Q: How do I register for a swim meet?
A: The club will email you with information and a link to register for each swim meet. If you are unsure which events to register your swimmer in, ask their coach ahead of time what they might recommend. Then follow through the registration. It will lead you through systematically. The BCSSA website will have the “meet packages” listed under Fraser Valley, and this will show you the order of the events for the weekend.
Q: Can we just attend one day of the swim meet?
A: YES! When registering, you will see which events are on Saturday and in which order and which are on Sunday and in which order. If you can only make it on the Saturday, then only register for the events your swimmer wants to participate in on that day!
Q: Do we have to go to every swim meet?
A: NO! You may attend as many of the swim meets as you choose. Some recommendations: come to one of the first two (either Mission or Haney) come to our own Abbotsford meet, come to Regionals, and choose any others you would like to attend!
Q: Do swim meets cost any money?
A: NO! The cost of all of our local meets is included in our registration fees.
Q: What time do we need to arrive at a swim meet?
A: For each swim meet a warm up time will be posted, usually by email to the club according to divisions. Warm up is optional, especially for younger swimmers. For some swimmers it helps them to get used to the pool, get a sense of the lanes etc. But if it is hours until they might swim their first race, then you have the choice of whether or not to come.
Q: What do we need to bring to a swim meet?
A: Depending on how many events your swimmer is registered for, you generally want to plan to be there for a good portion of the day. You should bring lots of food, chairs, a canopy if you have one, a few towels, an extra swim suit and extra goggles. Many families also bring cards, games, scooters or other activities to keep kids occupied between swim events. It is often 1.5-2 hours between the events that your swimmer will compete in.
When you arrive at a swim meet, you will see what looks like an outdoor concert or a homeless village!! There are canopies and tents set up all over the grassy areas that surround each pool. It really is a strange little village that gets set up for the day and taken down for the evening. So when you arrive, find some fellow Whalers friends and set up next to them, or near them. If you do not own a canopy, or a pop up tent, you DO NOT have to run out and buy one! We are friendly people who love to share. If you know some of the other Whalers who have room under their tent I am sure they/we will allow you to bunk with them/us for the day or the weekend!
Q: How do I know what time my child will swim?
A: Generally you will not know exactly what time your child will swim. When Grandma asks….tell her you don’t know, and invite her to hang out for the day if she wants to watch 😉
When you first arrive at the swim meet, you will locate where to buy a PROGRAM. YOU WILL NEED $5 CASH FOR THE PROGRAM!!! This will contain all the events by # and heats for the entire swim meet. You will locate your child’s name according to the events you registered him/her for and his/her division. HIGHTLIGHT or circle the heats where you find your child’s name. There will be an event number and then a heat number. For example, on Saturday perhaps backstroke division 1 girls is event # 106 and my daughter is in heat #4. Then keep an eye on the big score board near the pool ( a little trickier at Haney and Mission as these are indoor pools) and you will see the event # and heat # in big bold red numbers on the board. You will also hear a voice over the what is coming up soon.
Q: What is MARSHALLING????
A: Marshalling is the area designated for organizing the swimmers by heat and by name before they go to the pool to compete. When you arrive at the swim meet it is a good idea to locate where marshalling is. It is usually under a large tent/canopy, close to an entrance to the pool deck. When you hear your swimmer’s division and heat called for the event, you take them to the marshalling area. Once they are in there, you can leave them and find a good place in the stands to sit to watch the race!
Q: What should my swimmer bring to marshalling?
A: The swimmer should be ready with swim suit, cap and goggles. If it is a chillier day, have them bring their towel or a jacket or robe etc along with them while they wait in marshalling. They can leave those items behind the block (the starting place) and collect them after the race.
Q: Once my child is finished swimming what do we do?
A: If your swimmer is in more races for the day, go back to your tent area, or hang out in a friend’s tent area and have some snacks, play some games, or you can watch more swim races, until you hear the call for the next race. Again, you can follow along how things are moving by listening to the marshalling calls, or watching the display boards near the pool deck to find out what event and heat they are swimming.
Q: Are there finals?
A: For the first two swim meets, Mission (May 28, 29) and Haney (June 4, 5) there are no finals. In these two swim meets, each swimmer could sign up to swim all 6 swim events (50m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 50m breaststroke and 100 IM (individual medley). But of course they do not have to swim all of the events. They can swim which ever events they choose to. Once the races are finished, your swimmer is finished and you are free to go home.
Starting at the Langely swim meet, (June 25,26), each swimmer is only allowed to register for 4 events, and there are finals for each event which take place after all of the events. It gets a little complicated…….so please ask questions if you have them at this time. Somewhere on the exterior of the pool, they will post white computerized lists of the placements of all of the swimmers. It will list by gender, event and division. EG: Boys, 50m Freestyle, division 1. If your swimmer placed in the top 8 (usually) then they will swim finals. There is a line across the paper which indicates the cut off. Swimmers above this line are in the finals, swimmers below are not. However, the two swimmers just below would be considered alternates…..this means that if one of the swimmers in the finals does not show up, one of the alternates would be called.
So, after each event finishes, they will post the results. You need to check the papers to see if your swimmer made it into the finals. If they did, then you need to stick around until all of the events are finished. Then there is usually a short break, and then finals begin. Finals go in the same order as the events of the day, and they usually run fairly quickly.
There are no awards given at the swim meets (except for regionals) any ribbons are sent to the Whalers club and kept in a folder with your child’s name on it in a filing cabinet in the office.
(There is a filing cabinet in the office at the pool, each swimmer has a folder inside with their name on it. As each swimmer gets “best time” ribbons, or ribbons from swim meets, they will be put into the folders, the swimmer can get the ribbons from their folders after practices!)
Q: What is a BEST TIME?
A: Exactly what it says! When your swimmer improves their time for a particular event at a swim meet, even by a few seconds, or fractions of seconds…..it is a BEST TIME! And they received ribbons recognizing their time improvements. This is a great way for swimmers to compete with themselves, always trying to improve upon the last swim!
Q: What are relays?
A: When you register for a swim meet it will ask you if you want to register for a relay. There is the freestyle relay, where 4 swimmers each have a turn of swimming a length (or two lengths for the older swimmers) and each swimmer is doing freestyle. And there is the medley relay, where there are 4 swimmers, and each one is swimming a different stroke: backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke and freestyle. You do not have to make up your team. Relays take place after all of the other events of the day, but before finals. If you sign up for relays, you are in for the long haul for the day! Later in the season, if you know your swimmer is likely going to make finals, then you might as well sign up for relays, as you will be at the pool anyways! Relays are really great for building team spirit, getting to know other swimmers and having fun. But only sign up if you are guaranteed to stick around. It is very frustrating for a coach to have a list of swimmers signed up for relays and then have some of them not show up. The coaches put together the teams for relays the morning of the meet. They will post them or have them at the coaches desk.
Q: Where are the coaches during the swim meet?
A: The coaches from all of the clubs are usually set up in a coaches only area. This is either along the side of the pool or at the end of the pool deck. (eg at Abby, it is in the bench stands area that parents usually sit in for practices 😉 ) The coaches usually ask that the swimmers come and see them before and after each race. This means heading over to see your coach before getting called for marshalling, to touch base about some things to remember. Then once the race is finished, swing by again for some feedback on how the race went. This is not always possible, as sometimes coaches get busy, or swimmers forget. But try to follow this as a general guideline!
Q: What is a DQ?
A: A DQ is a disqualification. This is when the swimmer does something during the stroke that they are not supposed to do. The stroke and turn officials that walk back and forth on the pool deck check for the proper stroke techniques, and the proper turns for the particular stroke. If your child does not receive a time for an event, but gets a DQ this means they were disqualified during that event. This is VERY COMMON with new swimmers, and particularly during the first few swim meets. I can’t tell you what gets a swimmer disqualified…..I am no expert on this matter 😉 This is a learning curve for all swimmers and it is not big deal. Often the coaches will know that the swimmer was DQed during the race, and might talk to them afterwards about it. Again…..not a big deal. Something all swimmers must learn to deal with!
You WILL feel overwhelmed at the first swim meet. It is busy, there are a lot of people and the learning curve for this is huge. Do not hesitate to ask questions. If you are unsure about anything, seek out another Whalers family and ask. If you would like an older and experienced swimmer to help out your swimmer(s) at the first swim meet, send me an email and let me know. I will try to pair up some swimmers. We are here to try to make this learning curve a smooth one. So communicate and we will try to have all of your questions answered!
I will likely be at every swim meet, and I have a RED canopy…….so find me if you need!