If your team uses the very popular HyTech Meet Manager and Team Manager software, as almost all teams in our area do, then when you see the events posted for meets you will see a list of swimmers ordered alphabetically by last name with entries that look like the following: (Note that this is the entry report from your own team, not heat sheets or psych sheets).
Swimsalot, Joe – Male – Age: 14 – Ind/Rel: 2 / 2 #4 Boys 13-14 200 Medley Relay (1) 2:04.90 1/4 #30 Boys 13-14 50 Free 26.84 1/4 #50 Boys 13-14 100 Free 59.92 1/4 #84 Boys 13-14 200 Free Relay (3) 1:45.78 1/4
Often coaches will send these out by email, post them on team websites, or tape them to the wall at a meet. To the casual observer this either looks like gibberish, or the plans for some sort of military maneuver. But to the well trained eye of a swimmer/swim parent it tells you exactly how you’ll be spending your day at the meet. Below is a color coded explanation of how to read an entry so you won’t have to be one of the many parents going cross eyed trying to figure it all out.
Swimsalot, Joe – Male – Age: 14 – Ind/Rel: 2 / 2
#4 Boys 13-14 200 Medley Relay (1) 2:04.90 1/4 #30 Boys 13-14 50 Free 26.84 1/4
#50 Boys 13-14 100 Free 59.92 1/4 #84 Boys 13-14 200 Free Relay (3) 1:45.78 1/4
- Ind/Rel: 2 / 2- Individual events & relay event count. This swimmer is swimming 2 Individuals & 2 relays. If it said Ind/Rel:3/1then they’d be swimming 3 individuals & 1 relay
- #4 – The event number (this is important to know because events will be called by number).
- Boys 13-14 200 Medley Relay (1) – The event, if it’s a relay the number in parentheses tells you which swimmer you are in the relay order. In this case Joe went first in the relay. (See below for further explanation on Medley Relays).
- 2:04.90 – Your seed time. This is the fastest time your team has on record for you in this event from past meets. (Every swimmer’s goal is to beat this time!) If you see an N/T in this spot it means “No Time” and you’ve probably not done this event before for your current team. There may also be an X next to your time here. This means you’re swimming exhibition. (See below for further explanation on exhibition events).
- 1/4 – Heat and Lane assignment. First number is your heat, second number is your lane. So in this case the swimmer was in heat 1 lane 4.
In a medley relay each swimmer swims a different stroke. These strokes are always done in the same order: Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly, Freestyle (A trick to remembering the order is that the strokes go alphabetically). So on the meet entries you can tell which stroke your swimmer is doing in the Medley relay by the order they go in. 1st swimmers does backstroke, 2nd does breaststroke, 3rd does butterfly, 4th does freestyle. Note that this is NOT the same as IM (Individual Medley) order. (IM order is Fly, Back, Breast, Free).
Exhibition Events: You tend to see a lot of exhibition events at dual meets (where two teams compete directly against each other), including Rec league meets, YMCA meets, and High School meets (these are sometimes called JV heats in High School). At dual meets usually only the one heat of swimmers can score, all other swimmers are considered exhibition or junior varsity. These swimmers cannot score points for the team even if they swim faster than the swimmers in the scoring or varsity heat. These are still important swims because the coaches will look at these times to help them find a good place for these swimmers in future lineups, and anytime an athlete swims a race, whether they score or not, it’s a great opportunity to learn and develop more as a swimmer.
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Thanks for the 101! What does “L” at the end of the time mean? Long course?
Yes, it might mean Long Course. You’ll often see that in psych sheets or heat sheets when the seed time doesn’t conform to the course being swum in the meet. So if it is a short course yards meet, but your seed time is in Long Course meters then you’ll see an L next to the seed time.
If it is in the results of a meet it could be referring to the time being from a lead off leg of a relay. Lead off legs of relays can often be counted as legal times for records or achieving time standards, so some results will list the lead off leg with the individual swim results.