|Amber is swimming the 100 Butterfly at the 2011 Central Zones Championship.|
In the month of October alone, my husband and I will be spending at least 22 hours at swim meets. Swim meets are long, the stands are often uncomfortable, and it's often hot in the stands...but we love to see our children swim. With three children swimming year-round on a USA swimming club, we go to more than our fair share of swim meets. Over the years we've learned a few things about packing for a swim meet and I'll share them in the following list of Ten Things for Parents to Take to a Swim Meet.
1. Something to do in between races - At a swim meet, you can easily find yourself with chunks of time between your child's events. Swim parents bring lots of different things to entertain themselves at swim meets:
- Suduko books
My personal favorite is my Kindle and other books. My husband likes to play Suduko. We've already pre-ordered the Kindle Fire, so pretty soon, he'll be playing Suduko on it.
2. Pens, a highlighter, and a black Sharpie - You will need a few pens to write down your child's times and placements. You will also need a highlighter to mark your child's races in the heat sheet. Finally, you will need a black Sharpie so that when your child can't find the one he put in his swim bag, you will have one to loan him. Most swimmers write their events on their hand at the beginning of the swim meet with a Sharpie.
3. Information about swim times - Swimmers are usually working towards particular time cuts in particular events. For example, my daughter's big goal right now is Junior National time cuts and my youngest son is working towards BB times. We have found it very helpful to bring the time standards with us to the meets so we know right away if our swimmer has reached a goal time. We bring:
- National Age Group Motivational Times
- Junior National time cuts
- Speedo Champions Series time cuts
- Team records
- List of our children's best times in each event
|Mason is swimming the 100 Free during the Central Zone Championship.|
5. Tylenol - The combination of intense chlorine smells, heat, and loud cheering can lead to headaches. I don't get a headache at every meet but I've had enough of them over the years that I always bring Tylenol.
6. Cash - You will need money for admission, a heat sheet, concessions, and sometimes for parking.
7. Layers of clothing - The temperature poolside can vary tremendously, even during the same swim meet. Temperatures usually run on the hot side, though - even in the middle of winter. Dressing in layers is smart for swim meets.
8. Stadium seat or camping chair - There will not be room at all swim meets for a stadium seat or a camping chair but, for those meets where there is enough room, a bleacher chair or camping chair can make the day a lot more comfortable.
9. Cell phone - Communication is much easier between your swimmer and you if both of you have cell phones. Parents are rarely allowed on deck so it's easiest to communicate via cell phone. Plus, you need to text the grandparents to let them know how their grandchild is doing at the meet!
10. A good attitude REGARDLESS of how your child performs - While most swim parents are very supportive, I have seen quite a bit of bad behavior at swim meets on the part of the parents. Your child needs you to be supportive regarding his or her performance, even if he or she does not perform well. When parents put performance in swimming, or any sport, ahead of their relationship with their children, they are chipping away at the bedrock of trust, love, and security that a parent-child relationship should be based upon. (For more on this topic, please read my article, "Encouraging Our Young Athletes")
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