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Reading a Heat Sheet

What is a Heat Sheet?

This is the printed listing displayed before and during a meet that tells swimmers what events they will compete in. It also defines the swimmer's lane assignment per event. Lanes are typically assigned based on seed times, with the fastest swimmers in the center of the pool. Events are listed in order usually alternating girls and boys events. We try to post the heat sheets to our website the night before the meet. It is helpful if you can print a copy so that can write your swimmers information on their arm in the morning. It is best if you write their first name on their arm or chest as well as their event, heat and lane number on their arms.  This helps the coaches and the times to make sure the swimmers are where they are supposed to be.  See below on how to read a heat sheet to get this information.

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Sample Individual Event from a Heat Sheet:

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Important Terms:

Event Number: There are 87 events in each meet. We swim the Medley Relay, Short Freestyle (25 and 50), Individual Medley (a 25 yard of each of the 4 strokes), backstroke, breaststroke, Long Freestyle (50 and 100), Fly and Freestyle Relay. For each of those 8 races, we swim 12 events -- one for each age group/gender.

Heat Number: In each of the 87 events, there are HEATS. Each heat has 4-8 swimmers - depending on the size of the pool.

Lane Number: This will tell you which lane your swimmer is scheduled to be in.

Seed time is the fastest time a swimmer or team of swimmers has swum an event prior to the submission of entries for the meet. For individuals, this is the time entered for the swimmer for the event, and is a good goal to try to beat. It also factors into lane placement and heat number.

An “NT” listed for seed time means no seed time has yet been recorded for that swimmer, i.e. that swimmer has not competed in that event, or was disqualified during the event. 

An “INV” listed next to a swimmer's time means they have already qualified for the invitational meet in this event.

Individual Medley(IM) is swum in order: 1) Butterfly, 2) Backstroke, 3) Breaststroke, 4) Freestyle. It’s important for swimmers to know the order, because any other order will result in a “DQ” or disqualification.

Medley Relays are swum in order: 1) Backstroke, 2) Breaststroke, 3) Butterfly, 4) Freestyle. Accordingly, in the relay event below, Aubrey Teffer will swim backstroke, Will Baker the breaststroke, Caden Bradford the butterfly, and Nicholas Jones the freestyle. They will swim in Heat 2, Lane 4.

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Changes to the Heat Sheet will be made the morning of the meet based on swimmers who don't arrive on time or do not attend. We will also "combine" races to speed up the meet. For example, if we have 2 girls swimming Fly in the 15-17 age group and 2 boys -- we will combine them into one heat to save time.

The announcer will say if heats are combined. Please pay attention when it get close to the time your swimmer's event is.

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