May 12, 2023

Diving into the Details: How Swimmers can Prepare and Join Swim Competitions

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Joining a swim competition can be quite daunting for new swimmers, but we are here to help you.


Here’s a quick rundown of the basics: Swim competitions involve a variety of events for different distances and strokes, with individual or team entries. Events are usually divided into age groups, with swimmers competing against others of similar age and skill levels. The number of events you can enter depends on the meet – some may only offer one or two, while others may have dozens to choose from. 


Swimmers will be training to prepare for competitions, by taking part in weekly Swim Squad sessions, swimmers will learn about event rules and regulations. Additionally, Swim Squad training sessions with High Performance Sports Club will focus on improving technique and doing drills that simulate competition conditions – this will help build confidence for when it’s time to compete. 


Now, let’s dive into this post for all the insider details on how to prepare and join swim competitions.


How Can My Child Join a Swim Competition?

To join a swimming competition, you must first be registered with a swimming club, such as High Performance Sports Club. The swimming club will then be able to register the swimmer for the competitions they are eligible for. The eligibility of the swimmer will depend on the events. Each competition will have different requirements for what the swimmer needs to do to be able to join. There are also different types of competition levels which we explain in another section.


At High Performance Sports Club, swimmers will prepare for competitions by taking part in weekly training sessions and being part of the Swim Squad. Before a competition, our coaches will practise starts and turns and refresh the rules specific to each event. 


Qualifying Times and Registering for a Competition

When swimmers want to join competitions, they must first meet the qualifying standards in order to be eligible to compete. There are different types of qualifying times, depending on the level and type of event, and for each event the swimmer needs to achieve the specified qualifying time. Qualifying times are recorded at all swim meets or can be done at a time trial. 


High Performance Sports Club organises Time Trials and Swim Competitions for their Squad Swimmers to help them prepare for future swimming competitions and to record official timings to be used to enter future events.

When is My Child Ready to Join a Swim Competition?

When a swim competition is organised, High Performance Sports Club will be invited to the organising committee and receive the qualifying standards for that event. The Swim Coach will then check which swimmers are eligible to join based on the standards. If the swimmer is eligible to join, they will receive an invitation to the event. Parents then let the Coach know if the swimmer is available to participate in that competition. 


If the child is eligible and available to participate in the event, High Performance Sports Club will register the swimmer for the event and send the payment link for the event to the parent. Once the payment is completed, the races are confirmed for the swimmer. 


Different Levels of Competitions and Heats

In order to find the right swimming competition for your child, it is important first to understand that there are different levels of competitions a swimmer can attend. 


For swimmers who are just starting their competition journey, High Performance Sports Club organises their own Club events which are designed for swimmers who have little to no competitive experience. These events are a great introduction for new swimmers who would like to learn how to race. 


Swimmers who are ready for the next step can join Development Swimming Competitions. Typically, these events have low or no entry time requirements for children to enter and are usually for younger age group categories. 


The next Competition level is Swimming Championships which will require qualifying times in order to participate. Usually, older children will be able to participate in these events and in some cases there are preliminary races and finals.


In most swim competitions, there will be “Heats” for each event. A “Heat” is required when there are multiple races for one event, as there are many swimmers who are competing in one event. The winner of the event is decided by the fastest time out of all “Heats”, which means that even if the child wins their race, it does not always mean they win the event. Race results are usually posted quite quickly after an event is completed so you can then compare the swimmer’s timing to all other “Heats”

What to Bring on Competition Day

When your child is ready to start competing, there are a few things you’ll need to bring with you on competition day. Here’s a list of what to bring:

– Sports Swimsuits. Children can bring multiple swimsuits to change into after their race to help keep them dry and warm.  For older children, specific race swimsuits are used which help streamline the swimmer’s body even more. 

-Good fitting goggles and spare ones just in case


-Water bottle 

– Healthy Snacks and drinks for during the meet 

-A change of clothes for after the meet 

-Closed sports shoes and socks to keep their feet warm between events

– Flip flops of Crocs to wear before the race


Swim Competition Day

A typical swim competition day can be long and tiring, but it is important to be prepared mentally and physically. Here are some tips on how swimmers can prepare for a competition day: 

  1. Get a good night’s sleep the night before the meet. It is important to be well-rested so that you can perform your best.
  2. Eat a nutritious breakfast that will give you energy for the day ahead. Avoid sugary foods that will give you a quick boost followed by an energy crash.
  3. Arrive at the pool early and meet up with your Swim Coach. Make sure to arrive at the location on time so that swimmers can prepare their area and get ready for the warm-up.
  4. Warm-up before the races. The club will let you know what time the swimmers should arrive to take part in the warm-up. The warm-up is one of the most important parts of the swim competition and should not be missed. 
  5. Listen for your event and make your way to the Call Room. The “Call Room” is the seating area allocated for swimmers before their race. When the swimmer’s event is coming up, the swimmer will get ready by waiting in the Call Room. Swimmers are divided into their heats and when it is time, they will walk to the pool and stand behind the blocks, ready to race.
  6. When it’s time to race, focus on your own performance and don’t worry about what other swimmers are doing. Stay calm and swim your own race.
  7. After your race, make your way back to your Swim Coach to debrief how the race went. Make sure to get changes if you have a long waiting time until your next event to stay warm.


As a swimmer, the process of joining competitions can be daunting and overwhelming. However, with the right knowledge and preparation, it doesn’t have to feel that way. At High Performance Sports Club we work with our Swim Squad swimmers to prepare them to their best ability for the swimming competitions. Knowing what races you will compete in and being aware of how to prepare for the competition day are all important steps towards success. With this information at hand, we hope that you now have a better understanding of how swimmers join competitions so that you can make an informed decision when it comes time for your own race debut!

Good luck on your swimming journey!


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