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What to Expect at a BTW High School Swim Meet

High School Swim Meets are a bit different than US Swimming meets or Park and Rec meets, so here are a few "what to expect" basics.

Meet start times and locations for each of our meets will be posted on the team website. Generally, weekday swim meets start around 5:30 or 6:00pm, while weekend meets start around noon. However, please check our website to verify swim meet start times.

Warm-ups for swimmers: Swimmers need to arrive 1-2 hours before the start of the meet to participate in warm-up. Coaches will let swimmers know the warm-up time for each meet. Most of the time swimmers will ride buses from BTW to get to away meets for warm-up or will warm up at BTW before home meets.

Traveling to away swim meets: Generally, swimmers will ride a bus to away meets and will be taken back to BTW after the meet, unless the Coach designates a different departure/return location in advance. IF parents want to make other arrangements for their swimmer, they need to clear it with Coach Norman. There may be exceptions to bus rides when away meets occur on the weekend.

Order of events: The order of events at high school swim meets is always the same. The girls’ events are always before the boys’ events in the following order.

  • 200 Medley Relay (4 swimmers/relay team – each swims 50 in this order: Back, Breast, Fly, Free)
  • 200 Freestyle
  • 200 Individual Medley (commonly called 200 I.M.)
  • 50 Freestyle

(15 minute break)

  • 100 Butterfly
  • 100 Freestyle
  • 500 Freestyle
  • 200 Freestyle Relay (4 swimmers/relay team – each swims 50 Free)
  • 100 Backstroke
  • 100 Breaststroke
  • 400 Freestyle Relay (4 swimmers/relay team – each swims 100 Free)

Each of these events can have multiple “heats”. A heat is a group of swimmers competing at the same time in the same event. They are usually grouped according to previous times for that event; however, swimmers may be entered with no time (NT) if it is their first time swimming that event in a high school meet.

Swimmers are only allowed to swim up to 4 events at each meet, and no more than 2 of the 4 events can be individual events. Hence, they can swim up to 2 individual events and 2 relays or 1 individual event and 3 relays. However, some meets also limit the number of entries each team can have per event, so swimmers may not get to swim 4 events in every meet

Event/heat/lane assignments: Coaches will tell swimmers their heat and lane assignment for each event or post a heat sheet for them to check. Swimmers are expected to pay attention and make sure they are behind the blocks 1-2 heats before their heat. If swimmers are not ready when their heat is called to the blocks, they could be disqualified (commonly called “DQed”) for delaying the meet. Do not be alarmed, one way many swimmers choose to keep track is by writing their heat and lane assignments on their arms so they do not forget or get mixed up.

Disqualifications: (“DQs”) can happen when swimmers do not follow the rules for the specific event he/she is swimming, including delaying the meet (see above). The coaches try to teach the swimmers all of the rules, but sometimes a swimmer makes a mistake or misunderstands the rule. If your swimmer is disqualified, please encourage him/her to view it as a learning experience to improve their future swims. The best way to avoid disqualification is to swim by the rules every time he/she practices (easier said than done consistently). We will not elaborate on all the rules for each stroke, turn, or entry here; however, if you are interested you may consult this US Swimming rule book as a guide. http://www.usaswimming.org/_Rainbow/Documents/00b913aa-b3d1-4345-a201-6071745f46dd/2014%20Rule%20Book.pdf.

Heat sheets: Spectators can follow the meet with a “heat sheet”, which is like a program for the meet. The host team usually prints and sells the heat sheets for about $2-3 (although championship meets are more about $5). The heat sheet lists all the swimmers in entered in each event by heat and lane assignment. Note: Sometimes heat and lane assignments change after the heat sheets are printed, so ask your swimmer to tell you their heat and lane assignments. This will also help them get used to knowing.

Meet costs: Host teams usually charge about $4-5/person for entry into the meet and $2-3 for a heat sheet. Championship meets (Regionals and State) will cost more for entry and programs. 

Volunteers for home swim meets: We need many helpers at home swim meets, including 16 timers (2 per lane), gate admissions, snack sales, etc. We really need everyone to help during at least 2 home meets. See Volunteer descriptions in the "Boosters" section of the website.

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