NRST Parent Guide
Your First Swim Meet
Please make sure that your child brings goggles (a second set is helpful as sometimes they break or go missing), a Riptides swim cap, Riptides t-shirt (that they are asked to wear throughout the swim meet when not swimming), two towels (a wet towel can become uncomfortable for a swimmer), swim suit (two if possible) and a jogging suit or housecoat for the swimmer to stay warm when not racing.
WHERE TO SIT:
Swimmers will normally sit together with their Riptides team and there is usually a Riptides banner to indicate where the team is located. Parents will either sit nearby on folding/camping chairs or on bleachers if available. Please note that not all pools will have bleachers, so a folding chair is a great idea to keep in your vehicle just in case.
WHAT TO EAT:
Some swim meets will offer a concession, but parents are advised to pack a nutritious lunch for each swimmer with lots of easy to digest snacks and a full water bottle. Swim meets can last several hours and it is important to keep swimmers hydrated and fed in between events. Candy and gum are not items that we recommend as they do not help sustain swimmers throughout a meet! A small cooler with water, juice, granola bars, fruit, vegetables and dip, yogurt, cereal, trail mix, or sandwiches are great ideas to sustain an active swimmer.
WHAT IS A “HEAT SHEET”?:
Make sure to bring some toonies and loonies to a swim meet to purchase a “heat sheet”. A heat sheet will show each event, listing swimmers in the heat and lane they are swimming in. If swimmers do not have a posted time, they will often be in the first heat or two of an event. If a swim meet is more than one day, a heat sheet will be offered for sale for each day. A highlighter pen will also help to highlight the events your swimmer will be in on your heat sheet.
TIPS FOR PARENTS:
Water bottles and/or thermos are excellent items for parents as well. Make sure that you have a pen on hand to mark the races that your swimmer will be participating in. Some parents will bring a Sharpie-style pen and mark the event/heats/swim lane on a swimmer’s arm to ensure that the swimmer is aware of their races. The coaches are also present to ensure that swimmers are ready well in advance of the start of their swim race.
PLEASE BE ON TIME:
Be on time for swim warm-up. This is really important for swimmers to get used to water temperature and situation of flags, etc. A swimmer attending their first swim race may have some questions for their coach, and having time in advance of the warm up and race is an excellent time to approach the coaches.
BEAT THE HEAT AND HUMIDITY:
Pools are generally quite warm (and humid), so it is a good idea for parents and spectators to dress appropriately and comfortable shoes such as deck shoes or runners are essential. Nothing makes a swim day go by MORE SLOWLY for parents than being uncomfortably warm!
HOW TO PASS THE TIME (WHEN A SWIMMER IS NOT RACING):
Boredom can easily be dealt with as we recognize that swimmers do have some “down time” between events. For swimmers, coloring books, books, Ipod (waterproof case is ideal), games, cards or electronic games will help entertain. For parents, bringing a book, newspaper, laptop or sewing or knitting can help make a day at the pool enjoyable.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED:
Expect the unexpected. Some races may go a bit slower than estimated times, so if you do have other activities planned, please notify the coach as they can try to work with your swimmer’s schedule for race events if they know in advance.
RIPTIDES HOSTED SWIM MEETS:
If your swimmer is participating in a Riptides swim meet, parents are asked to contribute food such as veggies and dip, fruit, snacks or sandwiches to assist us in providing refreshments to the team coaches and judges. As well, parents are asked to volunteer a bit of time to ensure that the Riptides-hosted swim meets are run smoothly. There are lots of opportunities from helping in the kitchen, setting up for the meet or being a timer or stroke and turn judge. Our Riptides swim meets are our main fundraising tool to ensure that swim fees are kept as low as possible.
Darcy Irwin, Assistant Head Coach