Club Info: First Meet Information
A swimmer's first meet with Dartes is often a daunting experience. All at once you're faced with a huge and unfamiliar swimming pool complex, crowds of anxious swimmers and parents from all over the country, a long car journey, and an early morning start. To top it all off, you probably don't know many of your team mates either.
To help calm your nerves (and more importantly, those of your parents) and prepare you all for the day/weekend ahead, this document highlights everything you need to know to arrive in confidence.
Information for Swim Meets
Many thanks to Helen Smith for producing this article and then the small army who made further suggestions and alterations. Consider this a work in progress, if you think something is missing or incorrect don't hesitate to send your suggestions.
This document can also be downloaded and kept in a swimmer's logbook:
- Meet Info (MS Word)
1. WHICH COMPETITIONS TO ENTER
There is a competition calendar on the notice boards at all three of the DARTES training venues. The meets swimmers should attend depend on their age and ability to achieve the qualifying standard for the particular meets.
- 9-14yrs Boys and 9-13yrs girls are classed as Age Group.
- 15yrs+ Boys and 14yrs+ girls are classed as Youth/Senior.
- Most competitions run as age on day, which means the age of the swimmer on the last day of the swim meet.
There are two different types of meet entry-time descriptions: qualifying times and cut off times.
- Qualifying times mean the swimmer must be faster than the noted times.
- Cut off times mean the swimmer must be no faster than the designated times.
It is important before entering swimming meets to speak with the coaches, as they will be able to guide you on which events would be most beneficial to enter. The coach is knowledgeable about every swimmer's strengths/weaknesses and the specific target for each meet. Remember, only a select few meets are designated to swim fast the rest are "training meets" to gauge performance improvement and to try new skills or improve upon previous mistakes in preparation for the bigger competitions (e.g. Yorkshire, North Eastern and National Championships).
3. ENTRY FORMS:
When coach, swimmer, parents/guardians have agreed upon which events a child is to enter, an entry form must be filled in and returned to Peter Litchfield with the required amount of money/ cheques (cheques made payable to Doncaster DARTES). If an entry is made without payment it will NOT be accepted.
It is unfortunate, but sometimes circumstances dictate that a swimmer has to be withdrawn from a meet. If this situation happens, it is important that Peter Litchfield or a coach is informed prior to the meet, they will advise you accordingly. Failure to do so may result in a fine to the club or parents/ guardians responsible (depending on the particular competition). Swimmers should be encouraged to swim every event they enter and should only be withdrawn after consultation with the coach.
All Cards for swimming events must be handed in on arrival before warm up begins. Pay close attention to the card hand-in deadline as lateness usually results in missing out!
Swimmers who achieve reserve places in competition must inform team managers /coaching staff if they do not intend on waiting to see if any current finalists withdraw. A surprising number of finalists do withdraw so it's often worth waiting.
5. DARTES TEAM KIT:
Doncaster DARTES swimmers if choosing to wear a cap must wear a DARTES swimming cap. DARTES T-shirt or sweat shirt should also be worn at meets to make swimmers easily identifiable. There are also available kit bags, hoodies etc.
6. DATES AND LOCATION:
It is important to make sure you have all the information correct:
- What the date of the meet is!
- The venue of the swim meet and available parking facilities.
- Where the coach and team members are going to meet and at what time?
- Who will be on pool side to guide swimmers through the day’s events?
- Check the time you are expected to be on pool side ready for warm up (Usually 15mins before warm up starts).
Please make sure your child has all the following items with them in kit bags:
- 3 x Swimming trunks/costumes (changing into dry kit after the warm up is common)
- Indoor foot wear (clean trainers or flip-flops) must be worn.
- 2 x Goggles.
- 3 x towels. (important when competing in multiple sessions)
- 2 x DARTES swimming caps.
- 2 x DARTES polo shirts/ sweat shirts.
- Spare clothes. ALL CLOTHES and PERSONAL ITEMS SHOULD HAVE NAME TAGS ATTACHED and ARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE OWNER!
- It is essential swimmers have plenty of drinks available to them on pool side! Also they have plenty of food kept in cool lunch boxes on poolside. High carbohydrates/low fat snacks, pasta, sandwiches, a banana, dried fruit, oat/plain wholemeal biscuits, rice (NOT sweets and jellies). These are all examples of foods that release energy slowly.
- If the interval between races is only 30 minutes: The swimmer should drink only fluids/juice or a sport drink.
- If the interval between races is between 1 to 2 hours: The swimmer should have a small high carbohydrate/low fat meal.
- If the rest period between races is longer than 2hours: then the swimmer should have substantial meal but no less than 2 hours before the next race to allow digestion.
- Log books are required for swimmers to record the day’s events and results.
8. ALL SWIMMERS MUST RESPECT POOL SIDE RULES:
Inform team managers if you need to leave poolside for any reason during a session (toilet, etc). Parents/Guardians should encourage swimmers to remain on poolside rather than sitting in the spectator area as it is important to build a strong team atmosphere. Swimmers should also be encouraged to show support to other team mates during their races. Swimmers should always show high levels of good behaviour as representatives of Doncaster DARTES and be respectful to coaching staff/ team managers and meet officials.
LISTEN to instructions from the coach, who is there to help you achieve your goals/targets.
TALK to the coach before going to the marshalling area, prior to the race.
PREPARE your muscles before the race; this will help reduce the chance of injury.
DISCUSS your performance with the coach after every race.
9. REMEMBER TO SWIM DOWN!
A snack bar should be eaten as soon as possible after the race to start the process of replenishing the energy stores within the muscles. It is important to swim down after your race in order to reduce the levels of lactate that are in the muscles. A well structured correctly performed swim down should help the swimmer to maintain performance levels throughout the swim meet.
Once swim down is complete it is important that swimmers dry themselves thoroughly and wear dry clothing to keep the muscles warm. Now you need to have the appropriate drink and snack for the time available before your next race.
CHECK WHEN YOUR NEXT EVENT IS!
10. PARENTS MUST REMEMBER
Parents should refrain from giving any technical feedback or performance criticism to their child; this is counter productive and it is the responsibility of the swimmer's qualified coach to deliver any guidance required on areas for improvement. It is important that swimmers experience no confusion as to who they should be listening to with regard to race performances. Praising your child for a good performance is always welcome.
11. IMPORTANT CONTACTS
At least one of the following is likely to be on the pool deck at every meet Dartes attends. Their contact details can be found in the contacts section of this website.
- Neil Chambers (Competition Secretary)
- Andrew Wallace (Head Coach/ Premier Squad)
- Dave Cuthbert (Age Group Squad)
- Jordan Allerton (Junior Development Squad)
Doncaster DARTES wish all swimmers the very best. We hope that you enjoy the day’s events and learn a lot from the experience.