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Meet Info

Order of Events

Your meet program can walk you through the order of events of each meet. The order of events is always the same. The record boards on the pool wall also list them in the same order. Depending on the number of swimmers for each event, there can be up to three different heats (Exhibition, Junior Varsity, and Varsity). Varsity events are the only events that are scored.

  1. 200 Yard Medley Relay
  2. 200 Yard Freestyle
  3. 200 Yard Individual Medley
  4. 50 Yard Freestyle
  5. Diving
  6. 100 Yard Butterfly
  7. 100 Yard Freestyle
  8. 500 Yard Freestyle
  9. 200 Yard Freestyle Relay
  10. 100 Yard Backstroke
  11. 100 Yard Breaststroke
  12. 400 Yard Freestyle Relay

Lane assignments are decided upon by the visiting team. One team will swim the odd lanes and the other team will swim the even lanes. Generally speaking, the fastest swimmers will be in lanes three, then four, then two, then five, then one and then six.

Swimming Vocabulary

Anchor- The last swimmer in a relay swims the last leg or anchors the relay.

Breathing out of Turns- Breathing immediately out of a turn is not desired in a swim race. Ideally, the swimmer should turn and complete at least one stroke before coming up for air. This will increase the effectiveness of both the streamline and momentum gained from the turn.

Circle Swimming- During practice, there are multiple swimmers in each lane. So they swim up one side of the lane and back on the other side, or in a circle in their lane. During meets, a swimmer usually swims in the center of the lane.

Course- Distance over which the competition is held or the length of the pool; High school and college swimming is usually conducted in 25 yard pools and Olympic competition is swum in 50 meter pools.

Drafting- Swimming in the wake or behind another swimmer. It has been proven that a swimmer benefits by swimming roughly 10 meters or less behind a leading swimmer. You may sometimes see a distance swimmer closer than normal to a lane line during a race in order to draft off a faster swimmer.

Event- A race in a given stroke and distance.

Fly Overs- The swimmer completing their race stays in the water (at the wall), until the next heat has started. The next swimmer 'flies' over the head of the swimmer still in the water. This does not normally occur in high school swimming.

Heat- A subset for each event. For example, if you have 18 swimmers competing in the 100 fly, in a six lane pool, you will have three heats of this event. In high school swimming, there may be an exhibition heat, a junior varsity heat and a varsity heat of each event.

Leg- The part of a relay event swum by one individual swimmer. The first swimmer would swim the first leg.

Negative Splits- A pacing strategy where the swimmer performs the second half of a race faster than the first half.

One Start Rule- No second chances are allowed for a clean start of the race off the blocks.

R/B 3's or R/B 5's- Applies to freestyle when a swimmer takes three or five strokes and then breathes. Breathing on odd strokes alternates your breathing pattern from side to side improving efficiency and allowing the swimmer to see where they are in relationship to all the swimmers in the race.

Scratch- Swimmer withdraws from an event

Seed- Distribution of swimmers in both heats and lanes according to their times. Usually, the fastest swimmers are in the final heat of an event in the middle lanes.

Split Times- The time(s) recorded within individual sections of a race.

Streamline- Aligning your body to minimize resistance in the water, particularly out of turns and on starts.

Stroke Count- The number of strokes required for a swimmer to swim one length of a pool.

Taper- Training period designed to produce a peak performance by a swimmer in a competition. A taper generally follows a higher-intensity phase and it characterized by more rest and recovery during which a swimmer becomes stronger.

Undulation- Moving your head and hips up and down through the water like a dolphin during the butterfly stroke.

Warm Down- Easy to moderate swimming following an intensive effort or race to rid the body of excess lactic acid and to reduce heart rate and respiration.


Only the top three finishers in relays score, and in individual events, the top five swimmers score.

For individual events, points are awarded as follows: six for first, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one point for fifth place.

Relay points are as follows: eight for first, four for second, and two for third. Just keep tallying up the points, carrying over the total and adding them up.

The final event, the 400 freestyle relay, can be a meet thriller and often can be the deciding event of the meet.

Diving is scored on a scale of 0-10 in 1/2 increments. Each dive has a degree of difficulty. The sum of the judges' scores is multiplied by the degree of difficulty to give a total score for each dive. Diving is an individual event, and the team receives points based on the same scale used for individual events.


In between and during the events, you may cheer loudly, whistle, yell and encourage the swimmers, but remember to be 'Quiet for the Start'.

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