How to Sign Up for a Meet

1. Coach Bill will send an email to all swimmers letting them know when the meet entries are expected to open and what events he suggests that swimmers enter based on their age and experience. Meets tend to fill up quickly, so it is a good idea to enter as soon as you can. You'll find nearly all meets on the Pacific Swimming website on the Meets page. You'll also find a link to the "Meet Sheet" which will give you more details about the specific meet.

2. Once a meet is open, there will be a link for Online Entries on the Meets page. Online entries are most often on FastSwims. You need to register your swimmer the first time you sign up. To enter, just click "Enter a Meet" and scroll to find the right one. On the far right, under Action, click on the three bars and choose "Enter".

3. On the entry page, you'll see a list of events (refer to Coach Bill's email to know which to select). Next to each event, you'll see "NT" (that means "no time"). If your swimmer has a time, when you click on NT, it will pre-fill the time. Some events allow NT and others don't. Coach Bill will give you a placeholder time to enter if the meet requires it. Take note that you've selected SCY or LCM. The swimmers swim SCY (Short Course Yards) most of the year. Coach Bill will remind everyone when LCM (Long Course Meters) season begins in April. Select your events, enter the times and press "Submit". 

4. You'll be asked for payment info in the last step.


What to Expect at a Meet

For Swimmers: 

  • Coach Bill will send an email a few days prior to the meet with arrival instructions. Make sure you and your parents read it for important details.
  • Arrive 20-30 minutes prior to warm ups to give yourself enough time to check in and get settled.
  • When you first arrive at a meet, find the Check In table. If you don't see it, just ask any swimmer already at the meet. At Check In, you will be asked to underline and initial the events that you're swimming. There will be a volunteer there to help with this.
  • Find Coach Bill for warm up. He's often under the Montclair Swim Team canopy that's next to the pool. If not, find the white canopies with other MONT swimmers.
  • Once the meet starts, find where they're posting heats and lanes. You'll want to check that frequently to know what your heat and lane is for each event. Once you know, go to the Montclair canopy and tell Coach Bill. Many swimmers like to write their event, heat and lane on their hand with a Sharpie. An older swimmer can show you how.
  • Check in with Coach Bill (at his canopy) before and after each race. He'll give you instructions and feedback.
  • If you're swimming a 25 yard event, you'll usually start at the opposite end of the pool from where you see the timers sitting. Any event 50 yards or longer start from the end where the timers sit.
  • Guppies usually dive from the deck in their first meets and later on, they dive from the blocks. If you're not sure what to do, just ask Coach Bill.
  • Keep warm, stay hydrated and eat healthy food. A healthy swimmer is a fast swimmer!

For Parents:

  • Help your swimmer pack for the meet, including: a warm jacket/parka, flip flops and/or warm booties (depending on the weather), swim cap and goggles (and an extra set if you have them), towels (one per event plus one for warm up), folding chairs, water, healthy food). Some kids like to bring a book or game to keep busy between races. 
  • Meets typically start at 9:00 (warm up is usually at 7:45 or 8:00) and wrap up by 1:30 or 2:00. 
  • Expect to sign up for a volunteer shift for each meet your child attends. The most common job is timing. No experience is necessary and you'll be trained at the meet. (Bonus: the day goes faster when you have a job.) An email will be sent the week before the meet asking for volunteers for timing and to bring our team canopy(ies). 
  • Arrive 20-30 minutes before warm up. Coach Bill's email will tell you when each group should arrive.
  • Make sure your swimmer checks in at the Check In table, and then find Coach Bill.
  • Find the Montclair canopies (they're non-descript and white, but you can spot the blue parkas/caps of the MONT swimmers) and get settled. That's generally where parents and swimmers congregate during the day.
  • Heats and lanes are posted throughout the day. Typically, it is on a wall or a sandwich board. Ask another parent if you don't see them. They're also posted on an app called Meet Mobile at most meets. Help your younger swimmer find the heat and lane for their event and then remind them to go tell Coach Bill their heat and lane.
  • Bring a Sharpie to write your swimmer's event, heat and lane on the back of their hand. An older swimmer or veteran swim team parent can show you how. This is a reference for them in case they forget and will wash off in a few days. 
  • Keep an eye on what event is happening so that you know when your swimmer swims and they get to their lane in plenty of time. Events are numbered sequentially. Odd events are girls. Even events are boys.
  • Help your swimmer to remember to check in with Coach Bill (at his canopy) before and after each race.
  • Many meets have a snack bar, but what is offered varies significantly from meet to meet. We recommend that you bring food and water for your swimmer and don't rely on the snack bar.

A few notes about events, heats, lanes, SCM and LCM if you're new to swimming:

  • For each race your child swims, you and your swimmer will want to keep track of a few things: the event (e.g. 50 yard Freestyle, AKA "50 free"), the event number (even for boys, odd for girls), the heat (events usually have multiple heats), and the lane (typically, there are 8 lanes). Coach Bill reviews this with new swimmers, but it is helpful to know as parents too.
  • Events are seeded fastest to slowest based on the entry times you provide when you register your swimmer. Those without an entry time (NT) will be seeded last.
  • The fastest swimmers swim in the first heat of an event, followed by the next fastest 8 swimmers and so on. So, if your swimmer hasn't been swimming long, they'll likely be in a later heat. There is very little time between heats, so expect it to move quickly.
  • Within a heat, the fastest swimmer is in the middle lane (usually lane 4), the next fastest is next to them (lane 3 then lane 5), etc. The slowest swimmers in the heat are in lanes 1 and 8. 
  • MONT competes in Short Course pools (SCY) from Sept to March, as does the rest of USA Swimming. That means the pool is 25 yards long. From April to July, MONT competes in Long Course pools (LCM). That means the pool is 50 meters long. That's generally the pool size you see in international competition.