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Swimmer essentials

  • Team suit
  • Team swim cap
  • Goggles
  • Towel(s)
  • Snacks & drinks
  • Sunscreen

Optionals items

  • BLUE TEE or TANK to support your team.
  • Bug-spray
  • Water bottle
  • Black Sharpie Marker, to write event #’s on your swimmer's arm (before sunscreen)
  • Lawn chair
  • Pop-up Tent
  • Tent ground blanket
  • Money (typically cash only) for concessions
  • Some entertainment/crafts/blocks for time between events
  • Wagon

A week before a swim meet

You must log into your Hurricanes via Swimtopia account and commit your swimmer to the meet by Wednesday of each week. Please select your swimmers 3 events. The computer will generate times for the first 2 relays and the 3rd relay will be at the coaches discretion. Sign up to volunteer for the meet. If your swimmer cannot attend a meet, please let the team know ASAP.

The Night Before A Swim Meet

Best to get everything laid out the night before or even load the car and make certain you can carry everything you are taking. Even though you live in the neighborhood, that does not mean you will necessarily get to park very close. Make certain you and your swimmer get a good meal and plenty of rest the night before a swim meet. Check the team web site for the meet location (maps), check-in time and warm-up time. For away meets check the map and make sure you plan to leave enough time for the drive in the morning. Swim meets start very early and can run as late as 2:30pm, depending on the number of swimmers on each team and the weather. For away meets we rely upon the other team to provide concessions, so since we do not know what this will be like you may want to pack a cooler with some sandwiches, fruit, water, etc…

The Morning of the Swim Meet

Swimmer Drop Off

  • For home meets, the best way to get your swimmer to the pool is to walk in as a family after parking. Our parking area does not accommodate for U-turns and the visiting team will be setting up in our parking lot. At away meets, we will be sending out instructions closer to each meet with drop off instructions


  • There are very limited spots near the pool area for parking. Most of these are reserved for Coaches and Officials and the majority will accommodate the visiting teams set up. The road leading into the pool is narrow and parkingmay be utilized by tennis players or park visitors in addition to our swim families. At away meets, we will be sending out instructions closer to each meet with parking instructions.
  • Parking along South Alden Bridge Drive is the recommended for both our Canes families and the visiting team.
Check In
  • Get your swimmer to the pool on time! This is really, really important. There is a cut-off time for each meet. If your swimmer has not checked-in by 8:00 am they may be scratched from the meet - even if you are present. Please locate the coaches table to check in and also check in with your Lead Age Group parent. They will need to know if you are present for possible relay events. For home meets, the check-in table is by the main pool entrance gate.
  • If you have signed up for parent volunteer duties then the Hurricanes Volunteer Coordinator will either be near the coaches check-in table or there will be a volunteer list, so that you as a parent volunteer can also check-in. If you have not volunteered for a duty please ask the Hurricanes Volunteer Coordinator if there is something that you can help with. We often have parent volunteer absences that need to be filled with substitutes and we want to help you earn your 4 volunteer credits.
Warm Ups
  • After your swimmer is checked in, checkto see how much time you have before your warm up time. Make sure your swimmer is ready to swim at warm up. Each team gets 30 minutes to take warm up laps before the meet begins at 8:30am. The announcer will make announcements for when each team can start warm ups however, typically, the home team warms up first. The coaches will also be in the team set up area just before warm ups calling for the swimmers to line for warm ups by age group.
Team Set Up Area
  • You should have time before warm ups to find the teams designated set up area and locate a spot for your gear. If you have never been to a swim meet, you will notice that there are many tents of all kinds. At home meets there will be several tents set up and labelled per age group. Your Age Group Parents will set up under their prospective age group tent. There will be several tents set up, near the entrance, however, we do encourage you to bring a tent if you intend to set up along the back area of the pool. There is limited room, so please be aware of that. At away meets, each family is responsible for providing their own tent or shade. In many cases, families group together and share a common tent and help watch over each others children. This can be important since parents have volunteer duties during the meet. The last thing to do is to locate your swimmers Age Group Parent. Try to sit near them so that they know where you are when it is time to get your child to the ready benches for their event. If space is limited let them know where they should be able to find your child. Ideally set up you tent near to your team parent's tent.
Event Numbers
  • Almost all swimmers write their event numbers/stroke somewhere on their body, usually their arm where they can see them using a Sharpie. Swimmers will likely be entered in multiple events and in different events from meet to meet. Having a sharpie marker is handy for writing these on your Childs arm or leg. Be sure to write your swimmers event BEFORE you apply sunscreen. You will either receive a link to a heat sheet, have the ability to purchase one or receive your events from your Age Group Parent when you check in with them.
Heat Sheets
  • The home team may produce, for sale a "heat sheet" that lists the order of events and the number of expected heats for each swimmer. This is only a guide for the parents. It is produced the day before the meet and does not contain any last minute changes such as "swimmer scratches" due to swimmers not checking-in. Also during an event the Clark of Course may change the heat that your swimmer was due to swim in, due to trying to ensure the least number of empty lanes in each heat of an event. This is perfectly normal. It is also possible that you will receive a link to an online heat sheet rather than a physical copy.

During the Swim Meet

  1. Volunteering
    If you are a volunteer during the meet, you should become familiar with where you are to be for the start of your shift. Timers, Scribes, and Meet Officials are typically called together through the announcement system for a meeting, but other positions are not announced. If you are working the first shift at Orange Leaf please report to concessions as soon as you have your gear all set up. If you think you should be somewhere - start asking someone - or find your Lead Volunteer Coordinator. This year (2019), they can be found at the boys 11/12 tent.
  2. Eating and drinking
    At home meets we will have CFA serve breakfast and lunch. Orange Leaf will also be available for purchase using cash only. We all know how hot these meets can get so remember to HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!
  3. Ready Benches
    While it can be difficult to juggle all this, you need to also make certain your swimmer gets to the ready bench when it's their time. The best way to do this is to ensure that you listen to the announcer. They will start calling events and give your swimmers plenty of time to find their Age Group Parent and other swimmers in that event. The Age Group Parent will walk the group over to the ready bench. The ready bench will be located behind the pool, near the slide at the home meets. At away meets, please familiarize yourself with the pool area and find your Age Group Parents tent.
  4. Starting a Race
    Your swimmer will be moved from the ready benches to the starting blocks by the parent volunteers who are working the ready benches. The swimmer should have their goggles and swim cap firmly in place before getting to the starting blocks. Once there they should listen to the instructions from the officials. They will be told "swimmers on the block" by the starter, meaning they should climb onto the top of the starting locks and stand up straight. For backstroke they will be told "swimmers in the water" meaning they should carefully jump, not dive, into the water. The referee will then check to ensure that the correct number of swimmers are present and then blow a whistle. The whistle is NOT the start of the race. The whistle is the referees communication to the starter to go ahead and start the race. The starter will tell the swimmers "take your mark" meaning for the swimmer to prepare to start the race and then the starter will sound a gun or starter beep. This is when the swimmer should begin the race and you should begin cheering your swimmer on. When the swimmer completes the race they should get out of the pool promptly and report to the coach for a brief chat. .
  5. False Starts
    A false start occurs when a swimmer leaves the starting block early or there is a problem with the gun or starting equipment. In the event of a false start, the starter official sounds the gun or beeper repeatedly signaling the swimmers to stop and return to the starting blocks. A rope is also lowered into the water to stop swimmers who do not respond to the signals. If the false start is the result of your starting before the beep or gun, you will be given a warning. If your are disqualified a second time in the same event you disqualified from that event. Sometimes the swimmers get so far into their race before they realize that a false start has occurred that the referee may ask the swimmers to step out of the pool to give them a chance to recover. Often the next heat may be swam before re-running the heat that had the false start.
  6. On Deck Area
    The area immediately surrounding the pool is known as the "on deck" area during a meet. Often this will be roped off to keep spectators from encroaching. Only NWAL officials and on-duty parent volunteers are allowed on deck during a meet. Please respect that and give the Officials enough room to walk along the pool deck during and after races.
  7. Meet Officials
    Meet officials are present on the pool deck during the swim meet. They usually wear white. Most meets have a referee, starter and several stroke and turn officials. The officials are parent volunteers from both teams who are NWAL trained. They are impartial and there to enforce the NWAL rules. This ensures that each meet is run consistently and fairly throughout the NWAL organization. The meet referee has the final say in all disputes.
  8. Disqualifications or DQ
    These can cause some devastating tears amongst the best of swimmers. Please tell your swimmer from the start, that a DQ is the best learning opportunity. It is not a fail in any way. A swimmer may be disqualified by an official for many reasons, including not swimming a stroke correctly (i.e. a "flutter kick" during the butterfly stroke), making an improper turn, pulling on the rope, pushing off from the pool floor, failing to touch the wall in a turn, only touching with one hand during breast stroke, etc... Most swimmers get disqualified at some point in their swimming careers! Swimmers will be told by an official if they were disqualified for whatever reason. (Refer to the DQ tab for further details on DQ's and some videos of what officials are looking for.) The swimmer must see the coach after this occurs for suggestions on how to prevent this from happening again. After the swimmer understands what the mistake was, he or she should "shake it off" and focus on the next event. Everyone should be supportive and treat the disqualification as a learning experience.
  9. Raising an Objection
    If during the course of a race you see something that you feel you need to discuss with an official you MUST NOT approach any of the officials on deck. Only our Team Representative can approach the meet referee. So you must first find your Team Representative and tell him or her of your concern. If you cannot find the Team Representative then find the announcer or speak to the coaches, but in all cases please do so calmly and please remember that we are all there for the kids.
  10. Between Events
    Bring something for your swimmer to do. Many kids bring books, cards, electronic games, lego crafts, etc…This is also the time to eat and hydrate .
  11. Leaving the Meet
    If your child has to leave the meet, you MUST notify the team coaches and the Age Group Parent, especially if your child will not be returning to the meet. Relays are scheduled toward the end of the meet and we often have trouble locating swimmers because they have gone home or simply left. We encourage everyone to stay at the pool until your child has completed all their events. Even if your child has not been entered in a relay, last minute replay changes are common and the coaches look for swimmers who are still at the meet to fill in.
  12. Results
    Event results will be posted during the meet. The announcer may relay team points throughout the meet.
  13. Need Help?
    If at any time you need help during the meet please find the announcer. The announcer can make a request over the announcement system to find you someone that can assist with whatever your issue is. The announcer at the home meets is usually stationed near the computer desk
  14. Lost & Found
    A swim meet is a great place to loose goggles, caps, t-shirts, towels, shoes, etc... While some of this is turned in, often some is not (i.e. goggles). What is turned in or found after the meet is kept in the locked room located behind the pools check in desk. You can also notify you Team Representative and they can send an email to the team with details of what is lost or was is found.

After the Swim Meet

  1. Equipment Tear Down and clean up
    Your help is truly appreciated. Volunteers will have signed up to help take down tents and put equipment away. PLEASE DO YOUR PART TO CLEAN UP YOUR AREA. There are several hungry trash cans located around the pool area. If you make a mess, clean it immediately. Ask your swimmers to do the same at home and away meets. After a long day at the pool, no-one wants to stay and clean up after others. So please be mindful to help your team and do your part. Clean up may also be a great opportunity to fulfill your volunteer requirements. Be sure to ask the Team Representative if any extra hands are needed at the end of the meet to help pack up.
  2. Web Results
    As soon as possible after the meet the team web site will be updated with the results of the meet. This should be complete within 48 hours. Ribbons will be labelled over the next few days and filed in our Hurricanes Ribbon box. Your family will be able to locate their swimmers ribbons under their individual names. The file box will be on a table during weekly swim practice. If you see it and know that your child paces in the top 8, please check the box for ribbons.
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