New to Swimming

Before the Meet

What to bring (LABEL EVERYTHING!):

Swim cap and suit


Flip flops

Sharpie ®

Two or more towels

Warm Clothes

Folding camp chairs or blanket

Food: fruit, fiber bars, bagels, oranges, melon pieces, healthy snacks.

Drinks: water, juice, Gatorade, Powerade.

NO glass containers allowed!

Camera – see more about using you camera flash below

Voice for Cheering

Upon Arrival

• Be on time! Warm-ups begin well before the meet start time.

• Check posted event sheet for your swimmer events.

• Mark your events on swimmers arm with a Sharpie! (see below)

• Swimmers report to coaches at team camp.

• Stake out deck space for your seating – at home meets AST parents/spectators sit on west side of pool. (Bleachers, grass, and under umbrellas)

• Coaches will give instructions regarding warm-ups.

• Team will warm-up together.

• Shout out positive team cheers.

• Ask Families of the AST for guidance if you have any questions how things go- they are our experts and are glad to share their wealth of knowledge!

Writing on your swimmer? ...and Why?

Writing on your swimmer? ...and Why?

Two reasons...

1. In order for meet workers and coaches to identify swimmers and where they should be, swimmers (especially 10 years old and younger) need to have their grid for meet workers who will help guide them to their heats during the meet. Write on your swimmer, using a waterproof marker (Sharpie), write your meet workers are volunteers so make sure to help them do their job with ease!.

2. Swimmers don’t have Heat Sheets. So how do they keep track of what events they are swimming in? ... By writing on themselves, of course.

Each swimmer needs a grid/chart on their arm (or leg for tiny arms) showing the event number, the heat number, the lane number, and the stroke/distance...for every race they are going to swim.

You get this information from the Heat Sheet...

The Heat Sheet

Heat sheets list all the swim events 1 through 87 in order, along with the participants in each event, what heat they are in, what lane each swimmer will occupy, and his/her previous best time in that event (if the swimmer has competed in that event before) or it will show "NT" for "No Time." To keep track of when your swimmer is swimming, it is a good idea to go through the heat sheet and highlight each of your swimmer’s events/heats. (Please Note: Some meets will only have heat sheets posted and you may not be able to have your own copy so highlighting may not be an option)

Only use the heat sheet posted at the meet for information to write on your swimmer for the LANE and HEAT.  

**Please Note: Sometimes the official heat sheets are NOT available to us before getting to the meet. If this is the case make your grid and fill in EVENT and STROKE only until other information becomes available!

Write on your swimmer:

Using a waterproof marker (Sharpie®), write four column headings on your swimmer’s arm

E, H, L, Stroke – for Event, Heat, Lane and Stroke respectively.

Find your swimmer’s name on the heat sheet. For example, swimmer Paige Smith is swimming in Event 21 in Heat 3. The numbers 1-6 correspond to the assigned lane. Paige is Lane 2. Next to the Event number is the distance and stroke – 25 meter Backstroke. She is also swimming in Event 53, Heat 3, Lane 5, in 25 meter Freestyle.

Enter the heat sheet information on your swimmer’s arm under each column.

Continue filling in the grid until all of your swimmer’s event information is on the arm (can be as many as five lines long). Paige’s arm would read:

E  H  L  Stroke

21 3 2  25 Back

53 3 5  25 Free

What's the difference between an EVENT and a HEAT?

The Event:

An event is the name of the “race” that a swimmer is entered in.

Events are identified by a number.

Generally, even number events are boys events and odd numbers are girls.

The event number is followed by the stroke/category and age group.

In the AHEELA conference there are six stroke/categories of events: Freestyle Relay, Medley Relay, Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Butterfly.

There are six age groups: 8 & Under, 7&8, 9&10, 11&12, 13&14, 15-18.


Event 45 Girls 9-10 25 Meter Breaststroke

Event 54 Boys 8 & Under 25 Meter Freestyle

There are currently 87 events in an AHEELA dual meet.

The Heat:

Many swimmers are entered into each event. In some cases there may be as many as 24 or more swimmers competing in the same event. In a eight-lane pool (such as the Algona Aquatic Center pool), there is no way to swim all the entries in any event head-to-head at the same time. Instead the event is broken up into heats. The number of heats is determined by the number of swimmers and the number of lanes in the pool. In a eight-lane pool, a 24-swimmer event would be divided into three heats – eight swimmers in each heat.

It is important to remember that all swimmers in a single event are competing against each other. Times for all heats in an event are tallied together. The fastest time out of all of the heats wins the event.