Parent FAQs

What should I bring to a meet?

Your swimmer, lawn chairs, sun block, food, a book newspaper or something else to do, warm clothes if cool weather is expected, some money (you will need to pay to get in to the meet and to buy a heat sheet at invitational meets only), concession stands will be open.

What should a swimmer bring to a meet?

A swim-suit, cap, goggles, towels (usually more than one), sun block, warm clothing, something to read or play with, food and drinks, maybe a little money. (See above)

What is a heat sheet?

This is a program of events listing swimmer’s events, heats and lane assignments.

What is an event?

It is the age group, length and stroke being swum.

What is a heat?

It is the placement in the event that a swimmer is assigned. This is usually assigned based on a swimmers time. This allows the swimmers to compete against swimmers of comparable skill levels.

What is an exhibition heat?

It is a heat being where the contestant swims for time and not for score.

What is a live heat?

It is a heat that counts for overall team score.

What is staging?

This is placing the swimmers in a designated area prior to their heat
of competition. This avoids missed swims.

How is a meet scored?

During the live heat points are awarded to the top three finishes. During the relay part of competition only the top finish scores points. These points are tallied for a final team score.

What is a DQ?

It is a disqualification. Swimmers disqualify themselves when they are not swimming a stroke according to USS/league rules. This is not something bad. It is a way to help swimmers improve.

Does my child have to dive off the blocks?

No, if a swimmer is not comfortable going off the blocks he/she may jump or dive from the side of pool along side the block – subject to forward start rules.

What length does my child swim in a meet?

The 8 and under and 10 and under swimmers swim one length (25 meters). All other age group swimmers swim 2 lengths (50 meters).

What is a flip turn?

It is a type of turn performed at the end of the first length of a multi-length event.

What makes a pool fast?

A “fast” pool has a good gutter system on the sides that allows water to flow out easily and does not allow waves to bounce back toward the middle of the pool. The lanelines also help control the waves, and the deeper the pool is, the fewer waves hit the bottom and bounce back up toward the surface. The inflatable kiddie pool in your backyard is not a fast pool.

I’m a new swimmer. What are some of those terms you’re using?

Freestyle: usually used synonymously with crawl stroke. A freestyle race is a race in which contestants may use any stroke to complete the distance. Because crawl stroke is the fastest, it is always used during freestyle races

Lap: a lap is either one or two lengths of the pool. Whether it is commonly used to designate one or two lengths can vary from area to area and even pool to pool. It’s usually easier to describe a distance in yards/meters

If one team is larger than the other is any handicap given?

No – teams are limited only by the number of “live” heats each swimmer can swim. It is therefore possible that much smaller teams will in fact have just as many swimmers in a meet that can earn points as the larger team. See next question.

Do we have to have a certain amount of entrants or is there a limit?

Each swimmer may swim a maximum of three events per meet which effectively limits the maximum opportunities that each team can score points. There is no minimum number of entries – it is in the team’s best interest to field swimmers in as many live heats as possible. It is therefore part of the team strategy to “age up” strong younger swimmers occasionally to bolster an age group with fewer numbers.

Confused about times?

Most indoor pools are 25 yards and most outdoor pools are 25 meters – which is a bit longer than 25 yards. The first time your swimmer competes in a meet outdoors, it may seem that he/she is adding time. This may not be the case. A good rule of thumb is to add 2 seconds to the 25 yard time to get the meter time.

Important rule to keep in mind:


No team personnel/competitor/spectator shall act in an unsportsmanlike manner. This includes any act the referee deems unsportsmanlike, including, but not limited to the following: 

  • Making insulting or derogatory remarks, gestures, or acts
  • Trying to influence or showing disgust with Official’s decisions
  • Interfering with meet Officials in the performance of their duties
  • Interfering with meet Participants

The Lancaster County Summer Swim League disapproves of any form of unsportsmanlike behavior which is intended to embarrass, ridicule or demean others under any circumstances including on the basis of relative ability, race, religion, gender, or national origin. These examples are intended to be illustrative not all inclusive