Lessons from a Swim Meet

Since starting this swim journey back in December we have been immersed in swim culture. Heh.

It’s been a somewhat bumpy ride to be honest because outside of the olympics most people just don’t watch or follow swimming. I think most Americans might know who Michael Phelps is, being that he won so many medals last go round, but they probably couldn’t tell you the rules for flip turns or time standards.

I can’t either. Yet. I am trying to learn.

First Meet Results

We attended our first meet this last weekend. It was a true learning experience for us. I thought I would share what I learned in an effort to help any swimming newbies out there behind me and also to seek other tips and advice from more experienced swim Moms.

Despite our inexperience MOTS swam in 4 events and set personal records in all 4 events (meaning that she swam each distance faster than she ever had in practice). We are very proud of her and look forward to our next meet.

For Your Swimmer –

Start of the first meet.

1. Bring 3-4 towels every day. Our coaches recommend 2 towels, but we found that even with 2 they got soaked pretty fast. Three worked much better for her.

2. Bring snacks. Another coach recommendation. We did granola bars and small crackers, but we’ll probably add some sliced fruit and maybe some peanut butter crackers. I am open to suggestions here.

3. Bring more drinks than you think you’ll need. It’s easy to forget that you need to hydrate when your sport is in the water. Also, those natatoriums are pretty warm and somewhat dry, so be prepared for that.

4. Bring entertainment. You’ll think that it’s no big deal to have 5 races between your kids races, until you realize that each race has 8 heats. So that means you actually are sitting through 40 races. They go pretty fast considering, but it still has some tendency to drag and a book is nice to pass the time.

For Your Family –

Swim meet entertainment.

1. Bring a small hand towel. The bleachers get walked on by wet kids all day. If you don’t want to sit in a puddle, come prepared to wipe down your seat.

2. Bring snacks. It’s nice to support the home teams concession stand, but that gets expensive over a three-day meet, so make sure you have stuff for your family to snack on as well. This is especially true for the younger set that like to eat every 20-30 minutes or as often as anyone within a 20 foot radius is eating.

3. Bring drinks. I mentioned the warm air in the natatorium. It can dry you out too. I brought an 8-oz. bottle of water for everyone and we refilled from the water fountain. At the end of the day the bottles went in the recycle bin.

4. Bring entertainment. I noticed my youngers didn’t care about watching any of the races. Handheld games and small toys kept them occupied and out of trouble.

5. Wear layers. It was the coldest it has been all season last weekend. There were a lot of first timers there in sweatshirts. And they were uncomfortable! The natatorium was probably at least 78-80 degrees, so dress appropriately.

What I’ll do different next time –

Waiting. We do a lot of that at meets.

1. More bags. My swimmer (MOTS) had her own bag packed with everything. Snacks, drinks, clothes, towels, etc. It was large and unwieldy. Next time I think we’ll put the food into a cooler and leave the clothes and towels into her bag. I also need a cooler for the rest of the family so I am not toting a ton of snacks and stuff for all of us. Then I’ll put a bag on each kid with their entertainment. I hate feeling like a pack mule if I can avoid it!

2. Bring a bleacher seat. My back was sore after the weekend. Something with back support would have been nice.
3. Bring flip-flops for my swimmer. The locker rooms get pretty funky.
Okay swim moms. What say you? What’s your best swim meet survival tip?
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One thought on “Lessons from a Swim Meet

  1. Pam says:

    I’m not a swim mom, but this post brought back such fun memories of my own swim meet days. Back then, we were encouraged to eat dry Jello powder (!) before we swam (which I DON’T recommend.) I swam my fastest when team mates would shake out my arms for me. (Is that considered a tip?!)

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