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Swim Meet 101

What is a Meet Line-Up?

Swimmers swim in age categories (8 and Under, 9/10, 11/12, 13/14 & 15 and Up) by basic strokes: Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Butterfly. There are also Individual Medleys, Medley Relays and Free Relays. To the extent possible, coaches will schedule Bonus Heats for swimmers who attend the meet but were not entered into an event. This gives swimmers an additional opportunity to swim and build a time history for a particular stroke.

The South Orange Dolphins have historically registered between 90-120 swimmers. Coaches place swimmers in strokes the swimmer can comfortably swim or in which the swimmer times well. This does not mean a swimmer will continually swim the same stroke, be placed in the stroke they like the best or be scheduled to swim an event in every meet. Assignments may change at the meet itself if swimmers do not show up for meets in which they were scheduled.

Swimmers and parents are strongly encouraged to respect the Coaches’ meet assignments. Please do not ask for changes to the assignments when at the meet. This disrupts the meet and causes confusion not only for the coaching staff but also for the officials, runners, scorers, ribbon writers and, most importantly for the swimmers themselves. Swimmers may be moved or added to events at the Coaches’ discretion or in the event a swimmer fails to attend a meet without notifying the Coach.

Home swimmers swim in even numbered lanes. Visiting swimmers swim in odd numbered lanes.

Event categories are as follows and appear in the order in which they occur at the meet. Bonus heats are scheduled as needed and are posted via email.

Individual Medley (IM)

One swimmer swims each stroke in the following order: Fly, Back, Breast, Free:

*12 and Under Girls IM – One lap each stroke for a 100 IM

*12 and Under Boys IM – One lap each stroke for a 100 IM

*13 and Over Girls IM – One lap each stroke for a 100 IM

*13 and Over Boys IM – One lap each stroke for a 100 IM

Individual Heats

Age/Gender sequence is the same for each stroke

Individual Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly

*8 and Under Girls then Boys

*9/10 Girls followed by Boys – One lap (25 meters)

*11/12 Girls followed by Boys - Two laps (50 meters)

*13/14 Girls followed by Boys - Two laps (50 meters)

*15 and Over Girls followed Boys – Two laps (50 meters) 

*15 and Over Girls followed Boys – Two laps (50 meters) 


There are four swimmers per relay.

Medley Relays

In a Medley Relay, each swimmer swims one stroke in the following order:

Back, Breast, Fly, Free

*12 and Under 100 Medley Relay Girls – One lap each stroke

*12 and Under 100 Medley Relay Boys – One lap each stroke

*13 and Over 200 Medley Relay Co-Ed – Two laps each stroke

Freestyle Relays

In a Freestyle Relay, each swimmer swims freestyle.

*8 and Under 100 Freestyle Relay Co-Ed – One lap each swimmer

*12 and Under 100 Freestyle Relay Girls – One lap each swimmer

*12 and Under 100 Freestyle Relay Boys – One lap each swimmer

* 13 and Over 200 Free Relay Co-Ed – Two laps each swimmer 

Meet Timing

Parent volunteers from the participating teams time each event. Parents from one team will time the swimmers from the opposing team. Some pools are measured in meters and some are measured in yards. One width is either 25 meters or 25 yards. Since 25 meters is slightly longer than 25 yards, times in meters will be longer than times in yards. For a quick, but unofficial, conversion:

Time in Yards x 1.116 = Time in Meters

Time in Meters / 1.116 = Time in Yards

South Orange has a yard pool.

For regular meets, results from a pool measured in yards are not converted for purposes of posting meet results on the web site. For League events, such as the Divisional Meet, times are always posted in meters.

How are meets scored?

Scoring is done at team meets only. Scoring is as follows:

*5 Points – 1st Place Individual Event

*3 Points – 2nd Place Individual Event

*1 Point – 3rd Place Individual Event

*7 Points – 1st Place Relay Event Only

Ribbons are awarded to the top 3 swimmers in a race and to the members of the first place relay team. The swimmer’s age group, stroke/relay event and time are recorded on the back of each ribbon.

*Blue Ribbon – Denotes 1st Place

*Red Ribbon – Denotes 2nd Place

*White Ribbon – Denotes 3rd Place

Ribbons are not awarded to bonus heat participants. 

What is a Divisional Meet?

At the end of the regular meet season each Division holds a Divisional Meet hosted at one of the team’s public pool facilities. Each team has 130 swim spots available for the Divisional Meet. Keep in mind that a swimmer may be asked to compete in more than one spot. The Divisional Meet is not a team meet but an individual event.

To be eligible to swim in the Divisional Meet, a swimmer must attend at least 4 meets during the regular season and swim in a timed, official heat in each of those meets. Bonus heats do not qualify as a timed event. Participation in the Divisional Meet is decided by coaches who consider not only times but practice attendance, meet attendance, and enthusiasm for the sport. Swimmers are notified on their eligibility to swim in the Divisional Meet at practice.

Swimmers must notify the Coach if they are unable to swim in the Divisional Meet in advance.

Medals are awarded to the 1st, 2ndand 3rdplace swimmers for each event. Ribbons are awarded to the 4th, 5thand 6thplace swimmers. Medals are awarded to all members of the 1stplace relay team. Awards for swimmers are prepared by volunteers from participating towns.

What is the Meet of Champions?

After the Divisional Meet, the League holds a Meet of Champions at a team’s public pool facility where the top 12 swimmers/relay teams (and 2 alternates) in each IM, individual event and relay out of all 20 League Teams from the Divisional Meets are chosen to compete. Again, this is an individual event.

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