What happens at a swim meet: Part 1

You child will have plenty of work to do before the meet begins.

You child will have plenty of work to do before the meet begins.

If you haven't yet attended one of your child's swim meets, you're in for a treat. There's nothing like seeing your young swimmer show off all of their hard work and effort in the pool. While the details will vary depending on the competition, you can expect the following to happen during your athlete's meet: 

1. Check in – To give your child enough time to prepare, try to arrive at the competition about 15 minutes before warm-ups are scheduled to start. Your athlete's team will probably all be sitting in the same area. Parents are not allowed on the pool deck, so the coach will have the responsibility of checking your swimmer into the meet. During this time, a competitor will learn which heats he or she will compete in and what time they begin. 

2. Warm up – After putting on a cap, goggles and competition swimwear, your child will report to the pool to begin warming up with the pool. This brief practice time is very important, as an athlete needs to get their muscles ready gradually before going all out in a race. 

3. Mental preparation – One the warm up is over, your swimmer will sit with his or her team and wait for the first event to begin. This may be a good time for your child to go to the bathroom or have a drink of water. Athletes often use this period to meditate, relax and visualize the races ahead of them. 

So what can parents do before the first races begin? Consider buying a psyche or heat sheet. This will list the swimmers who are participating in the meet and their previous times. This will give you a good idea of the type of competitors your young athlete will face.