General Instructions for a Swim Meet: 

(individual meet requirements may vary)

1. On the Monday prior to a meet weekend, the coach sends out a general information packet containing the required information for the meet. This includes location, entries, event schedule, warm up times and any specific requirements from the host team.  This is an important document to read.

2. Warm up times may vary.  However a SAMPLE may be as follows:  3-Day Meet: Warm Up times: Friday 4PM, events begin at 4:30PM; Saturday & Sunday 7AM, events begin at 8AM; Saturday and Sunday 3PM warm up, events begin at 4 PM.

3. Often the host team will send a last minute package of information such as a psych sheet and time line for the meet.  It is not unusual for warm up times to change due to a change in the number of swimmers entered. A psych sheet is a list of entries per event along with their entry time arranged in order so a swimmer will know in advance where they might be relative to others.

4. It is important that all swimmers be there before warm up begins. The coach on duty must submit a scratch sheet of swimmers who are not present approximately 30 minutes before the first event to the host team. Swimmers not present are scratched from the meet. If being late is unavoidable, please let the coach know. The coach will give a cell phone number to send a text. Please don’t call, as it is very difficult to hear voices due to the background noise on deck.

5. It is very important that when swimmers arrive they check in with the coach on deck. A coach will be taking attendance to see if anyone needs to be scratched. If a swimmer runs right up to talk to friends and the coach has no idea the swimmer is present, the swimmer risks being scratched from the day’s events.

6. Clothing: Current team suits, caps and orange t-shirts or other Firefish labeled clothing are required at all meets. Clothing with names of other teams are not allowed.  We are Firefish and should be proud of it.

7. Tech suits are only worn for championship meets. If a tech suit is needed for qualification, it must be approved by the head coach. Swimmers 12 and under are not approved to wear Tech suits at any time due to NE Swimming Rules.. 

8. Food: Swimmers should bring snacks and water. No candy is allowed at a meet; snacks should be healthy. Water should be brought in a reusable container with a swimmer’s name on it, no single use bottles please. The host team will usually provide a cash snack bar.

9. All swimmers are expected to clean up after themselves. Please do not drop wrappers or food on the floor. We are guests and should behave accordingly. We will bring a trash bag for team use.

10. If for some reason a swimmer doesn’t wish to swim an event he/she entered, please see the deck coach.  In regular meets, a swimmer can drop out of an event if desired. In championship meets, if a swimmer misses his or her event without adhering to the prearranged scratch process, they are barred from swimming the remainder of the day. This is a USA rule.  Also the coach must assure they are entered the following day.

11. For younger and/or inexperienced swimmers, the coach on duty will help the swimmer get to his/her events on time. Older more experienced swimmers should know which events are up at all times.  Anyone with questions should feel free to ask the coach on deck at any time.



1.  How does a swimmer sign up for a swim meet?

  • The upcoming swim meets are posted on the Cape Cod Firefish Team Unify site. You will need to use your username and password to access the site.
  • Click the “Events” tab and then the “Current & Upcoming” tab.  You will see a list of swim meets to which the team is invited.
  • When registration opens, a live button appears that may say “Accept/Decline” or “Edit Commitment”.  You may receive an email from the coach that registration is open, but it is your responsibility to check the site periodically.
  • When you click the button, you will see a list of events for which your swimmer may be eligible.  You may choose to register for any event, but the final decision will be up to the coach.
  • You may edit your commitment while the registration is live.  Once registration closes, you may not edit your commitment.  Please notify a coach of any changes.
  • Prior to the swim meet, the coach will email relevant documents.  These documents may include general instructions, an entry list by name, an event list and/or session report, or a psych sheet.

2.  What time does a swimmer need to arrive at a swim meet?  When may a swimmer leave?

  • For morning sessions, warm-up is listed on the information emailed by the coach.  A swimmer must be present before warm-up, regardless of the time at which he/she swims during the morning session.  If a swimmer does not check in 20 minutes after warmup begins, he/she will be “scratched”.
  • For afternoon session, a swimmer will need to arrive before warm-up.  Afternoon warm-up times may vary.  To avoid being scratched, a swimmer must arrive before warm-up. The coach will email instructions before each meet.
  • Consider staying until the end of the session to cheer on teammates.  A swimmer should let a coach know when he/she is leaving.

3.  What should a swimmer bring to each swim meet?

  • Team swimsuit, team swim cap, 2 pair of goggles, towel, team t-shirt.
  • Water in a refillable container. Please avoid single-use plastic bottles.
  • Healthy snacks.  Please keep in mind any allergies a teammate might have.
  • Sharpie marker to write event & heat information on a body part.  Swimmers should have their event numbers and event name written down before they arrive at the meet.
  • Optional: 2nd swim cap, towel pants, sweatshirt or jacket, flip-flops, change of clothes.

4.   What should a parent expect at a swim meet?

  • If the swim meet is a distance and your swimmer will participate in a morning session, you may want to consider booking a hotel the night before.
  • Arrive at the facility 15-30 minutes before warm-up in order to locate parking, find the pool, check in your swimmer, and secure good seats in the bleachers.  The bleachers often fill up.
  • Parents are not allowed on the pool deck. The exception is if you volunteer to be a timer.
  • Bring cash for admission and for a heat sheet.  They are usually under $5 each.  You will pay for your heat sheet at the door. The heat sheets will be distributed after all swimmers have checked in.
  • Dress in layers. The bleacher area can get very warm. Stay cool.
  • Parents may want to bring their own water and/or snacks. Depending on the venue, there may or may not be concessions.
  • There may be merchandise for sale.
  • Consider volunteering to be a timer!  You will be able to spend time on the pool deck and will learn a lot about rules.  Wear shorts and flip-flops if you will be a timer.

5.  What are the different levels of championship meets?

1. Regionals – 2. Silvers – 3. Age Groups – 4. Seniors - 5. Sectionals – 6. Futures – 7. Junior Nationals – 8. Nationals - 9. Olympic Trials – 10. Olympics

Additionally, in December we have Seniors and a mid-season championship. In March we go to the TYR International Championship in Florida.  Also in December there are winter Junior Nationals and Nationals. 

All championship meets have qualifying times for each age group except the Wheaton meet in December. Any swimmer can participate in that meet. Qualifying times become progressively more difficult as the meet level increases. Regionals have the easist qualifying times, Silver more difficult, etc. Senior level meets and higher are open meets with no age group designation. However, these have challenging qualifying times which are only reached by top athletes.

For more information about qualifying for these meets, please visit our Team Unify site and click on the “Links” tab.  You will see links to current qualifying times.

6.  What App should a parent use to track his/her swimmer’s results?

  • On Deck
  • Meet Mobile (Initial results on Meet Mobile are occasionally incorrect. Don’t worry, they are usually corrected later.)

7.  What are meet fees?

When a swimmer signs up to swim at a meet, the host team charges fees. These include a swimmer’s fee (usually $10 per swimmer), a travel fee which goes to New England Swimming (Usually $1), plus a fee for each event.  Average event fees are $5 for events under 200 yards and $10 of events over 200 yards.

8. What if my child is swimming a Distance Event?

If your swimmer is competing in a distance event such as 400 IM, 500 Free or longer, they are usually required to provide their own timer and a counter for longer freestyle races.

9.  Who is the Firefish Booster Club and what do they do?

The Cape Cod FireFish Booster Club, Inc. (also called the “Booster Club”) is a separate non-profit organization funded for the purpose of:

  • Representing the FireFish Swim Team in New England Swimming;
  • Encouraging communication between parents, team members, coaches;
  • Communicating and coordinating extra-curricular swim team activities;
  • Encouraging adult participation and implementing processes to assure volunteers are in place to support needs of all meets;
  • Cultivating fellowship among members;
  • Supporting Coaches’ Initiatives. 

The Booster Club is comprised of parents and/or guardians, having children on the Fire Fish Swim Team, who volunteer to help the Swim Team.  The Booster Club is responsible for the Annual Banquet, usually in April.  The Booster Club may also elect to hold social events or fundraisers in support of the team.  The Booster Club may also elect to offer scholarships to college-bound swimmers.

In order to participate on the Firefish Swim Team, each family will be assessed mandatory Booster Club dues at the beginning of the season.   We also ask all families to volunteer for at least one thing during the season. We want you to be an active part of your child’s life. There are many areas where you can volunteer which don’t require a great deal of time or advance knowledge.

10.  Where can I get team suits, apparel, and merchandise?

Bronze swimmers should have should have the following:

Silver swimmers should have same as Bronze but add:

Gold should have the same as Silver but add:

Team T-Shirts and Swim Caps are supplied to all swimmers who have paid their Booster Club dues. 

Additional merchandise may be purchased on the Augusta Swim Supply website.   The Booster Club will attempt to run several Augusta bulk sales drives throughout the season so that individual families can minimize shipping costs.

The Booster Club may run periodic fundraisers with Firefish merchandise for sale.  We encourage all parents to wear team spirit apparel so we can identify one another at swim meets.

All swimmers are strongly encouraged to put their name on ALL of their equipment.


11.  How can I make a donation to benefit the Firefish Swim Team?

The Cape Cod Firefish Booster Club, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3).  Donations made to the Booster Club benefit the swim team.  Donations may be made in the form of cash, goods, or services.

Generally, the Booster Club dues are NOT tax-deductible.  Please consult you tax advisor. 

We appreciate your support!




Freestyle:  For an event, “freestyle” means a swimmer may swim his/her choice of stroke. The fastest style used in competitive swimming is the front crawl, so “freestyle” is often used synonymously with front crawl. In this style a swimmer swims face-down and circles his/her arms forwards through the air and backwards through the water while doing the flutter kick.

Backstroke:  The only stroke you can do while lying on your back is the backstroke. The arm and leg movements are like those used in freestyle but with the arms rotating backwards instead of forwards. It’s easy to breathe while doing this stroke because your face is usually out of the water, but it's hard to see where you’re going. Backstroke races are the only ones that don't begin with swimmers diving into the water. They begin with swimmers pushing off from the wall of the pool after taking position side-by-side in the water.

Breaststroke:  Swam on stomach, with a narrow “frog kick”. Breathe every stroke.  All about timing and power.

Butterfly:   In this style a swimmer rotates both arms forward just above the water and then use them to pull his/her body through the water while lifting the chest and head into the air.  At the same time the swimmer propels his/her body forward with a rhythmic leg movement called the dolphin kick. Kick is like a mermaid or dolphin with feet, knees, and thighs staying together.


Backstroke flags:  The triangle flags at each end of the pool, they are used primarily for backstroke, to let the swimmer know the wall is near.  

Dryland:  A catch-all term for all physical conditioning done outside of the water. This can range from pre-practice stretching to regular sessions dedicated to lifting weights or doing resistance exercises, yoga, Pilates, spin classes, etc.

Event:  Describes the race in terms of swimmers’ age, the stroke, and the distance. Because a competition pool may only have 6-8 lanes, an event may be run with several heats, so that every swimmer can swim in his/her own lane.

Flip Turn:  Used to transfer a swimmer’s momentum 180 degrees. Swimming into the wall then stopping and pushing off the wall is a waste of time and energy. A flip turn allows a swimmer to take all the speed he/she has into the wall then change direction while at the same time avoiding all the water he/she was pulling while pushing off under water. This turn is used for freestyle and backstroke for a 50-yard/meter swim or greater.

Heats:  For each event, swimmers are grouped in heats according to their entry or seed time, with the fastest swimmers in each heat assigned to the middle lanes and each heat getting progressively faster.

Heat Sheet:  A document that shows all the participating swimmers, what events they will participate in, as well as the heat number and lane number.  The announcer will announce each event and heat number. There is also an electronic board with this information.  Changes to the Heat Sheet will be made the morning of the meet, based on swimmers who don't arrive on time or do not attend. A swimmer should take the Heat Sheet timetable into consideration when planning to line up for a heat, or when planning to leave the deck to go to the bathroom or the vendor area, lest he/she miss his/her heat.

IM – Individual Medley:  Individual means 1 or a single swimmer, Medley means a combination of strokes. The IM or Individual Medley is a race where the swimmer will swim EACH of the four strokes. The IM stroke order is Butterfly, Back, Breast, Free.

Long course:  A 50-meter pool. This is the true definition of Olympic-sized pool. Most long-course racing is done in the summer from May to August. A swimmer’s long-course times will generally be slower because there are fewer turns.  There are several online calculators for converting short-course times to long- and vice versa. LCM stands for Long Course Meters.

Psych Sheet:  A ranking of swimmers by event and time.

Relay:  An event with 4 swimmers.  There is no baton in a swimming relay. One swimmer will swim at a time, of course, and when that swimmer touches the wall the next swimmer will dive in and start swimming his/her leg of the race.  In a Medley Relay the stroke order is different than in the IM because a swimmer doesn’t dive in to swim backstroke.  The order is Back, Breast, Butterfly, Free.

Scratch:  To withdraw from an event after having declared an intention to participate.

Seed Time:  The swimmer's fastest time in a particular event prior to a meet.  Once a swimmer participates legally in an event, he/she will have a seed time in that event for the next meet. Generally, swimmers are placed in heats and relays according to their seed times.  A seed time is different than a “final time” which is the time swam at that particular meet.

Short course:  A 25-yard pool. Most USA Swimming-sanctioned racing during the fall, winter and spring is done in short-course yards. The term can also pertain to 25-meter pools, although they are more common in summer league and abroad.  SYC stands for Short Course Yards.  Less common, SCM stands for Short Course Meters.

Specialty/Distance Meet:  This is a meet normally open to all age groups and features distance events such as 400 Individual Medley or a 1650, as well as races in all four strokes and individual medley. The are no time requirements normally associated with this type of meet.

Starting Blocks: Not to be confused with diving boards, these are stationary and do not spring. This is where the race begins.

Starts: When the beep goes off swimmers jump out as far as they can and are in a streamlined position while in the air to start their race.  For Backstroke starts, a swimmer starts swimming backstroke in the water holding onto the wall or the starting blocks. Toes must be underwater.

Streamline:  When the body is pointing in a long, straight line with the arms at the ears, locked together with one hand on top of the other, while the legs are together and the toes are pointed.  It is used on starts and turns because it minimizes drag or resistance underwater.

Yardage: The total distance a swimmer covers per practice, per day, or per week and usually measured in yards. This number can vary widely depending on a swimmer’s age, whether he/she is a sprinter or distance swimmer, how long the practice is, and the coach’s philosophy. Note: it’s still called yardage even when swimming long course meters.

Disqualified/DQ:  A swimmers performance is not counted and the time swum is void because of a rules infraction.  Please don't get upset if your swimmer gets a DQ. This is part of the learning process.  The coaches will know what he/she did and will work with him/her to make sure it doesn’t happen again!

Possible Reasons for a DQ: (not an exhaustive list)

  • Freestyle:
    • Pushing off the bottom of the pool.
    • Pulling on the lane line.
  • Backstroke:
    • Rolling on to your stomach (other than if you are about to doing a flip turn).
    • Pulling on the lane line. 
    • Pushing off the bottom of the pool.
  • Breaststroke:
    • Doing a butterfly, flutter, or scissor kick.
    • Not kicking under the water.
    • Not getting your head out of the water every stroke.
    • Arms going below belly button.
    • Not touching the wall with two hands for your finish.


  • Butterfly:
    • Non-simultaneous arms (arms not moving together or in sync).
    • Feet coming apart (flutter kick or breaststroke kick).
    • Arms not coming out and going over the water after the pull.
    • Not touching the wall with two hands for your finish.
  • All Strokes:
    • Moving on the block after the starter says “Take your mark” and before the BEEP, this will cause a false start. The first false start of every heat is strike one for the entire heat. The next swimmer to false start is DQ’ed.
    • Not finishing a race.
    • Stopping to fix goggles (excluding freestyle).
    • Pushing off the bottom of the pool.
    • Pulling on the lane line.
    • Swimming in another swimmer’s lane.
    • Relay – Not getting out of the water fast enough (before the swimmer after you gets to the other wall) or leaving too early.
    • Acting in an unsportsmanlike or unsafe manner.