MEET PREPARATION

Location Tips:
 - There is parking directly outside of the building and the main entrance to the Y is easy-to-see.
 - When entering the building, the front desk will be on your right.  Simply say that you are there for the meet and they can direct you to the locker rooms.  For reference, the locker rooms are located by taking a RIGHT after the front desk and walking to the hallway BEFORE the indoor pool.  There are men’s and women’s locker rooms.
BRING A LOCK IF YOU WANT TO LOCK YOUR PURSE OR BELONGINGS IN A LOCKER.  I always keep a lock in my swim bag since most facilities don’t have the “electronic locks” like Silverlake does.  I usually lock up my purse, dry clothes, a dry towel, and shower products, and then bring my “racing bag” on deck.
 - Please note that this Y actually has 2 pools - indoor and then an outdoor (currently covered by the dome).  Our meet will be taking place UNDER THE DOME!
 - I will camp out a portion of the deck for our team; just walk in and look for me or another one of your team mates and we’ll make camp.  :)  I may be running around getting things set with the meet organizers, warming up myself, etc., so don’t panic if you can’t find me right away.  :)

What to Bring:
 - At least 2 towels (one will always be wet!)
 - Primary racing suit and then a back-up
 - Primary racing cap and then a back-up
 - Primary racing goggles and then a back-up
 - Copy of your registration receipt for the meet
 - USMS card, if you have a copy; if not, you can retrieve it via usms.org on-site, if requested.
 - 2 “outfits” - one t-shirt/warm-up pants or shorts, warm-up jacket/sweatshirt, etc. to wear while on deck during the meet; then a 2nd set of clothing that will stay nice and dry that you can change into after the meet (I keep this 2nd outfit in a locker).
 - GATORADE (or similar) - be sure to bring the full calorie version; you will need to replenish calories
 - Water Bottle
 - Snacks - Ideas include peanut butter crackers/sandwich, protein bar, banana, fuel gels, raisins
 - Bring your phone on-deck with you; I typically take a picture of the heat sheets that are hanging all around the deck so I know when I’m up, etc.  Also great for taking pictures during the meet!  :)  I LOVE listening to music during a meet as well - whatever gets you pumped up!
 - Bring a few $, just in case.
**PACK YOUR BAG TONIGHT!  Yes, this is an afternoon meet, but you don’t want to find you’re missing something right at the last minute.  Pack up tonight and then re-check it tomorrow before you leave.

Warming Up
 - You don’t have to wait for the entire team to arrive to begin your warm-up; feel free to hop into the warm-up pool whenever you’d like.  I do recommend getting in about 500 yards for your initial warm-up.  This can be a mix of an initial 200 swim, then a few 50’s of a drill, a couple lengths of kicking on your back, etc.  If you are swimming stroke or IM, be sure to incorporate some bursts off the wall and a few 25’s of these strokes to get your body thinking of technique.  I do recommend doing a few fast bursts of freestyle as well, to get your blood pumping.
 - Once you feel good, STOP!  Do not tire yourself out during warm-up.
- There may/may not be designated lanes that you can practice your starts; this is dependent upon the size of the meet.  If there is an opportunity, I would definitely start off the blocks 2 or 3 times to ensure goggles will stay on, you’re comfortable with foot placement, and just to get overall race-ready.  You don’t have to sprint the entire 25, just practice a solid break-out and a few fast strokes.
 - FAMILIARIZE yourself with the walls and flags while swimming…take note of how the lanes are numbered, how things look/feel, as they will be different than your usual environment.

During the Meet
 - You do not HAVE to warm back up prior to each event, however, I do recommend jumping in for a couple of laps if you haven’t swum in over 1 1/2 hours.
 - Make sure you keep yourself dry during the meet.  Being cold and wet will not prepare your muscles to work!
 - Stay nourished - have a small snack or a few swigs of Gatorade after your warm-up and between events. 
 - AFTER each event, swim a couple of laps in the warm-up/cool-down pool to get your heart rate down a bit from racing.
 - I will also bring my foam roller, so you all can use it to stretch, roll, massage in-between events.
 - HAVE FUN!!  Maintain a positive attitude.  So, you don’t race your seed time….or you false start…or you miss your turn…IT’S OK!!!!  This is a learning experience, the first meet for a lot of you, and just a chance for you to put your training to use!  :) Don’t get down if you don’t think you raced well; just re-work your race in your mind, work through what you want to improve during practice, and set a goal to improve for the next meet!
 - HEAT SHEETS will be posted around the pool.  
       - WHAT ARE HEAT SHEETS?: As we’ve discussed, events at a meet are swum in heats, usually of 6-8 swimmers at a time.  Swimmers are grouped into heats based up on 
their seeded (entry) times and the heats progress from slowest to fastest.  At this size of a meet, men and women will be grouped together.  NOTE that this has no bearing on how you ultimately place in your events; you will still be scored based upon the time you swim in relation to the other swimmers in your gender and age group.  Heat Sheets tell you in which heat/lane you will be swimming for each of your events.  **It is IMPORTANT to re-check heat sheets before each event, as it is NOT uncommon for them to change as the meet progresses, for a variety of reasons.

Tips for your EVENTS
 - Again, make sure you check the heat sheet prior to each event starting.
- Events will have TOUCHPAD timing, where your finish at the wall stops the clock.  However, there will be timers at the end of each lane as back-up.
 - When at your designated lane, you can ask the timer to verify that you are in the next heat, in the right lane, etc.
    - HOW DOES THE STARTING PROCESS WORK?:  You should be waiting behind the timers in your assigned lane, ready to swim, when the heat BEFORE yours is swimming.  If you are the first heat of an event, then you must be at your lane while the last heat of the previous event is in the water. DO NOT STEP ONTO THE BLOCKS UNTIL YOU HEAR WHISTLES.  When your heat is ready to proceed, the starter will give a series of short blasts on his whistle.  You have just a FEW SECONDS to adjust your cap or goggles before the starter then gives ONE LONG BLAST on his while.  At this LONG BLAST, you must promptly mount the starting block.  The starter will issue the command: “Swimmer, take your marks”, at which point you assume your starting position on the block.  The starting alert will sound shortly thereafter. 
 - Be sure to look at the clock and get your time after your race.  If you don’t get it, it’s ok….results will be posted, it’s just nice to know right away how your race went.  Feel free to congratulate the swimmers next to you!
 - We’ll see how the exit process will work once we get there.  I am sure there will be a ladder to use, if you’d like, but I am not sure if we’ll be using fly-over starts or not.  We’ll check and re-group on the exit process after a race once we get there.

What to do TONIGHT/TOMORROW AM
 - Eat a carb-rich dinner - pasta is always a good choice for swimmers.  :)
 - Drink plenty of water tonight and tomorrow morning!
 - Pack your bag TONIGHT
 - Get a good night’s rest; don’t do anything strenuous tonight or tomorrow AM.
 - Stretch a bit tonight before going to bed and again tomorrow morning when you wake up.
 - Saturday’s breakfast is really up to you and what you can easily digest, but I do recommend a mix of protein and carbs…oatmeal with milk is a good choice, bananas with peanut butter, toast with peanut butter…don’t eat anything you haven’t eaten before.  And NO PEPPERMINT PATTIES!!!  :)

Posted on March 14, 2014 .