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How to Help Your Swimmer – A Parent’s Guide



Our swim meets are a party on the pool deck! You will not see our coaches “coaching” at a swim meet; swim meets are a celebration of all the hard work done in practice. Encourage your child to “go for it!” and let’s all create an atmosphere of happy participation for each swimmer.


Swim Team Gear and Equipment

  • In addition to a swimsuit, towel, and goggles, a water bottle is a must for maintaining hydration!
  • For hair longer than chin length, a swim cap is highly recommended for visibility and speed.
  • Fins will be used in practice (to help build strength, flexibility, and speed) and may be purchased at the Front Desk.
  • For outdoor swim teams, fins and a center-mounted swimmer's snorkel are required. Center-mounted swimmer's snorkels help swimmers develop mouth breathing rather than nose breathing, improve body position, and allow swimmers to focus on other aspects of swimming by reducing their need for air.

Time Sheet and Personal Record Keeper

Creating excitement about racing and understanding improvements in swimming can be accomplished by tracking swim times. The form below can be used during the racing season, ribbon books are available for purchase at the front desk, or you can create a ribbon board or wall in your home to track personal best times.


Swim Team Time Sheet


What to Expect at a Start Clinic

Our FREE Start Clinics are a great opportunity to gain experience and improve racing starts! Swimmers learn how to dive from either the side of the pool or the starting block. 

No fees are required for Start Clinics; however, pre-registration is required. Spots are limited and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Register for Start Clinics through your UDIO account. 

Start Clinics are offered year round, once per month for all enrolled swimmers. Start Clinics are held on Saturday afternoons and usually consist of 30 minutes of dive practice and 15 minutes of swim racing.

Start Clinics are not held at Gold Medal Swim School.  You will be notified via email the date and location of upcoming Start Clinics.

Swimmers enrolled in Swim Team 1, Swim Team 2, Swim Team 3, and High School Prep are encouraged to attend Start Clinics. Swimmers enrolled in Summer Swim Team are welcome to attend in June and July.

Parents/guardians are encouraged to stay, watch, and cheer for their swimmer in the grass or spectator areas during Start Clinics. Gold Medal coaches are happy to answer parent/guardian questions before or after Start Clinics but reserve the Start Clinic itself for coaches' instruction.

What to bring: multiple towels, parka or robe, sunscreen and water. While the weather is still warm, swimmers can still get a little chilly when the kids are waiting in line so multiple towels and a parka/robe can help!

What to Expect at a Swim Team Practice

Swim Team practices are based upon our Core Values of Safety, Air Regulation, Relaxation, Body Position, and Propulsion. We believe in fostering a positive learning environment and our coaches focus on the concept of "catching swimmers doing it right.”

Swimmers are expected to attend practices and swim workouts sets with the team while applying the technique they learned. This is a big change from the technique-driven and hands-on approach they were taught while in Learn to Swim lessons. As swimmers begin to "own" their own stroke work and racing technique, parents and coaches should continue to encourage the swimmer to practice what they have learned during every lap. Swim meets are often a reflection of how much technique the swimmer has applied during practice. Coaches are available to provide feedback upon request. 

Higher expectations and intensity are added as distance increases for swimmers. Indoor swim team workouts begin with about 700 yards of swimming and build to 1,000 yards as the students’ progress. Outdoor programs ran from 1,500-3,000 yard workouts.  Swimmers interested in moving quickly through the program and swimming on the club team should also attend Olympic Development and schedule quarterly goal-setting meetings with their coach. 

What to Expect at Swim Meets


Below are guidelines for swim meets. Please support the Gold Medal Swim School's goal for all swim meets: Fall in love with racing…."Racing is fun!" 


Swim Meets require a pre-registration of $20 per swimmer. All families can register in advance for the Swim Meet through their UDIO customer account. 


Swimmers 8 years old and younger swim 25 yards (1 lap). 8 and under start off the side of the pool and not the blocks. Swimmers 9 years old and older swim 50 yards (2 laps) and have the option of starting off the blocks. All swimmers are signed up to swim all four strokes (Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle) but participating in even one is great!


Racing is organized by age groups, gender, and stroke. Each race is called an "event" which are ordered and numbered. Each event will have a series of "heats" (races) within each event. Heats will have 8-10 swimmers in each, which are seeded (organized) by swimmer's times (slowest to fastest). Ribbons will be awarded for the 1st through 8th place of each heat. Medals are awarded at the end of the season championship for 1st-8th place of the EVENT (not the heat). 

Races are organized by time but if a swimmer is new and doesn't not have entry times, they may have a  more random placement. Watch the "Swim Life" video below to learn how to read and understand a heat sheet:

Team Spirit

Swimmers are expected to participate in meets as a team. Cheering for each other is highly encouraged. Team tents will be set up with team gear, tattoos, stickers, water, and Otter Pops. Swimmers are encouraged to sit together at the team tent, cheer each other on, play games, and hang out between events.

Coaches' Responsibilities

Gold Medal coaches stand at the team tent, behind blocks, and at the finish. We do not offer technique tips at swim meets as this is not the time for "corrections" but showing off what the swimmer's have learned. Gold Medal coaches encourage swimmers to be their best and stay positive!


Swimmers' Responsibilities

Find a coach or any Gold Medal coach and say "hello." Get ready to enter the pool for warm-up instructions. "Warm-up" at this age is a VERY loose term. Warm-ups are designed to develop good habits and get some butterflies out. Attend the team meeting, held after the warm-up. 

REPORT to starting block one event prior to your race! 
RACE and do your best! 
RETURN to team tent, get an otter pop, and celebrate! 
CHEER with friends! 
REPEAT again!

All registered swimmers will be given a personalized heat sheet when they arrive at the meet. This will help swimmers (and parents if needed) know when and where to report for their races. A sample personalized heat sheet is displayed below. A personalized heat sheet is provided for your swimmer by Gold Medal Swim School. Swimmers should still learn how to read the meet heat sheet (available here the day before the meet) as they will not be given personalized heat sheets when they move onto club, high school swim, or other teams.  Report to the correct event, heat, and lane. Swimmers should aim for a PR (personal record) time and RACE as fast as possible. Swimmers should hang out between events and play games, cheer for teammates, and relax. Swimmers are responsible to get to the starting area the event prior to their event.

What to Bring to a Swim Meet

Bring something to sit on, such as a folding chair or a blanket. Bring a swim suit, goggles, team shirt, team cap, and towels (one for each event). You may want to bring games, coloring books, toys, or anything else to pass the time. Snacks and water! Bring something healthy and hydrating like fruit or watered-down Gatorade. 


Arrive at the pool at least 15 minutes before the scheduled warm-up time. Arriving early helps swimmers feel less stressed. Parents/Guardians are encouraged to cheer for their swimmers! Help ease anxiety by keeping it light and fun. Limit technique suggestions and encourage swimmers to RACE as fast as they can!!!!!

Give lots of high fives and smiles. Possible questions to ask include, "What did you think of your swim?" "Are you proud of your effort?" Help your swimmer return to the team area and relax, play with friends, and grab an Otter Pop! Take a moment to celebrate your swimmer. Swim meets are a time to shine and show off all the hard work they have put in during practice.

While the coaches are always ready and willing to help, they are not responsible to ensure swimmers are ready and in the correct place for they race. 

If you have questions or comments about your swimmers meet or practice performance, we would love to hear from you. Please contact the Swim Team Department Leader.


Heat Sheet