Meet Familiarisation

Here are some things to think about if you are going to your first Masters swim meet, or a refresher if
you have not been for a while.

What should I bring?
Bathers, towel, cap, googles, and drink bottle. Depending on the location you may need sun or rain protection. Many clubs will set up a tent or marquee for their swimmers.
You can only wear one swimsuit during your race but it can be handy to have a second back up suit in
case of costume failure or cold wet weather.

Can I test out the pool before racing?
There will be time before the meet to do a warm up. Talk to your coach about what warm up suits
you. Different lanes of the pool should be allocated for different strokes and/or different speeds.
Usually at least one lane will be set aside for practice dives/sprints. If you have not swum at the pool
before it’s a good idea to test the starting blocks and practice some turns.

Will there be programs available?
A program for the meet which includes who is in which event, heat and lane will be emailed to swimmers before the meet. Familiarise yourself with the program so that you don’t miss your event. Write your events on your arm if need be.

Where do I go for my race?
Announcements will be made for what event and heats should go to the marshalling area near the
starting area.

How does a race get started and finished?
Swimmers can start on the block, beside the block, or in the water. For backstroke, all starts are
in the water. False starts are not allowed.
The referee will blow their whistle for swimmers to get on the block (or beside it). For backstroke, the first whistle is to get swimmers in the water, the second to get into the start position.
The Starter will say ’take your marks’ and then activate the stating device – usually a buzzer.
At the end of the race the referee may do 2 short whistles to signal that swimmers should leave the
pool. This should be by the side of the pool to avoid injury, damaging touch pads or obstructing time
At many meets the referee will ask swimmers to stay in the water whilst the next race starts above
them. This is called ‘over the top starts’.

Why are those people looking at me?
Technical officials will be on pool deck to watch swimmers. At major meets swimmers may be
disqualified for infractions. At smaller club meets the officials tend to give warnings about minor
infractions. You can ask about a disqualification if you need to.

Who does the timekeeping?
Most meets with have automatic touchpads at the finish, but it’s important to have people timekeeping as well in case of technical issues. Although there are usually non-swimming volunteers to help out, Masters meets rely on swimmers timing other swimmers. If you have some time between events, please help out. It’s usually as simple as pressing a button at the end of a race, and there’ll be people who can show you what to do.

How do I know what time I did and I did I win?
If the recorder is not too busy then results for each age group usually get posted at the end of each
event. A printed version will be posted in a central location at the pool. Some meets have live results through the Meet Mobile app. Eventually they will appear on the MSA
results portal.

Can I be in a relay?
Your Relay Captain will be responsible for organising any relay teams. Let them know what strokes and distances you would like to do (or can help the team with).

Good luck and have fun!


Officials use only 2 whistle signals – a long whistle (lasting 2-3 secs) at the start of the race and
2 quick whistles at the end of the race.

The long whistle is the signal for you to assume your starting position for the race. It is
not the signal for you to put your cap on – adjust your goggles etc. Do that beforehand.

In Backstroke there are 2 long whistles. The first is the signal for you to enter the water
feet first. You must immediately face the starting platform in your lane. The second long
whistle is your signal to assume the starting position for backstroke.

The 2 quick whistles at the finish of the race is your signal to immediately exit the water.
Don’t exit until you hear the 2 quick whistles.

If you are waiting for your race to start and you hear 2 quick whistles, do not assume your
starting position. Your signal is the long whistle. No other signals apply to you.

In “over the top” starts, the swimmer in the water must move to the side of their lane
and remain in the water until the swimmer in the next race has started. You must
then exit the pool. There will be no signal given to exit the pool.