Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

Stuff for Parents

Parental Responsibilities

Parental Responsibility "points" are required for the competitive levels.

Not sure how to earn points?

Check out the Volunteer Positions doc in the Forms and Documents section!

How to Prepare for a Swim Meet

1. Print out Meet Entries and Meet Package (from Pierre's email).

2. Highlight your swimmer's events on the Meet Entries Report.

3. Highlight Meet Events from the Meet Package (to follow your child's events throughout the meet).

4. Buy a program at the pool (some parents share this). Has more details on the heat/lane your swimmer is in.

5. Before warm ups, write events on your child's arm (helps stay organized on deck). E=Event # H=Heat L=Lane (heat and lane details are in the program you buy). Here is what it looks like on the arm: E 13 H 4 L 2 50 Free

6. Pack extra goggles, orange cap, competitive swimsuit, flip flops, towel & healthy snacks/ drinks.

7. Poolside is hot & crowded..Parents dress appropriately too! (T shirts, water, indoor shoes/flip flops)

8. Wish your swimmer luck and tell them to smile and have FUN!


How to Watch a Swim Meet

The following is a brief summary of competitive swimming strokes.

The Racing Course

The length of a long course racing pool is 50 metres. The pool has eight lanes and each lane is 2.5 metres wide. The water temperature must be kept at 26 degrees Celsius.

The Meet

There are normally 13 individual events and three relays for men and women in a swim meet.

Freestyle Events

In the freestyle, the competitor may swim any stroke he or she wishes. The usual stroke used is the front crawl. This stroke is characterized by the alternate overhand motion of the arms. The freestyle is swum over 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 metre distances.

Backstroke Events

In the backstroke, the swimmer must stay on his or her back at all times. The stroke is an alternating motion of the arms. At each turn a swimmer must touch the wall with some part of the body.

Swimmers must surface within 15 metres after the start and each turn. Backstroke race distances are 100 and 200 metres.

Breaststroke Events

Perhaps one of the most difficult strokes to master, the breaststroke requires simultaneous movements of the arms on the same horizontal plane. The hands are pushed forward from the breast on or under the surface of the water and brought backward in the propulsive stage of the stroke simultaneously.

The kick is a simultaneous thrust of the legs called a frog or breaststroke kick. No flutter or dolphin kicking is allowed. At each turn a swimmer must touch with both hands at the same time. Breaststroke races are distances of 100 and 200 metres.

Butterfly Events

The most physically demanding stroke, the butterfly features the simultaneous overhead stroke of the arms combined with the dolphin kick. The dolphin kick features both legs moving up and down together. No flutter kicking is allowed.

The butterfly was born in the early 1950s due to a loophole in the breaststroke rules and became an Olympic event in Melbourne, Australia in 1965. Butterfly races are swum in 100 and 200 metre distances.

Individual Medley

The individual medley, commonly referred to as the I.M., features all four competitive strokes. In the I.M., a swimmer begins with the butterfly, changes to the backstroke after one-fourth of the race, then the breaststroke for another quarter and finally finishes with the freestyle. The I.M. is swum in 200 and 400 metre distances.

Medley Relay

In the medley relay all four strokes are swum by four different swimmers. No swimmer may swim more than one leg of the relay, which is swum in backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle order. The medley relay is 400 metres -or four by 100 metres.

Starts and Turns

Many races are won or lost in starts and turns. In the start, the swimmer is called to the starting position by the starter who visually checks that all swimmers are still. Then, once the starter is satisfied, the race is started by either a gun or electronic tone.

Quick turns are essential to a good race. In all events the swimmer must touch the wall, but in the freestyle and backstroke the swimmer may somersault as he or she reaches the wall, touching only with the feet. In the other two competitive strokes, the swimmer must touch the wall with both hands before executing the turn.


The sprint races (50 and 100 metres) are an all-out burst of speed from start to finish. The slightest mistake can cost precious hundredths of seconds -and the race.

The 200 metre events require the swimmer to have a sense of pace as well as the ability to swim in a controlled speed.

The 400, 800 and 1500 metre freestyle require the swimmer to constantly be aware of where they are in the water and how tired they are becoming. Swimming the first portion of the race at too fast of a pace can sap a swimmers strength and cause a poor finish. Swimming the first portion of the race too slowly can separate the swimmer from the pack and make catching up impossible.

There are two ways to swim a distance race. Swimmers may elect to swim the race evenly (holding the same pace throughout the race) or they may negative split the race. A negative split occurs when the swimmer covers the second half of a race faster than the first half.

Swimming Canada

10 Commandments for Swimming Parents

by Rose Snyder, Managing Director Coaching Division, USOC

Former Director of Club Services, USA Swimming

(adapted from Ed Clendaniel's 10 Commandments for Little League Parents)

I. Thou shalt not impose thy ambitions on thy child.

Remember that swimming is your child's activity. Improvements and progress occur at different rates for each individual. Don't judge your child's progress based on the performance of other athletes and don't push him based on what you think he should be doing. The nice thing about swimming is every person can strive to do his personal best and benefit from the process of competitive swimming.

II. Thou shalt be supportive no matter what.

There is only one question to ask your child after a practice or a competition - "Did you have fun?" If meets and practices are not fun, your child should not be forced to participate.

III. Thou shalt not coach thy child.

You are involved in one of the few youth sports programs that offers professional coaching. Do not undermine the professional coach by trying to coach your child on the side. Your job is to provide love and support. The coach is responsible for the technical part of the job. You should not offer advice on technique or race strategy. Never pay your child for a performance. This will only serve to confuse your child concerning the reasons to strive for excellence and weaken the swimmer/coach bond.

IV. Thou shalt only have positive things to say at a swimming meet.

You should be encouraging and never criticize your child or the coach. Both of them know when mistakes have been made. Remember “yelling at” is not the same as “cheering for”.

V. Thou shalt acknowledge thy child's fears.

New experiences can be stressful situations. It is totally appropriate for your child to be scared. Don't yell or belittle, just assure your child that the coach would not have suggested the event or meet if your child was not ready. Remember your job is to love and support your child through all of the swimming experience.

VI. Thou shalt not criticize the officials.

Please don't criticize those who are doing the best they can in purely voluntary positions.

VII. Honor thy child's coach.

The bond between coach and swimmer is special. It contributes to your child's success as well as fun. Do not criticize the coach in the presence of your child.

VIII. Thou shalt be loyal and supportive of thy team

It is not wise for parents to take swimmers and to jump from team to team. The water isn't necessarily bluer in another team's pool. Every team has its own internal problems, even teams that build champions. Children who switch from team to team find that it can be a difficult emotional experience. Often swimmers who do switch teams don't do better than they did before they sought the bluer water.

IX. Thy child shalt have goals besides winning.

Most successful swimmers have learned to focus on the process and not the outcome. Giving an honest effort regardless of what the outcome is, is much more important than winning. One Olympian said, "My goal was to set a world record. Well, I did that, but someone else did it too, just a little faster than I did. I achieved my goal and I lost. Does this make me a failure? No, in fact I am very proud of that swim." What a tremendous outlook to carry on through life.

X. Thou shalt not expect thy child to become an Olympian.

There are 250,000 athletes in USA Swimming. There are only 52 spots available for the Olympic Team every four years. Your child's odds of becoming an Olympian are about .0002%.