Parkview Swim Team: FAQ/Terminology

Tuesday, February 22

Parkview Swim Team – Frequently Asked Questions & Terminology

Revised 6/14/07

What is a heat sheet?
‘heat sheet’ is the swim meet ‘schedule’ that identifies each event, and when and in which lane each swimmer will race. The home team sells these schedules for $1 to $2 prior to each swim meet. Parents generally bring a pen or highlighter so it’s easier to keep track of your swimmers’ events.

What is an event?
Each race is called an ‘event.’ There are 82 events in a standard swim meet. These events are determined by the age group competing and the type stroke they swim. For each event, there may be multiple heats.

What is a heat?
‘heat’ represents a single group of swimmers competing at the same time in an event. At the Woods of Parkview pool, for example, we can field six lanes of swimmers. Should an event have a greater number of swimmers entered than can be accommodated in a single race, the swimmers are separated into groups. Each race of that single event is considered a heat. Swimmers are grouped according to their seed times, with slower times in early heats, ending with fastest times swimming the last heat of the event.

What is a swimmer’s seed time?
‘Seed time’ is a swimmer’s personal-best recorded time for a particular event. When a swimmer has no recorded time for an event, a coding of ‘NT’ is listed in place of a time.

How is an event winner determined?
The swimmer with the best overall time, from all heats in an event, will claim first place. There is a first through sixth place awarded for each individual event, and for first and second in relay events.

How many races will my child swim?
The head coach makes the entries for all regular season meets. All swimmers are limited by swim league rules to a total of five events for each meet –usually by swimming three individual events and two relay events. A maximum of three individual events is allowed per swimmer. Six and under swimmers only have backstroke and freestyle as individual events. Your swimmer may not swim in two relays as this will depend upon the number of swimmers available – four are needed per relay

Who runs the swim meet?
Parent volunteers from each team fill all roles needed to conduct a swim meet. The home team has a designated Head Officialwho is ultimately in charge of the meet. A Starting Official directs the flow and sets the pace of the swim meet. At the beginning of each race, the Starting Official identifies the event name and heat, and starts the race with a horn and strobe flash. This official is in communication with the Head Staging Official and Head Scoring Official throughout meet.

What and where is the Bullpen?
The Bullpen is a designated location where all swimmers on a team stay when they’re not participating in a race. At the Woods of Parkview pool, for example, the home team Bullpen is under the pavilion. Instead of sitting with parents or having free reign of the pool deck during a swim meet, Parkview Swim Team members should be in the Bullpen when they are not participating in a race.

Parents should bring their swimmer(s): two towels – one to sit upon, one for drying off; clothes to wear when not swimming (it does get cool at night); snacks/beverages and small games to make them virtually self sufficient during the swim meet. The swimmers LOVE the camaraderie of being with their teammates. The social aspect of swim meets, to some swimmers, is what they like most about swim team. The Bullpen parent volunteers and assistant coaches will get swimmers to the staging area for their respective races, as well as keep a watchful eye on the swimmers in the Bullpen area. At away meets, our Bullpen parent volunteers will designate a Bullpen location for swimmers to congregate.

What is Staging and where is it located?
Staging lines the swimmers up so they arrive at their designated lane for their scheduled event and heat. The Head Staging Official communicates with the Bullpen to call swimmers for their races (a key reason all swimmers need to be in the bullpen area). The Staging area has seats (chairs or benches) near the starting blocks. Parent Staging volunteers arrange the swimmers and seat them to ensure a continuous flow of traffic for the races.

To help swimmers keep track of their individual races, many parents use a Sharpie marker to write the event/heat/lane numbers on their swimmers’ hands. Example: Event 32, Heat 3, Lane 4 would be written 32/3/4. Some swimmers also have their names (first and last) written on their shoulder or back. This helps the Staging crew verify the swimmers as they arrive and helps the Timers identify swimmers before a race. Sharpie washes off with a good soapy scrub and/or baby oil.

What role do Stroke and Turn Judges play in a swim meet?
Distinguished by their white shirts and dark pants, Stroke and Turn Judges confirm swimmers meet all rules during their swims. The rules for swimming each stroke are set out in the United States Swimming Rules. Our league follows the start, finish, stroke and turn rules with one exception – Gwinnett County Swim League allows one false start before disqualifying someone for a false start. These volunteer officials are trained on the rules. If a stroke judge disqualifies a swimmer for a stroke infraction, the judge will tell the swimmer what rule was broken. Although the swimmer’s time will not count toward the team score, understanding the infraction and learning how to correct it is a learning experience for the swimmer.

What does a Timer do?
Timers use a stopwatch to record the duration of a swimmer’s race. Each lane will have a timer from both the home and visiting teams. The home team timer will record times from each timer’s watch. All timers participate in a brief information meeting prior to each swim meet to confirm expectations and roles.

IMPORTANT: No parent or other swimmer can enter the pool or touch a swimmer during a race. If there is a false start, do not try to stop the swimmer. Don’t touch racers at the starting blocks before an individual event or any of the relay members once they are on the starting block.

What are the Scoring Table functions?
The home team runs the scoring function, providing the printed heat sheets and individual race sheets for recording times. At the conclusion of each event, a ‘runner’ will collect recorded times from each lane and submit them to the scoring table. The head scoring official will input the times into a master database. There is one representative from each team to verify and reconcile written times with times entered into the computer. Another function of the scoring table is to create individual ribbons for each swimmer that state the details of the swimmer’s race (teams, date, event and time).

Do all swimmers receive ribbons?
Place ribbons are presented to the swimmers with the fastest six times (first through sixth) for each event. All other swimmers will receive a ‘racer’ ribbon. Swimmers earn a ‘personal best’ ribbon by swimming faster than their seed time for an event. The Parkview Swim Team distributes ribbons the day after a swim meet, typically during the Fun Friday practice from 10-11 a.m.

Can parents stand with their swimmer at the starting block?
Swim meets tend to be somewhat chaotic at times, particularly in the staging and starting block areas. Parents should not enter the staging or starting block areas during a swim meet unless assigned to a specific job. If there is a problem or an important message for your swimmer, see a Bullpen parent volunteer. The Bullpen will be in radio contact with the Staging Official at all times.

How does a team score points?
When we swim teams with 80 or more registered swimmers:
1st place = 7 points, 2nd place = 5 points and 3rd place = 4 points, 4th place = 3 points, 5th place = 2 points, and 6th place = 1 point. In relay events, 1st place = 7 points and 2nd place = 5 points.

When we swim teams with less than 80 registered swimmers:
1st place = 5 points, 2nd place = 3 points and 3rd place = 1 points. In relay events, 1st place = 5 points and 2nd place = 3 points.

If a team places 1st and 2nd in a relay event, then no points are awarded for 2nd place.

What do I do if I see an error in my child’s posted time?
Every effort is made to make sure times are accurately transferred from the timer sheets into the computer software. Due to combining of heats and sometimes events, a child may swim in a different lane than originally planned. Timers are supposed to verify a swimmers name as they exit the pool.

Errors found during the meet

You and your child should be checking the score sheets sent out from the scoring office as the meet is running.

Alert the council rep if:

  • you know your child swam and they do not have a time or “DQ” on the score sheet
  • you see a time by a child you know is not at the meet
  • you see a large error in your child’s time (ie very different from their seed time)


Be aware that the scoring table must use the data provided by the timers. A very close race may not show the finish order a spectator observed. Our timers are not that good.


Errors found after the meet

Errors found after a meet is over are more difficult to change. Notify our council rep.

General Information
The Parkview Swim Team is financially self-supporting and governed by a volunteer board. Parents organize and staff all swim meets. The team receives no money from the Woods of Parkview Swim & Tennis Club or Woods of Parkview Home Owners’ Association for coaching fees or equipment costs. The only required participation fee is the initial registration. Team suits, caps, swim accessories and spirit wear may be purchased, but are not required. At the end of the season, parent volunteers may ask each family for a monetary donation to purchase gifts for the coaching staff.

Meet Volunteer Duty
Each family is required to provide one parent to work one half of every meet. A master schedule will be posted at the start of the season at the pool clubhouse. We will do our best to schedule your duty based on the preferences you submitted at registration. Those with home meet only tasks will be scheduled for other duties or as floaters at away meets. If you have a conflict with your assignment, we ask that you arrange a swap and let the team know (this will help lighten the load for the team leaders).

Team members who are not Woods of Parkview Swim & Tennis Club members have the right to use the pool during team practices and swim meets. The registration fee does not allow parents or siblings use of the pool or baby pool during or after practices. Siblings are welcome to wait under the pavilion during practices.

During practice, use of the baby pool is prohibited.

Kickboards and pull buoys are for the use of team members only and only for use during practices.

Parents should keep their children away from the pool when sick, or if they may be infectious, to protect the other swimmers.

Gwinnett County Championship Meet
For the County Meet, swimmers may qualify to participate two ways. Every team is allowed to send one freestyle and one medley relay team per age group. For individual events, entries are limited to 50 swimmers. Before the County Meet, coaches declare the swimmers’ selections for the individual events each wishes to be considered for qualifying. Since many of the top 50 swimmers are listed in the Top 50 have qualifying times in more than three events, many swimmers who are not in the top 50 qualify for the County Meet.

The names of all individual and relay qualifiers for the County Championships should be available and posted by in July. Practices after the final meet are open to everyone whether or not they are entered in the County Meet. The County Meet is staffed by parents from summer league teams. Parkview parents are included.

Medical Insurance
The Gwinnett Swim League has insurance to cover accidents that occur during practices and meets or on the way to or back from them. If you have any accident, please tell our Parkview Swim Team GCSL Representative, Hugh Tait, even if you don’t plan to make a claim. The coverage takes up where your own medical coverage leaves off.