After talking with teammates and the coach, you have decided to take part in an actual swim meet. First thing to do is make sure that you are registered with USMS (United States Masters Swimming). Next, go to our website/Calender and find a link to the meet you wish to enter. The form is pretty self-explanatory. Enter the maximum amount of events that you can swim. You can always choose to not swim any event at the meet, just don't show for that event. If events you wish to swim are close together, enter a slow seed time for the first one and your best for the second. This will give you more time to recover between races as they are seeded slowest to fastest. When Psych Sheets (a list of those entered) come out , look them over and set your goals for the meet.
Goggles (2 pair), 2 suits,Cap, Sunscreen, Hat, Sunglasses, coat or shirt, foot wear,chair, food (think carbs), liquids, plenty of towels, soap and/or shampoo,
a winning attitude and the ability to enjoy yourself and have fun with friends.
Check-in if necessary. Check the "Heat Sheet" at the pool as it might be different than the one that was sent out earlier.
Find your teammates and set up a spot with your chair out of the sun. Pay attention to the scoreboard as the meet might be moving faster than planned.
Give yourself plenty of time to warm up. Plan to do at least a few hundred yards of warm-up including three or four sprints to get the blood flowing.
When entering the warm-up pool, always enter feet first (no diving). Always swim circles even if you are the only on in the lane. Someone will eventually join you if not many.
Be ready a heat or two ahead of your event by staging behind the timers. Check with the timer to make sure that you are at the proper lane for your race, heat and lane. Relax !
So it's time for your race. You're behind the timer and the heat ahead has just finished. The Referee/starter will give four short blasts of the whistle. This tells you to move behind the blocks. Adjust the starting block to suit you. The next long whistle tells you to step onto the blocks. Get your feet in position. The starter will now say "Swimmers, Take Your Mark". Get in your starting position NOW. Don't move until you hear the "Starting Tone". At the sound of the tone, GO!
You will automatically be swimming faster than should during your first couple of laps because of Adrenalin.
Settle in to your pace and swim the way you have been practicing.
When you are done, either hop out or if you need to use the ladder, wait until the referee gives you permission to move across lanes to the ladder.
Check you time to see how well you did.
After you have completed your race, make your way to the warm-up pool and do a "cool down". Take your time. You want to swim for a while in order to flush out as much lactic acid as possible. The contraction of your muscles at a relaxed pace will help to facilitate this. Swim easily until you feel pretty good.
Go get something to eat if you have enough time. DRINK water. Relax. Enjoy the feeling of getting a PR !!
Take a shower and breath a sigh of relief. You made it!
Go check the meet results, yours and your teammates. Congratulate them and graciously take the their's.
Go out to dinner with your swim buddies and get ready for tomorrow.
Get lots of sleep. Drink plenty of water.