Shamrock Seals Swim Team: Swim Meet 101

For those who are new to the wonderful world of swimming, many of your questions can be answered, by clicking here!



How do I help my child understand what events they will swim at a meet?
First, you will need a highlighter and a heat sheet (swim meet programs sold for $2-$3 at the meets). Scan the heat sheet and highlight your child’s name wherever it appears. Using this as a guide, many parents use a waterproof marker (non-toxic Sharpie or otherwise) to make a grid on their child's forearm or thigh. List the child's event number, heat number, lane number, and event name. They may look at the grid to double check their schedule of events. Also, it is helpful to write your child's name on the front of their shoulder so the adults in the bullpen will know who your child is at a quick glance. It is perfectly acceptable to not write on your child.

How do I know what time to be at a meet?
This will depend if we are the home team or the visiting team. The home team warms up first, approximately 1 hour before the listed start time of the meet. The visiting team warms up about 30 minutes before the start time. However, it is wise to arrive 15-20 minutes BEFORE your warm up time so you can set up your tent/chairs, buy a heat sheet when they become available, and mark your child if time permits.

Will there be concessions at the meets?
Yes, this year we will have a dinner option for your family at every meet as well as Bottled Water, Power Ade, Coke, Sprite, Popcorn, Shamrock Pretzels and candy.

What if my child gets sick on meet day?
Call Ellison Bates ASAP! 706.255.2169. AND send an email to

Where do I sit at a meet?
The Shamrock families usually ‘set up camp’ all in one area together. You may bring a tent and chairs if you’d like. At home meets, we sit on the right side of the walkway as you approach the pool. Our visitors set up on the left side of the walkway. At away meets, just look for Shamrock families and you’ll be in the right place.

Are my children allowed to play on the playground during meets?
No, they should be in our team’s designated seating area, swimming in the pool, or watching other races from the pool deck.

How do the relays work for the younger swimmers?
The younger swimmers will start from both ends of the pool for the Free Relay and the Medley Relay. Relays are determined based upon fastest times and stroke proficiency in each event. Check the heat sheet to see if your child has been entered in a relay in his/her age group and the age group older. Swimmers are allowed to ‘swim up’ an age group and frequently the Coaches will move them up to help complete a relay in an older age group.

What does my child do after he/she finishes a race?
Go to see one of the coaches at poolside to receive helpful instruction and encouragement. Take advantage of this opportunity with the coaches. Feedback that the children receive at the meet is so helpful!

What to do during storms?
Swimmers get out of the water and seek shelter, preferably in their cars.

Will rained out meets be rescheduled?

What if my child doesn’t drop time or adds time in an event?
How do I handle that? The best way to handle it is to be positive about what your child did do at the meet. Congratulate him/her on finishing their race, using a 2 hand touch on the fly or breaststroke finish, improvement with kicking, good sportsmanship, diving improvement, compliment their form on that particular stroke, etc. Look for the positive!! Doing their best is what’s most important.

Who chooses the events my child will swim at the meets?
The coaches will pick the events for each swimmer. They will not enter your child in an event they can not swim. They want each child to swim a variety of events to improve their skills. We will continue using our BEST TIMES RIBBON as a meet award. The ribbons are black with green lettering. The focus of these ribbons is on improvement. Coach Kevin and Coach Haley will encourage the swimmers to do their best to earn a black ribbon.

How will I know what is going on at a swim meet?
Listen to the announcements very closely. The announcer will state which event is being swum and which event numbers need to be getting to the bullpen.

What do we wear to a meet?
The children wear their suits with just a t-shirt and shorts over them so they can be ready to get started with warm ups. It is a common occurrence that they do not know where their cap and goggles are located, so please designate a consistent place where they can find these items in your bag. It is also wise to label goggles and cap with your last name if possible. Remind your child it is SO much better to wear their goggles on their head or loop them through their suit than to set them down somewhere. Lost goggles are a common problem. It is also smart to have a backup pair of goggles among your things. :) Your child will need to remain in their suit until the end of the meet because the freestyle relays are at the very end of the meet. It is always hot hot hot, so adults wear cool, sun protective clothing. Sunglasses and hats/visors are wise.


Am I allowed to watch the practices?
Yes, but only from the designated seating area of the tables and chairs under the awning at the Upper pool. Please do not sit in chairs alongside the pool as the Coaches need this area to remain clear for coaching.

Should I encourage or communicate with my child during practice?
No. It is best if you refrain from giving your child instruction, making comments or disciplining your child during practice? This is their time with their coaches.

Are my children allowed to play on the playground during practices?
Yes, but ONLY if YOU are in the playground area supervising them. You are not supervising them if you are up on the pool deck and they are in the playground. Mrs. Shepard is very serious about this rule. It is a safety issue.

Where do I use the restroom during practice?
You & your children may use the restrooms in the pool house by the lower pool. Please close the gate behind you as you enter the lower pool. Please don’t allow your children to linger or be out of your direct supervision while you are passing through the lower pool area on your way to the restrooms. This is an area requiring extra safety concern.

Why isn’t a practice offered on Monday evening for 11 & up?
Monday evening is the only night of the week that the pool is closed for cleaning. The Shepard’s are gracious to allow us to hold the practice early for the 7-10’s, but we have to be finished on time for them to clean the upper pool.

Does Shamrock hold practice on the day of the meet?
Yes. If you can make it, please try to bring your child to practice on meet mornings.


First and foremost, the coaches will not place a swimmer in a stroke that they can’t do. They work hard to build a relationship of trust with each swimmer and in doing so, they can encourage your swimmer to reach their individual potential. If the Coach picks the strokes, then it is the Coach who will give your child feedback regarding his or her performance and skill development. This feedback may be given at poolside after the child has swum the event or addressed at the next practice.

It is also good for the overall development of the swimmer not to limit themselves to only a specific event or two. Over the course of our short season, most children make significant progress learning the strokes and gain a real sense of accomplishment when they stretch themselves a little farther toward a goal they may not have thought they could reach.

The Coaches also need to make sure that every swimmer has a time in the 25 free and the 50 free to determine the best line-ups for Relays and for the County Meet. It is difficult to do entries for the county meet when a child only has one time in the 25 or 50 free. It doesn’t give a good indicator of what their growth has been all season.

We hope you will support their efforts in providing your swimmer with the best summer swim experience that Oconee has to offer at Shamrock, of course!