official Tri-Valley Swim League rules posted in the Briarhill Pool Office, if interested. Our team will not receive any points if we scratch a race and have no entry to earn points. Please, whenever possible, do not scratch!!

Also, children are timed in their events.  Whether or not your child finished in a place high enough to earn points, a good time is important!  Swimmers should always strive to improve their times from meet to meet and should have a great sense of accomplishment for an improved time, no matter how they placed in their event.

Results for all participants will generally be available the next day at swim practice.   Ribbons will be in the “Ribbon Box” at the pool a few days after the meet – each family has a file folder in the Ribbon Box with their swimmer’s ribbons in it.  Don’t forget to pick up yours!

What to bring to a meet:

  • Team swimsuit/Swim cap/Goggles
  • 2 Towels (or on colder mornings - a towel per child's race)
  • Sweatpants and sweatshirt/t-shirt
  • Hydration & nutrition:   cash for the snack bar  or a cooler of drinks & snacks
  • Blankets to sit on/Tarp for wet grass under blankets
  • Umbrella for shade
  • Toys or games that encourage “quiet” play and keep your kids occupied between events
  • Good attitude ready to do your best in the water and cheering your teammates!

Some things to make it even more fun!

  • Set up near families w/ kids in the same age group as yours.  You can help each other get your kids delivered to the Wrangler, and the kids will enjoy being near their friends.
  • Enlist the help of a “Big Kid.”  The team is full of many wonderful teenagers who are great with kids and willing to help.  Are you stuck timing, and your 6-year-old needs to go potty or get a snack?  Grab any teen in a Briarhill suit, and they’d be happy to help you out if they aren’t preparing for an event.  You may even wind up with a new babysitter!
  • Cheer on the other swimmers – get to know the kids, who are shooting for a record or a “personal best” or just hoot and holler for that teeny tiny 5-yr old who is being the “little engine that could” during the 6-and-under butterfly!
  • Help the Wrangler – especially for relays, when ½ the kids need to be delivered to the opposite end of the pool.  This is an excellent way to get to know these great kids!

Coach Communication:

During the meet, the coaches move from race to race to assist our swimmers, please understand that during the meet they do not have time to speak with you regarding your child's specific swim. Please email us at [email protected] and we can assist in arranging a time for you to get your questions answered.