10 Things That Make a Swim Meet Great

Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham

It’s that time of year when swimmers are getting ready for the season’s big meets. They’ve worked hard daily to improve their strength, endurance, speed and technique.

For parents who drive to meets to watch for countless hours, what makes some meets stand out from others? Why are some meets more fun?

Here are 10 things that contribute to a great meet for the entire family:


When our children swim fast and get best times, it’s a great meet. Everyone is happy after our kids have worked for months or even years to finally get that cut they’ve been chasing.


The host’s parent volunteers are welcoming, friendly and helpful. They work hard to make the meet experience exceptional.


If the meet is outside, we like shade and a place to sit somewhat close to the pool. Indoors, it’s the air quality that counts.


The snack bar has a variety of healthy delicious choices so you don’t have to leave the meet to find something for your family to eat.


We reconnect with swim parents from other teams like they’re long lost friends. We haven’t seen them for at least a month at another meet.


The meet’s timeline is reasonable. There aren’t thousands of kids swimming in sessions from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.


The meet administrators and officials are knowledgeable and caring. They add to the hospitality of the meet by doing their jobs professionally.


Your kids are happy hanging out with friends. You watch with a smile as they’re playing silly games of cards or charades with their teammates and swimmers they know from other teams.


You stop on the way home for a quick treat or to share a meal with the team. The time together makes the meet experience more fun for kids and parents.


When things don’t go as planned, you’re creating memories. Maybe it’s an hour delay because of lightning. I remember my kids and friends sitting in our SUV singing loudly to the radio as they waited out a storm.

Keep in mind that all meets are good. Through good swims and bad swims, swim meets provide you with stories and memories that last a lifetime.


What do you think makes swim meets great for families?

Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.

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Kent Nelson
3 years ago

I would also add that a GREAT ANNOUNCER can make all the difference in the world!

George G
Reply to  Kent Nelson
2 years ago

Could not agree more. A great announcer can make a huge difference for both the parents and kids.

Dave C
2 years ago

A well run, efficient meet where the timing system works flawlessly…..