PVS Logo
PVS Logo

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you are new to swimming or a veteran, there is ample opportunity to be confused by the many different terms and acronyms common to the world of swimming. The information below is designed to provide parents (and swimmers!) with some guidance. FAQs are organized into Before the Meet, During the Meet, and After the Meet sections. The glossary provides definitions of some of the more commonly used swimming lingo. Comments and suggestions are welcome and can be submitted to the Webmaster.

There is also some wonderful information on the USA Swimming website a www.usaswimming.org for swimmers and parents. Check out the Parents section.

One article that all swim parents should read is the 10 Commandments for Swimming Parents, by Rose Snyder.

Before the Meet - Meet Schedules and Meet Announcements

During the Meet (and Before you Leave for the Pool)

After the Meet

Before the Meet - Meet Schedules and Meet Announcements

The Meet Schedules and Results section of the PVS Website provides parents, swimmers and coaches with a great deal of information about the who, when, where, and how questions of swim meet competitions. Check this section often to learn the specifics about upcoming meets. Any changes to the meet schedule or procedures will be noted in the Meet Announcement (e.g., warm-up time for a session may be earlier or later, positive check in may now exist for some events), so check the PVS Website often in the days prior to a meet to be aware of any changes. Meet results information is also found here within a week or so after the conclusion of the meet.

What meets can my swimmer compete in?

  • Each PVS Club identifies meets for their swimmers to compete in based on any number of factors, including meet date, meet location, and level of competition. Contact your coach for information on what meets are available to your swimmer.
  • Open meets are available to all PVS Clubs. Invitational meets are open to invited PVS Clubs.
  • See the Meet Schedules and Results section of the PVS Website for a listing of PVS sanctioned meets by month. Click on the name of the meet to see the Meet Announcement. Click on the location of the meet to see driving directions to the facility.

How do I sign up for a meet?

  • Each PVS Club identifies its own format for swimmer meet entries, but most will require specification of the name of the meet and the event number and name (e.g., Event 5, girls 11-12 200 IM). See the Meet Announcement for event numbers and descriptions.
  • PVS Clubs will consolidate all meet entries before sending them to the Meet Director.
  • Please note that the entry deadline specified in the Meet Announcement is the date the consolidated club entries are due. Entry deadlines for individual swimmers are set by each club. See your coach for more information.

What information does the Meet Announcement contain?

The Meet Announcement contains all the eligibility, rules, procedures, and events for the meet. PVS approves all Meet Announcements for sanctioned meets. Meet Directors are required to follow the information provided in the Meet Announcement. Each Meet Announcement includes headings for major categories of information, although the specific wording and organization may vary slightly.

  • Dates and Location - Many meets are multi-day events and some (e.g., PVS October Open, PVS January Open) are spread across multiple locations. If there are multiple locations, each PVS Club will be assigned to a specific location.
  • Schedule - Many meets have different session times for each age group and/or gender. The Schedule section of the Meet Announcement will identify the swimmers participating in each session, along with the time for warm-ups and the time that the events start.
  • Eligibility - Identifies swimmers who can participate in the meet. Usually indicates that swimmers will compete at their age on the first day of the meet (e.g., if a swimmer turns 13 on day 2 of the meet, they will compete in the 11-12 age group for the entire meet).
  • Rules - Look here to find the number of events a swimmer can enter per day and for the meet (e.g., 3 per day with a maximum of 6 for the meet). Information on the use of Dive Over Starts at the meet may also be listed here. The policy on Deck Entries may be included here, or in its own section.
  • Awards - If awards are provided at the meet, specific information is included in this section. Many PVS meets do not provide ribbons or medals to swimmers, so the absence of this section in the Meet Announcement indicates that no awards are given.
  • Individual Events - Look here for information on events swum fastest to slowest, rather than the typical slowest to fastest. Information on events with Prelims-Finals format may also be here.
  • Meet Entry Procedures - The information listed here is for the PVS Club representative who will consolidate entries to send to the Meet Director. These instructions and the deadline listed do not apply to parents and swimmers. Follow the instructions and deadline of your club for submitting meet entries.
  • Events - The events for each session are listed in table format with the event description (e.g., 11-12 100 yd Freestyle) in the center, the event number for girls on the left, and the event number for boys on the right. Warm-up times and event start times for the session are usually listed above the list of events.

During the Meet (and Before you Leave for the Pool)

Swim meets are exciting and can be fun for swimmers and spectators. Before you leave for the pool, make sure that you are prepared.

  • Go to the PVS Website and review the Meet Announcement for any changes to warm-up times or other important updates
  • Remind your swimmer of any Positive Check In events
  • Pack some drinks and snacks since concessions are not sold at all meets. The Meet Announcement may indicate if concessions will be available
  • Remind your swimmer to have fun!

What time should my swimmer arrive at the pool?

Check the Meet Announcement to see what time warm-ups begin for the session. Many coaches want swimmers at the pool prior to the start of warm-ups so that they are ready to get in the pool when warm-ups begin. Check with your coach for specific instructions.

My swimmer is in an event requiring Positive Check In. What do I do?

As a parent, you can remind your child that they are entered in an event requiring Positive Check In, but it is the swimmer's responsibility to check in, not the parent's. The Meet Announcement lists all events requiring Positive Check In and the check in deadline for each event. Swimmers who do not check in by the deadline are scratched from the event.

The list of swimmers entered into an event requiring Positive Check In is usually posted on a wall or table on the pool deck. Names are in alphabetical order by event and each name has a line before it where for a swimmer to put their initials if they intend to swim the event. If a swimmer knows that they will not swim the event, they can either not put their initials on the line or clearly write the word "scratch" on the line. Swimmers should ask their coach if they have any questions about Positive Check In procedures.

If a swimmer checks in for an event and is deck seeded but fails to swim, a penalty is usually assessed to swimmer. The exact penalty is described in the Meet Announcement, but the swimmer is usually removed from their next scheduled event.

Can I sit with my swimmer on deck?

Parents not working the meet as a deck official, volunteer lane timer, or other meet position are not permitted on deck.

Is there anything I can do to help during the meet?

Yes! It takes a large group of people to run a swim meet, and we are all volunteers! Working on deck as an adult volunteer gives you a great view of the meet and your swimmer's races. Volunteer lane timers are always needed, and NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE IS REQUIRED. Go to the Official's table at least 30 minutes before the meet starts and volunteer to work as a lane timer. The starter will hold a briefing for all lane timers about 20 minutes before the meet begins to provide instructions for the meet. There is often a need for "relief timers" to come on deck during the meet to replace a volunteer timer who needs to leave. Please listen for these requests and volunteer your time.

There are some volunteer swim official jobs requiring certification (e.g., Stroke and Turn Judge, Starter, Referee). Look under the Officials section of the PVS Website or contact your club?s Officials Chair for more information.

How do I know when my swimmer is swimming?

A Meet Program (sometimes called a Heat Sheet) is often available for sale. The program lists the swimmers in each event and their heat and lane assignment. If there is an electronic scoreboard at the meet, it will usually show the event number and heat number of the event that is currently swimming.

How can I find out my swimmer's time in an event?

Meet results are posted at most meets, usually on a wall in the spectator area of the pool. The results are organized by event and will usually list the swimmer's seed/entry time and the time they achieved in the event. Codes of NS (No Swim), SCR (Scratch) and DQ (Disqualification) may also be listed next to a swimmer's name in an event. If you see what you think is an error in the results (e.g. your swimmer was in the event but is listed as NS), let your swimmers's coach know so they can get it corrected by the officials. DO NOT CONTACT THE OFFICIALS YOURSELF.

If there is an electronic scoreboard at the meet, the times that show up on the scoreboard are unofficial until certified by the meet officials. Please note that the time listed on the posted meet results is the official time for the swim and may differ from the time that was shown on the scoreboard. Full meet results are also posted on the PVS Website in the Meet Schedules and Results section. In the row for the meet, click on the HTML link on the right side under Results. Note that the TM and MM links provide access to computer files for the Hy-Tek programs maintained by club officials and coaches.

Why was my swimmer disqualified?

A swimmer may be disqualified in an event, and listed as DQ in the meet results, for a stroke infraction (e.g., one hand touch in breaststroke). Sometimes the specific reason for the disqualification will be listed in the posted meet results. If you need more information about the specific infraction, contact your swimmer's coach after the meet. Never approach an official on deck.

What do I do when my swimmer is done?

Remind your swimmer to check with their coach before they leave the pool deck to make sure that they are finished and receive any instructions. Then be sure to go home and get some rest!

After the Meet

Congratulate your child on their accomplishments and encourage them to talk with their coach if they have specific questions about their results for a specific swim.