Swim Meet Checklist

Swim Meet Checklist

This probably exists on the internet … but I have to say … I wish I’d had it when I was starting out. I certainly didn’t know to go look for it. I didn’t know what I needed … and it was all so new I was lucky to get my swimmer to the meet … let alone go prepared!

I have come up with a Swim Meet Checklist. This is derived from successes and failures over 9 years of competitive swimming. I’m making it a PDF attachment so you can print it off and use it to your heart’s content.

Swim Meet CheckList

Cash:  Every swim meet needs cash! The worst feeling is walking in and realizing you need to buy a heat sheet, or even pay a gate fee. Typically I take $10-20 per day. If I don’t spend it … I actually have cash!!!

Dark Reflective Goggles:  This is for outdoor meets! So important … especially if your swimmer is swimming the backstroke. It is brutal to swim outdoors in the full sun without them. Protect those eyes!!!

Sunscreen: Again … for outdoor meets. Even if your swimmer is dark-skinned, they need UV protection. Both of my girls just tan and tan … but I still make them wear a good face sunscreen and body sunscreen. There are a million articles about what is the best … I have no idea. I buy it … they put it on … protected!

Team Shirt / Towel / etc.:  It really can’t be emphasized enough how important it is to represent the team! Put on that team shirt … and then remember people are watching. Be a great representative! Golden opportunity to promote the team!

Sweatshirt or Jacket:  Even when the parents are sitting and sweating, the swimmers are wet through and through. The slightest breeze can feel cold, so a sweatshirt or jacket keeps the muscles warm. Sweat pants, warm-up pants, or even pajama pants are also a great idea.

Flip Flops or Slides:  Can we agree together … pool decks and locker rooms … ugh! Bring the flip-flops or slides and use them. Just a really good habit to get into!

Socks or Slippers:  If it is a cold day, keeping socks or slippers on the feet keeps the swimmer warm. Really important consideration. If you are in an indoor swim meet and the swimmers are in air-conditioned rooms, they need them there, too.

Sharpie:  Every swim meet needs a Sharpie! Sharpies are a treasured commodity for swimmers. Use it to write the Event, Heat and Lane … or draw a little artwork … life is a canvas.

Highlighter:  A highlighter lets you find your swimmer’s events on the heat sheet and allows you to go back to it quickly when you need it. It is just invaluable!

Food (Healthy Snacks):  Swimmers expend gobs of energy. Often parents have to remind them to keep eating throughout the swim meet. Food is energy.

Water / Sports Drinks:  If you’ve ever seen a person dehydrated … you don’t want to see it again. Guard against it and keep reminding our swimmers (and ourselves) to drink during the long days of a swim meet.

Extra Towels:  Almost every swim meet needs 2-3 towels. One towel will be wet as soon as the swimmer gets out of early morning warm-up. They will dry off throughout the day. One towel will not get the job done! When it’s time to go home you will be very happy your swimmer has a dry towel to not take sogginess into the car.

Extra Goggles:  Not all swim meets have a vendor at them … and it will be at that swim meet that your swimmer’s goggles break. Just this past weekend my swimmer was getting ready to cheer on a friend and their goggles broke putting them on. She dashed to her stuff and got him hers. Crisis averted, but … seriously … you will need them.

Extra Swim Cap:  Often the coaches will have a stash of extra caps. If a cap is going to tear … it will tear right before a race. That extra cap is one level of insurance for the swimmer.

Emergency Swimsuit:  Swimsuits are fickle at times. Be prepared for a tear or hole. Have a backup. Even just an extra practice suit can make a huge difference if a tech suit tears at a swim meet. That extra is peace of mind.

Shelter:  We have used all sorts of shelters from canopies to tents. All are vital tools for swim meets!

Chairs / Stadium Chairs:  Each venue is different. Some allow deck seating, some have grounds seating and some just have bleachers. Having solutions for each venue is vital for swim meets. Nothing is worse than showing up and not having any seating provided and you didn’t bring a chair. Let me just say … in a venue that has hard metal bleachers … you will be so thankful for stadium chairs! Spend a little more and make sure it has a decent back on it!

Ziploc Bags / Garbage Bags:  This is my little quirk. I like to have a few of these handy. Nothing is worse than garbage around where you’re sitting. Invariably they come in handy! The garbage bags are handy for wet towels at the very least.

Phone Charger:  When you sit from 7:00 am – 2:00 pm, the odds you will wear down your phone battery are VERY high. Thank goodness for cell phones … but a phone charger will be your friend!


If you think of other great ideas … email me. We can all benefit from everyone’s great ideas.


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