Swim Meets are an essential part of development for swimmers. It helps to gauge progress, set goals, and keep motivation high. They are also a fun, team building activity.
The rules of swimming competition have been established by FINA or Fédération internationale de natation (English: International Swimming Federation). They are designed to provide fair and equitable conditions of competition and to promote uniformity in the sport. Each swimming stroke has specific rules designed to ensure that no swimmer gets an unfair competitive advantage over another swimmer.
Competition pools may be short course (SC) (25 yards or 25 meters), or long course (LC) (50 meters). The international standard (as used in the Olympics) is 50 meters. World records are accomplished in 25 and 50 meter pools.
Coaches will have a Meet Program that list your heat and lane assignments. Parents usually need to purchase a meet program, which helps to offset some of the cost of running the meet.
The program is organized by event in the order that they occur at the meet. When you find your child's name in the program, you’ll see the name of the event, which heat they are in, which lane and their seed time.
Coaches will communicate events with swimmers, who typically write down their heat and lane assignments on their hand or arm. This helps you to focus on the race and not worry about remembering where you need to be.
Officials must be present at all competitions: in fact, without them, a meet can not be run. They keep time for swimmers events, judge the strokes and turns and enforce the technical rules of swimming, so the competition is fair and equitable. . They attend clinics, pass a written test and work meets before being certified. All parents are encouraged to get involved with some form of officiating.