Attending a Meet

If you are new to competing in meets/competition then the following information should help you be prepared.

Make sure you read all relevant information sent to you beforehand. You can also visit the host clubs website.

Plan your route, check out what parking is available and if not free make sure you have the correct change, leave plenty of time and know what event(s) you have entered and in which sessions you are swimming in. Please note that when a swimmer is attending a meet, that swimmer must have a parent or guardian in attendance at all times.


Arriving at the Meet

Make sure you allow plenty of time to travel to the meet and to find somewhere to park. If you fail to sign in on time you will not be allowed to enter that session (some meets do not have sign in and in this instance you must let the Coach/Team Manager in attendance know that you have arrived).

On arrival, at the competition venue, swimmers are normally allowed into the changing rooms, swimmers should not loiter, you should get changed and wait on poolside for warm-up, however, swimmers must not be on poolside until a Coach/Team Manager or Official is present, unless a Coach/Team Manager or Official gives permission.

All swimmers should report to the Maxwell Coach/Team Manager on arrival.  The team will be on the poolside and all Maxwell swimmers should sit together.

Most changing rooms have lockers that can be used if you have the correct coin. Please note that large bags are not usually permitted poolside due to lack of space therefore it is a good idea to bring a small drawstring bag to keep the essentials in. (goggles, hat, swimsuit, drink and towel. Spare goggles and hat also recommended)

Spectators including parents must queue to enter and pay their entry fee and programme fee and will not be allowed on poolside at the event at any time.


During the Meet

Remember: You are representing Maxwell Swimming Club to other swimmers, clubs, spectators, coaches and officials. The standard of your behaviour should therefore reflect the standards that the Club expects.

Swimmers should:

  • Follow the instructions of host club volunteers, officials and others.
  • In the changing rooms and the shower areas behave in a quiet, orderly and responsible manner.
  • Respect the property of the pool providers and other swimmers. Responsibility for personal belongings is with the individual concerned, not with the Club (e.g. money,   jewellery, clothing etc.)
  • Support and encourage everyone in your Club.
  • Swimmers should behave in a "sporting" manner at all competitions. Accept winning or defeat gracefully. Do not make excuses for poor performance. Show sportsmanship and a high integrity.
  • Follow the warm-up/race instructions carefully.
  • NO phones on poolside. 

The Coach/Team Manager will have a programme of events and swimmers will be made aware of their event(s) and will advise when to go to the marshalling area. After each race swimmers should talk to the Coach for feedback on their swim – not to their parents/guardians.

If your first competition is a team event i.e. National Arena League, Milton Keynes Junior League (MKJL), swimmers must remain poolside at all times and support their team. Please ensure that you have your food/snacks/drinks poolside with you and your kit including spare hats/goggles (large bags must be placed in lockers).

The swimmers remain the responsibility of the Coach/Team Manager until the end of the session; this includes periods when they are out of the pool i.e. for toilet break, evacuation or exclusion or if they need to leave the poolside in order to go outside to get some fresh air, on all such occasions the swimmer should ask permission from the Team Manager before doing so. It is extremely important the swimmer keeps the Coach/Team Manager informed as failure to do so could result in a swimmer:

  • Missing their event/warm-up     
  • Not receiving pre-race advice from the Lead Coach
  • In the event of an evacuation, the Team Manager not knowing if a swimmer is still inside the venue

Swimmers should also check with the Coach/Team Manager when they think their swims are finished, before leaving the meet.

At the end of the meet, prior to leaving, respect the environment and either place all rubbish in receptacles provided or take it home with you.


Suggested Items to bring

Maxwell polo shirt (a must)/Maxwell hoody/Maxwell Poolside Kit (if you have them).

Swimming gear (it is advisable to have additional swimwear if competing both morning and afternoon so you can change into dry clothes at lunchtime and if changing after warm up).

Maxwell swimming hat (and a spare hat).

Goggles (and a spare set).

Drinks (ideally water), a packed lunch and snacks (fruit etc.)

Pool shoes (trainers that have not been used outside) and poolside clothing (Maxwell Poolside Kit).

Small towel for poolside bag and another for when you are finished the meet.

A small pool bag (large bags/rucksacks are not permitted poolside) to keep your belongings together.  (Personalised Maxwell SC drawstring poolside bag now available)

Something to keep you occupied during long galas (magazine, book, puzzle etc.), not electronic games or consoles or other electronic equipment.  (Water and Electronic items do not mix very well)

Swimmers are responsible for their own belongings. If they have been involved in packing their bags before the meet, it will help them not to forget to bring it all home with them. It is recommended that names be on clothing, footwear and bags.


Information for Parents

When you arrive at a swim competition you will usually be asked for payment to enter and watch the races plus a programme may be charged in addition to the entrance fee.

It is advisable to also to attend a competition with:

  • Provisions for the day - some pools have a good cafeterias, but that can be expensive. Some pools have very limited eating and drinking facilities, so it is advisable to go prepared.
  • You should be prepared for a long wait! Often a session can be between 2 - 3 hours, during which your child may only be in the water for a couple of minutes.

Parents are not permitted in the changing rooms or poolside at swim meets. Parents who are not identified as support volunteers will be asked to vacate poolside areas. Failure to do so could result in your child/club being disqualified from the meet. Only Team Managers and Coaches are permitted poolside.

Photography/videoing is not permitted at Aqua Vale at any time. At other venues you may be allowed to use a camera or video-camera at meets/galas; however you will be expected to declare your intention to carry out any form of photography when you enter the pool and to provide your name and address (this can be found in the competitions meet conditions). This includes using mobile phones/iPod touch/iPad etc. with in-built cameras. This is primarily for child protection as well as Health and Safety reasons.


Supporting your child

Be prepared for your child not to swim their best. Attending competitions is all part of the development process and is there as a learning experience for your child as well as providing opportunities to achieve qualifying times etc.

Supporting your child through a disappointing swim is as important as when they swim well. Obviously any areas of concern should be discussed with your child's coach at the end of a training session and not at the meet/competition.

Speeding tickets are a good thing! Your child may get upset at not achieving a medal, but this means that they are too fast for this level of meet, explain this to them and encourage them to go collect their speeding ticket (usually for Level ¾ meets only)

Recent changes imposed by British Swimming prevent clubs to display reasons for disqualifications.  This does not mean the swimmer will not know why.  It is not always possible for a Coach/Team Manager to check the results posted at a meet so they are reliant on the swimmer informing them. The Coach (swimmer can be present) will then speak with the Referee at the meet.  Parents if you learn that your child has been disqualified before they find out consider your actions. For example: your child maybe preparing for their next race.  Their coach may have given them feedback based on their previous race to support their next event. 

Remember the first and last person your child should speak with before/after their race is their coach. They will provide your child with the strongest ‘mind set’  they need to perform to the best of their ability.


Problems at Galas

Goggles break and hats tear! - Always carry spare goggles and hats as they may be needed at the last minute.

Disqualification - usually occurs if the swimmer does anything illegal e.g. incorrect turns, incorrect kick/arm action, false starts etc. Don't worry; this happens to everyone at some point.

If a problem occurs during a race, such as losing goggles, then it is best to continue swimming the race. However, clearly problems such as asthma attacks may require the swimmer to stop immediately and unless an emergency, the swimmer is expected to stay in the water at the end of their lane, until the race has finished and they are told to leave the pool.

In the event of an evacuation at a pool, the pool must be evacuated according to the centres policy. All members of the group must be aware of the meeting point in advance and must report to the Team Manager at the meeting point. Those swimmers present should remain at the meeting point until released by the Team Manager to a responsible adult or returned to the centre.

Any incidents should be reported to the Team Manager at the first opportunity, these may in turn be required to be reported to the Welfare Officer for recording and action if necessary. The Team Managers/Coaches are duty bound to ensure they are aware of the child protection policy and the procedure required in the event of an incident.