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Swim Meet 101

How do I know what events my child will swim at the meet?

We post meet entries on the website (under the event calendar) a day or two before the meet.

What is a Dual Meet and how long does it last?

A dual meet is a meet between us and one other team. Most of our meets are dual meets and they last for about 3 hours. We schedule dual meets on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings thoughout May, June and July (see the Meet Calendar for the meet schedule). We always have warmups before the meets. If the meet is at Livorna Pool, the warmup starts one hour before the meet start time. If it's an away meet at another pool, our warmup starts a half hour before the meet start time.

What is the difference between a League Meet and a Non-League Meet?

Livorna is a member of the Diablo Community Swim League (DCSL) which consists of eight teams: Las Trampas, Livorna, Scottsdale, Sun Valley, Forest Hills, Rancho San Miguel, Rancho Colorados and Pleasant Hill Aquatics. We swim one Dual Meet or League Meet with each team in the league. Points are scored for each event and our League wins/losses are tallied at the end of the season. We attempt to seed our faster swimmers for the first heats of these meets in order to score points.

Non-League Meets are additional meets we schedule with teams who are not in our League. The roster of teams we swim against can change from year to year. These meets provide additional swim opportunities for all of our swimmers.

What are Time Trials?

Time Trials is the first meet of the season. This event is used to obtain each swimmer’s base time for each stroke. These times are used to seed swimmers for their first meet, and also aid in the calculation of the swimmer improvement throughout the season. In the event a team member misses Time Trials, their first swim time in any event becomes their base time.

What are Invitational Meets?

Invitational meets involve numerous teams as determined by the Host Team. These meets are often two-day activities and offer swimmers the opportunity to choose their race events. Invitational Meet Coordinator(s) will distribute information via e-mail and family folders to include swimmer sign-up forms, fee schedule and due dates. Registration is optional and costs for these events vary. Families are responsible for fees, and meeting registration deadlines. Fees are non-refundable. Each registered family will be assigned and responsible for completing a meet work assignment.

How does the DCSL Championship Meet work?

This is the Championship meet for all 8 teams in our league. The DCSL Championships are historically held the first Saturday of August (or the last Saturday of July, if that is closer to August 1). All or our swimmers are strongly encouraged to participate. Every swimmer will be entered into up to two (2) individual events and there will be only one relay from each team per event. Update for the 2024 season: the DCSL Championships will be a two-day meet. The meet programming and scoring information will be made available to the public soon. 

What is the County Meet?

The Contra Costa County Championship Meet held each August is a two-day event. All participants in individual events must have achieved a county qualifying time which is included in all of our meet entry sheets for each event. Although swimmers may qualify for several events, a swimmer may only participate in two individual events in addition to relays.

What do I bring to the swim meets?

Team Suit, Sun Screen, Sharpie Pen – black, Team cap, 2 Pairs of Goggles, more than one towel, optional shade (umbrella, tent), Parka, Sweats, Blankets, Chairs, Hat, Warm shoes and socks, Food or Money for the snack bar, Water, and a great attitude.

When do I arrive at the meets?

For home meets, arrive 60 minutes prior to the start of the meet. For away meets arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of the meet. Saturday or Sunday meets typically start at 9:00 AM, while Wednesday/Thursday night meets typically start at 6:00 PM, but check the schedule for exact times since it may vary.

How long do swim meets last?

Dual meets (meaning those with two teams) on Wednesdays and Saturdays should last about 3 - 3.5 hours

Invitational Meets: 8 hours per day - Every meet varies depending on the size of each team, so please plan accordingly.

Does my swimmer have to warm up?

Warm ups are not required, but are encouraged. If your child is schedule for the medley relay, they must be at the pool for warm ups or they will be taken out of the relay. Also, the walls and blocks are different at every pool, so warm-ups help the swimmers be prepared.

Why is my swimmer not scheduled for a meet when I didn’t sign out?

We strive to schedule all available swimmers for each meet, but all meets have time constraints which limit our number of swims. Some age groups have more swimmers than others which makes it difficult to schedule everyone. We strive to provide ample swims for all of our swimmers.

What is the order of a Medley Relay (MR)?

Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly, Freestyle

What is the order of an Individual Medley (IM)?

Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Freestyle

How do I know when my 8 & under swims?

Listen for the announcer to call for 8 and unders to get to their lanes (usually when the 11-12s or 13-14s are swimming). It is the parent’s responsibility to get their swimmer to the designated lane in which they are swimming and to check their swimmer in with the lane clerk of that lane. PARENTS please mark your swimmers and get them to the lanes on time!! Parents of 9 and ups also need to get their own swimmers to the blocks or make sure that the swimmer gets themselves to the blocks.

How to mark your swimmer for a swim meet

To help us keep the meet on schedule and ensure your swimmers do not miss their swims, please mark your 6U and 7/8 swimmers. This gives our swimmers, coaches, and lane clerks a "map" of where your swimmer is swimming and their events, heats, and lanes. Please write the following on the back of your swimmer's right shoulder and on their arm with a sharpie. Here's a guide:

Last Name, first letter of first name: Phelps, M

Event Abbreviation (Medley Relay - MR, Free - FR, Breast - BR, Back - BK, Fly - FL, Free Relay - FRR), followed by heat #/ lane# / + for relays, which # swimmer they are):

MR - 2/1 #2 = (Medley Relay, Heat 2, Lane 1, 2nd Swimmer)

FR - 1 / 4 = (Freestyle, Heat 1, Lane 4)

BR - 2/3 = (Breaststroke, Heat 2, Lane 3)

FRR - 1/3 #4 = (Freestyle Relay, Heat 1, lane 3, 4th Swimmer)


How many events can my child swim in a meet?

Each swimmer can swim a maximum of three individual events and two relays, but that does not mean each swimmer will be swimming the maximum events at every meet. Please remember that swimming is a team sport and we do what is best for the team. Our goal is for all swimmers to have an equal opportunity to swim their individual events and improve.

What is the order of events?

  • Medley Relay – Each swimmer swims a different stroke
  • Individual Medley (IM) – Swimmer swims each stroke Fly, Back, Breast, Free (7-18 only)
  • Freestyle
  • Breastroke
  • Backstroke
  • Butterfly
  • Free Relay

What is the order of ages for each event?

Youngest age group to oldest age group

How many laps does my child swim for each event?

8 and under = one lap (25 yards)

9 -14 years = 2 laps (50 yards)

15 – 18 years = 4 laps (100 yards)

7 – 18 years = 100 IM (4 laps, one of each stroke)

Can I just drop of my child at the meet?

NO! There must be always be a legal guardian present or an adult that you designate to be in charge of your child in case of emergency.

Can we leave the meet when my child is done?


How do I know what my child is swimming?

Meet assignments will be posted one day prior to the meet both on bulletin board at the pool and on the website under “meet entries.” Changes do occur so please check meet line ups the day of the meet. The meet sheets will also tell you what heat and lane your swimmer will be in for each event.

Why don't we receive meet line-ups sooner?

It takes a lot of work to put a meet together. We get the line-ups as soon as they are completed. Coaches from both teams have to enter lineups into a computer system, the computer representatives switch data, coaches edit the meet sheet and consolidate the meet, then return the changes to their computer representative, and then email it to the opposing team. At this point, coaches will FINALLY get a copy of the meet line-up... and then it can be sent out to families. Sometimes opposing teams do not send back meet line-ups until the day of the meet. We try our best to get line-ups out ASAP, but it is a complicated process.

If my child misses practice can they still swim in the meet?


Will my child improve at every swim meet?

No. Swimmers are working hard and swimming tired all season. In some meets, swimmers might go their best times while in the next meet they might go slower. This is normal.

If I have a question during the meet, whom do I ask?

Please talk to a one of the Board Members and not the coaches during a meet. The coaches are working. If you don’t know the Board Members, ask around and introduce yourself. They are very interested in getting to know you.

Why don't coaches come talk to the swimmers after each race?

Because we have over 100 swimmers in every meet. If the coaches tracked down each swimmer to talk to them, they would miss more races and not be able to give any feedback. Swimmers need to get in the habit of talking to their coaches after their race.

Why was my child DQ’d and what does it mean?

There are league rules on techniques for each stroke. If your child’s swim violates any of these rules, then their swim is disqualified and their time is not recorded. A DQ provides valuable information that can make a swimmer a better competitor. Your swimmer is encouraged to ask their coach why they got DQed and how to improve next time they swim the event.

How does a swimmer avoid disqualification?

Avoid false starts for all swims. For specific strokes…

Freestyle: Feet must touch wall on turn. No part of the body may touch the bottom of the pool.
Backstroke: Both feet must be entirely in water at start of race. Must stay on back entire race except on flip turn. Once the swimmer turns onto the stomach for the turn the arm and body must be in continuous turning action.
Breaststroke: Head must break surface after each pull before hands turn upward at widest part of the stroke. Hands start backward progression. Both hands must touch at turn and finish. Hands cannot touch one at a time.
Butterfly: Feet must stay together on kick. Two hand touch at turn and finish. Hands cannot touch one at a time. No underwater recovery (breaststroke pull into wall).

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