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Marlin Meet FAQs

When are the Meets?

Swim meets are held on Saturday mornings. Warm-ups begin around 7:50am (home meets) or 8:20am (away meets). Meets officially start at 9:00am and usually conclude between 12-1:00pm. Each team is given time to warm up in the pool under the direction of the team coaches. The home team warms up first, followed by the visiting team.

The season begins with a “Practice Meet” (usually the weekend before Memorial Day), followed by five “Dual Meets” during the season. There is also a “Bye Week” in which there is no swim meet. Typically this happens right before or after the July 4th holiday.

A parent from each family is asked to work a “Parent Meet Job” at all swim meets where their swimmer is participating. This is typically for half of the meet. At home meets, we ask parents with two or more swimmers to work two Parent Meet Jobs

What is a Practice Meet?

The Practice Meet is a chance for swimmers (and parents) to learn how meets run. The Practice Meet is run just like a Dual Meet (all events will be timed), but there is only one team swimming … Greenmeadow. At the Practice Meet, swimmers are highly encouraged to swim all four strokes (Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle) as it is the only meet in which a swimmer is allowed to swim all four strokes. This enables swimmers to have an official “time” for each event. It is especially important for new families to participate in the Practice Meet to learn how to navigate a swim meet. Swimmers learn where to check for their heat/lane assignments, where to go before their race, when to get ready for their next race, etc. Parents learn about the different Parent Meet Jobs (timers, runners, data table workers, etc). 

What are Dual Meets?

At a Dual Meet, each club competes against one of the other clubs in the league. Meets are held at either Greenmeadow or the other club’s pool. The season concludes with our big “Champs” meet at De Anza College, where all six clubs compete together.

Swimmers must compete in at least two dual meets during the season to be eligible to swim at Champs.The Practice Meet does not count as a dual meet.

At dual meets, swimmers are allowed to swim three individual events and one relay. The coach determines which swimmers will swim on the relay teams.

A swimmer’s age as of May 31st determines their proper age group for the full season (e.g., a swimmer whose birthday is May 31 and turns 7 on that day, swims in the 7-8 age group for that swim season). Age groups for swim meets are: 6 & under, 7 & 8, 9 & 10, 11 & 12, 13 & 14, and 15-18.

Parking Lot — For Dual Meets in which Greenmeadow hosts, please park on the street and do not parking in the parking lot. We open the parking lot for our guests, the other team.

What are Events, Heats, and Lanes?

For each event, swimmers are assigned their heat and lane numbers based on their official times for each stroke throughout the season. The fastest swimmers will swim in heats against the other fastest swimmers. The heats are raced from slowest to fastest. Each event may have several heats.

For example, for Event 16 (Girls, Ages 7 & 8, 25-yard backstroke), there may be 24 girls between the two teams who want to compete in that event. The pools have 6 lanes, so Event 16 will have 4 heats of 25-yard backstroke. Each heat will have 6 swimmers.

The order of events for the meets is butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle, then mixed relays. Each stroke begins with the Boys (6 & Under), then the Girls (6 & Under) and continues with each age group up to the 15-18 year olds. After the 15-18 year old girls swim butterfly, the stroke changes to backstroke and we begin again with the 6 & Under boys. 

Every swimmer should check their Heat/Lane assignments when they arrive at the swim meet (see “Sample Heat & Lane Assignments” below). The Heat/Lane Assignments are posted for each team prior to the start of the meet. Swimmers mark their Event/Heat/Lane assignments on their arms with a Sharpie pen.

How are Meets Scored?

At Dual Meets, scoring for individual events is 5 points for first place, 3 points for second place, and 1 point for third place. For Relays, the winning team receives 7 points (winner take all).

At Champs, scoring for all events, including relays, is 9 points for first place, 7 points for second place, 5 points for third place, 3 points for fourth place, 2 points for fifth place, and 1 point for sixth place.

See the JSSL bylaws ( for specific details on scoring (including ties).

At most meets you’ll be able to use the SwimTopia App to see individual times and team scores during the meet. After each meet, the meet results will be emailed to all Marlin families and posted on the webist in the results secion.

Who gets Ribbons?

Place ribbons (1st-6th) are awarded to swimmers finishing with the six fastest times overall in each event.

Personal Best ribbons are awarded every time a swimmer beats one of his/her own fastest swim times during a Dual Meet or at Champs. 

Ribbons are put into swimmer folders during each meet. Swimmers may pick up their ribbons from the “Ribbons Box” near the lifeguard office (usually by the Monday following the swim meet).

What is the Clerk of the Course?

  • This is the staging area for swimmers. We have a shade tent and benches set up near the team shed by the diving block end of the pool. The kids get placed in their heats and lanes, moving up after each event until it’s their turn to go to the blocks, then the clerk of the course workers take them to the correct block.
  • Kids need to let the clerk of the course workers know their event, heat, and lane (they have sheets with the info, but good for the kids to try to remember or learn how to read what is written on their arms).
  • Check event board for event status (near lifeguard chair).
  • Swimmers should report to clerk of the court around 3 events before their own event (clerk will tell them to come back if they are too early).
  • If kids are not there, we will send CITs to try to find them, so please ask them to stay in the team area as much as possible so they can listen if their name gets called.  However, it is ultimately the swimmer's responsibility to get to the clerk. 
  • Swimmers should have goggles on their head (caps if long hair).
  • Parents do not need to stay with their kids at Clerk of Course (swimmers will be with their friends and will have Clerk of Course workers to get the kids into their lanes).

What if a Swimmer Misses an Event?

  • Even with the Clerk of the Course, kids sometimes miss events.
  • If this happens and their specific event is still in progress, we may be able to slot them into a later heat, so kids should come immediately to the clerk of the course.
  • If they cannot be slotted into a later heat, please let them know these things happen and it’s OK. They can still swim in their other events.

What is a Disqualification (DQ)?

  • Stroke & Turn Judges from both teams watch every heat during the meet. The judges watch to make sure that swimmers are using the proper technique during their races. The Stroke & Turn Judges are parent volunteers with specialized training in USA Swimming and JSSL rules.Using Stroke & Turn Judges keeps the meet fair for all swimmers. 
  • Swimmers with incorrect stroke, kick, turn, pull down or finishing touch will be disqualified (DQ’d).  
  • This means their time and place does not count.
  • Please let your kids know this happens to all swimmers and it’s fine.
  • For the very young swimmers (6U), the stroke and turn judges usually only DQ if it gives a “competitive advantage.” 
  • If a swimmer is DQ’d, the coach will review the DQ slip during the meet and will be able to work with the swimmer after the meet to improve their technique. 
  • Parents should not approach Stroke & Turn Judges during the meet to question any DQ

What is a False Start?

  • If a swimmer dives off the blocks before the starting gun goes off, it is a false start.
  • The starting gun will go off in a series of loud beeps. If that happens, all swimmers should stop swimming immediately and go back to the blocks to start again.
  • If the swimmers miss the false start alarm, sometimes a CIT will dive in after them to stop them.
  • If swimmers go too far down the lane, we may run an event out of order to give them a chance to rest before trying again.

What do the Swimmers do Between Events?

  • Between events, have a small snack (concessions is open), get warm (bring extra towels and sweats or pajama-style pants).
  • Bring playing cards or group-games for between events.
  • Pay attention to event board and announcements for time to check-in for next event

What is the Etiquette for Swimmers?

  • Enthusiastically cheer for your team mates before and during events, but everyone must be quiet at the start so everyone can hear the announcer and starting beep.
  • Swimmers should wait in the pool until ALL swimmers finish the race. They do not jump out when they are done.
  • They should shake hands with the swimmers in the lanes next to them and say good job.
  • In the clerk of the course, be kind to all swimmers both home and away. We discourage smack talk, even if in jest, sometimes it is taken the wrong way.
  • Tell your kids to thank the coaches on their way home.

What are the Safety Rules for Meets?

  • Only swimmers 11 and up are allowed in the diving board end to warm up/cool down
  • The kiddie pool is off limits.
  • We have a lifeguard at home meets that can help if someone gets injured.
  • The Clubhouse is off limits for all swimmers during the meet since our data and concessions folks will be in there.
  • Let your swimmer know where to find you during the meet (parent meet job). Timers cannot leave their spots.
  • Please tell the younger swimmers that if they lose you, they can ask any CIT (pink shirts) or they can can let the clerk of the course know. If we can’t find you, we can ask the announcer to make an announcement.

How Can We Help Clean-Up?

  • When the meet is over, please clean up your area and throw away all trash. Please double check that you are grabbing your kids shirts since they all look the same.
  • If you have time, please help the clean up workers even if it’s not your job. 

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