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Swim Meet 101

About how long is a swim meet?

Typically 4-6 hours but length varies depending on the number of swimmers, facility constraints, etc.

What should you bring to a swim meet?

  • Suit, goggles, towels, caps 
  • Plenty of water and snacks 
  • $3-5 cash entry fee per person (this may change depending on the meet host)
  • Sunscreen for outdoor meets 
  • Optional: extra cash for heat sheets
  • Something to keep swimmers occupied between events 
  • Chairs and/or tents

How does a swim meet run?

Before the swim meet, your swimmer will choose which events they want to compete in and sign up for them using this website.

Each event is a race for a particular stroke, distance, age group, and gender. For example:

  • 50 yd Freestyle Boys 13 & 14
  • 50 yd Freestyle Girls 13 & 14
  • 50 yd Freestyle Girls 9 & 10
  • etc.

Each event is divided into heats. Heats are determined by the number of entries in an event. That number is divided by the number of lanes used in the swimming pool and swimmers are assigned to a specific lane in a specific heat. For example, a pool with 8 lanes being used for an event with 24 swimmers entered would have 3 heats.

A Heat Sheet is a list of events broken down by heat, lane, and swimmer. They are usually available for purchase or are posted on walls around the host facility. Swimmers are responsible for knowing their event number, heat number, and lane assignment and arriving for their events early to make sure they don't miss it.

At the beginning of the meet swimmers will warm-up in designated lanes at a designated time that the coaches will send out ahead of time. After warm-ups, everyone will wait in the spectator area for their events. Depending on what events a swimmer entered they may have a lot of down-time between events. Some swimmers will complete all their races before the end of the meet and are free to go.

Circuit Meets are regular season meets and are used to let swimmers try different events. Ribbons are given by the place in every heat. The entry fee for these meets will be $3-5/person, swimmers AND spectators.

Swimmers 10 & under can swim a maximum of 3 events. Swimmers 11-14 may swim 4 events. Swimmers 15-17 may swim 4 events plus any of the mixed relays. Adult may swim an unlimited number of events.

The Piranhas compete in Circuit Meets for the first several weekends during the summer season. All Circuit Meets are optional but encouraged!

Championship Meets are the final meets swimmers participate in during the summer season. There is a Regional Championship Meet and a State Championship Meet, TAAF Games of Texas.

The Regional Championship Meet is open to all swimmers. Swimmers 15 and older are automatically qualified for State but they can only attend the State Meet if they competed in the Regional Meet. Swimmers less than 15 years old are required to have a time from a circuit meet for each event they want to enter at Regionals. Swimmers less than 15 years old must have a qualifying time from Regionals in order to compete at State.

TAAF Eligibility Rules

Swimmers age 14 & younger may NOThave competed in a USA swim meet after January 1. Swimmers age 14 & younger may only practice with an organized swim team 90 minutes/week between January 1 and May 1. Exception: school swim teams or swimming lessons

Parents’ role at a swim meet:

  • Support
    • for your swimmer(s)
    • for the team
  • Volunteer Worker at our meets
    • Timer (need at least 12 – 14 at a time)
    • Place Judge
    • Ready Bench 
    • Awards Table (need at least 6 at a time)
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Plano Piranhas Swim Team - Tom Muehlenbeck Recreation Center

5801 W. Parker Rd. Plano TX 75093 - Piranhas@plano.gov - 972.769.4417

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