Swimming competition

What Happens at a Swim Meet

If you have never swum in a competition before, you may be unsure what the day looks like when you enter a swim meet. 

Don’t worry. It may be a bit daunting at first, but we will be there with you to show you the ropes and explain what happens during the day. 

Before the Swim Meet

Make sure you register before the cut off date. Once registered you will receive an event program. Check it carefully to make sure you have been listed for all the events you entered. 

The program will show you what heats you are swimming in and the lane you will be swimming in. We recommend that you bring a copy of the event program along with you, so that you can refer to it as needed. 

Check the times your events are running and check to see when the lanes for warming up are available.

Swim Meet Start Time 

Make sure you are at the pool in plenty of time for your first event. Don’t forget to allow time for a warm up first. This is why you need to check when the warm up lanes will be available. In many cases they will be available throughout the day.

At the Swimming Pool

One you get to the pool, find the club captain, so that they know you have arrived. The club captain will be the person guiding you through the day and will answer any questions that you may have.

We suggest you bring a few towels with you, especially if you are in more than one event. Otherwise, you can end up trying to dry yourself with a soggy towel. Don’t forget to bring something to drink. 

Food and drink is served at many swim meets, but if you have specific nutritional needs we suggest you bring your own food. 

You will also be able to buy raffle tickets on the day.

During the Swim Meet

Some competitions will be mustered, others will be self mustering. Self mustering means that it is your responsibility to get yourself to your lane in time for your heat to start. 

At most meets there will be a display board and announcements advising what events and heats are being called. When your event and heat is called go to the desk at the muster point. Your name will be checked off the list and you will be advised of where you need to wait. 

There are usually waiting zones with a seat, or standing area marked for each lane. In larger events there can be more than one waiting zone and you will be asked to move on to the next waiting zone as the heats proceed. Eventually, you will be asked to wait behind the lane you are swimming in, ready to start. 

In self mustering events you just make sure you are down near the lanes just before your heat starts.

The referee will blow their whistle for swimmers to get on the block. For backstroke, the first whistle is to get swimmers in the water, the second to get into the start position. 

The Starter will say ’take your marks’ and then activate the starting device – usually a buzzer. 

At the end of the race the referee may do 2 short whistles to signal that swimmers should leave the pool. This should be by the side of the pool to avoid injury, damaging touch pads or obstructing time keepers. 

At many meets the referee will ask swimmers to stay in the water whilst the next race starts above them. This is called ‘over the top starts’.

In many cases your time will be displayed instantly on an indicator board at the end of the pool. Times will be posted on the notice boards, so if you miss the read out on the display board you can go and look on the notice boards to see how you did. 

Master Swimming has a useful document that you can download: Swim Meet Familiarisation

After the Swim Meet

Once you have completed your swims you can head home. 

The Most Important Thing About Swim Meets

Have fun!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Redcliffe Peninsula Masters Swimming Club.