How to Read Swim Meet Heat Sheets & Psych Sheets

488778655_e864bd090b_nToday I’d like to discuss heat sheets and psych sheets.  As with all new things they can be a little confusing at first, but used properly they will help guide you through your day at a big swim meet.  These handy little meet programs are typically sold at the door for a few dollars.  Some teams have taken to posting them on-line which makes things exceptionally convenient.  There is also a free app for smart phones called “Meet Mobile” which many meets now use which gives you most of the info about your kids swims including seed times, results, and placement.  More on that in an upcoming entry.

Heat sheets are used in a lot of YMCA, Rec, and high school meets.  Any meet that is pre-seeded usually have heat sheets. These give you the order of events, list out the names of the participants in each event, and divides them into heats and lanes. So with a heat sheet you can find your child’s name and know exactly when they will swim and in which lane they will be in for each event.  You can also see how they stack up against the competition by looking at the seed times.

How to read a Heat sheet:

Sample heat sheet entry:

Event 1 Girls 8 & Under 25 Yard Freestyle

Lane   Name               Age  Team        Seed Time
Heat 1 of 3 Finals

1  Brady, Evan R           6 VFYT-LE          55.62
2  Rielly, Victoria E      8 CFYN-LE         29.21
3  Badget, Zoey L           7 CFYN-LE         28.00
4  Forester, Sofia B        7 CFYN-LE         27.80
5  Daniels, Aurora L       8 VFYT-LE          27.99
6  West, Miranda            8 GYB-LE            28.03
7  Smith, Alyssa M          6 CFYN-LE          40.40

Heat 2 of 3 Finals

1 Fields, Olivia A             7 CFYN-LE          26.15
2 Caswell, Rylie J           8 CFYN-LE          26.00
3 Adams, Maria N          7 CFYN-LE          25.00
4 Becks, Deryn M           8 VFYT-LE          22.28
5 Ward, Sarah                 7 VFYT-LE         22.28
6 Chad, Lindsey              7 GYB-LE          25.28
7 Kosar, Ava R                6 VFYT-LE         26.15
8 Frank, Grace V           8 CFYN-LE        27.15
Here is a color coded version with explanation below about what each element is.

Event 1 Girls 8 & Under 25 Yard Freestyle

Lane   Name               Age  Team        Seed Time
Heat 1 of 3 Finals

 Bradly, Evan R            6 VFYT-LE          55.62
2  Rielly, Victoria E        8 CFYN-LE         29.21
 Badget, Zoey L            CFYN-LE         28.00
4  Forester, Sofia B         7 CFYN-LE         27.80
5  Daniels, Aurora L       8 VFYT-LE          27.99
 West, Miranda            8 GYB-LE            28.03
 Smith, Alyssa M          6 CFYN-LE          40.40

Heat 2 of 3 Finals

1 Fields, Olivia A           7 CFYN-LE          26.15
2 Caswell, Rylie J          8 CFYN-LE          26.00
Adams, Maria N         7 CFYN-LE          25.00
4 Becks, Deryn M          8 VFYT-LE          22.28
5 Ward, Sarah                7 VFYT-LE         22.28
6 Chad, Lindsey             7 GYB-LE          25.28
Kosar, Ava R               6 VFYT-LE         26.15
8 Frank, Grace V           8 CFYN-LE        NT


Event 1 Girls 8 & Under 25 Yard Freestyle: This tells you the event number and what they will be swimming for that event.  In this case it is event number 1, and in this event the 8 & under girls will be swimming the 25 yard Freestyle.  This is typed in bold, and everything under it will be part of that event until you see another event in bold print.

Heat 1 of 3 Finals: This tells you which heat it is.  At big meets you can’t fit everyone swimming an event into the lanes available, so they have to take turns.  So heat 1 is the first group that will swim this event.  This also tells you how many heats there are, in this case there are 3 total heats of this event.  The “Finals” part of it means that the fastest kid wins.  At some meets there are preliminaries and finals, where kids swim first in prelims, then the top swimmers swim again in finals for placement.

Lane Number:  The number to the left of the name tells you which lane your child14348895556_9e8ce68ac6_n will be in during their heat.  How do you know which lane is which?  At some pools it is clearly marked on the blocks, flags, or elsewhere, at other pools it is not clearly numbered.  The rules say that lane 1 is always supposed to be closest to the starter…but that is hard to see sometimes….so here is the trick…Envision yourself standing behind the blocks looking at the pool, whichever block is farthest to the right is almost always lane number 1.  (That’s not true 100% of the time, but almost all competitive pools are set up this way).

 Name: Name of the swimmer

Age  :This is the swimmers age as far as the meet is concerned.  This maybe different than your child’s actual age.  It depends on what the official “age up date” for that meet or swim league is.

Team:  This is the team abbreviation, each team has a unique abbreviation.  You can find usually find a key to the abbreviations at the front of the heatsheet.  The LE you see over and over again refers to what league the swimmer is in.

Seed Time: Seed time refers to the fastest time the swimmer has ever swum this event in the past.  Sometimes you’ll see a “NT” here which stands for “no time” because your current team has no record of the swimmer ever swimming the event before.   You may also see an “X” here next to the seed time, especially at dual meets.  This means the swimmer is swimming exhibition.  They can’t score, but their time will be recorded.  Some meets only allow you to enter a certain number of swimmers to be eligible to score.  With exhibition events the kids still get to swim even if they can’t score.  Seed times are important for a lot of reason, but most importantly it is ever swimmer’s goal to try to beat this time during each of their swims.  If you beat your seed it is a good day regardless of where you place!

What is a Psych Sheet?

Psych Sheets are read in a very similar way, except they do not have heat and lane assignments.  Instead you’ll see each event listed with a list of swimmers ordered by seed time, fastest to slowest.   These are are used in most USA meets, and any other meet that are deck seeded.  Deck seeded meets are where officials will wait  for everyone to sign-in before they will assign heat and lanes.  Once they seed the events they’ll usually post the heat and lane assignments on a wall and hand them out to coaches.   The advantage of deck seeding is that you don’t waste time having open lanes from absent swimmers.  However, you won’t know your swimmer’s heat and lane assignments until shortly before they swim.

Follow me on Twitter @Swim_Team_101
Like me on Facebook

Leave a Reply