Meet Manager's Handbook

This manual was developed by the LMSC for NC to assist groups in preparation of a sanctioned or recognized Master's Swimming Meet. It is a central source for listing items that must be considered prior to the meet, including financial responsibilities and official rules that must be followed before, during, and after the meet. There is a significant amount of work involved in hosting a meet, requiring substantial preparation and help from volunteers. The results can be very rewarding, from financial gain for the host group, to the fun generated during the meet. A large variety of swimmers in the LMSC attend these meets, ages nineteen to ninety, novice to world record holders. A well planned and executed meet can be beneficial for the participants and the volunteers.

The meet host owes it to the meet participants to ensure a well run and properly reported competition. The Sanctions Chairman should be aware of the past performance of meet hosts, and call particular attention to any prior deficiencies. Further sanctions may be denied to an organization failing to comply with its obligations.

Please note: The Meet Manager's Handbook was revised in January, 1995. This is a converted to HTML copy for placement on the web site. The appendices have been modified to meet current level of documentation, and most have been scanned and placed on the web site as linked documents to reduce the size of this document. Several minor changes have been made to conform to new wording and USMS rules. - George Simon, webmaster


Planning a meet should begin at least six months prior to the event date. In the process of deciding to host a meet, certain considerations should be taken into account prior to making a request for sanction or recognition. In deciding to host a meet you will want to consider the following:

Meet Director: The person who directs the entire operation must be effective in delegating responsibilities and planning the meet. This person must be chosen early in order to insure that all aspects of the meet planning, operation and wrap up are handled efficiently.

Funds: Costs to consider when hosting a swim meet would include facility and equipment fees, awards, hospitality, postage and printing expenses. You can usually count on an average entry fee of $17 per participant at a two day meet. Thus, if your facility costs $300 a day (including timing system), your awards cost $100, production and mailing cost $175, you will have to generate approximately $600 from your participants (you would need to attract at least 40 swimmers). You may have ways of reducing these costs or getting around them by obtaining cheaper facilities, not using electronic timing, and getting companies, sponsors, or individuals to donate their time, products, and resources. However, at this point, if you do not feel you can adequately generate the funds to cover the cost of a meet, secure acceptable facilities, or recruit competent volunteers, then it is best to forgo hosting the meet or request start up money from the LMSC.

Facilities: In securing a facility you must determine the cost of pool rental, the timing system (and its operators if not included), and any operational costs such as parking attendants, security, etc. The facility you choose to host your meet must have locker rooms to comfortably accommodate the anticipated number of swimmers. It is also necessary to have sufficient deck seating areas for the swimmers and spectators.

Volunteers: Even though you may be able to provide an excellent facility, the meet will not come together without the necessary volunteers working as timers, runners, officials, maintenance, etc. A meet usually requires a staff of about 25-30 volunteers and four officials per day to run smoothly.

Type of Meet: Sanctioned or Recognized:

At a Sanctioned Meet, which this handbook addresses, all swimmers must have a current USMS registration which provides USMS coverage for liability and secondary accident insurance. A Sanctioned Meet is conducted for USMS swimmers only, and is the most frequent type of meet held by USMS organizations.

A Recognized Meet may be conducted by and for organizations other than USMS from which USMS swimmers may have their times accepted for recording purposes by USMS. At the Recognized event, an observer designated by USMS must be present to attest that the conduct of the competition conforms to all relevant USMS rules and meet standards. At a Recognized Meet, swimmers do not have to be USMS registered. USMS does not cover liability insurance for anyone, and secondary accident insurance is in effect only for the registered USMS swimmer. Since Recognized Meets may have more than USMS swimmers in competition, it is the responsibility of the USMS swimmer to notify the LMSC TOPTEN chairperson should they want their times accepted for recording purposes. For Recognized Meets, the general principles of this handbook apply, with the exception of swimmer USMS registration requirements.

After the decision to host a meet has been made, operations can be divided into three segments: meet preparation, meet operation, and meet wrap-up.


Meet preparation requires:

  1. securing a facility,
  2. getting adequate officials,
  3. deciding on the order of events,
  4. preparing the meet entry sheet and entry form,
  5. applying for sanction approval from the LMSC Sanctions Chairperson (the registrar)
  6. obtaining sponsors and volunteers,
  7. handling administrative duties such as mailing the entry forms and meet information, collecting entries, seeding participants, preparing and reproducing heat sheets, preparing event cards.
  8. preparing the facility

Details of the pre-meet preparation are as follows:

  1. Facility:

    This is sometimes the most difficult part of sponsoring a meet, as facilities may be booked well in advance by other organizations. The dates must be firm, and must be within the LMSC for NC rule regarding timing of swim meets: "A sanction will not be issued for any NC Masters Swimming meet that is less than two weeks apart from any other NC sanctioned meet. Established meets shall have priority of dates over new meets. No meet shall be scheduled within two weeks of that time unless the date is released by the sponsor of the established meet." Also, a contract with the facilities operator should include a provision for a lifeguard to be present and on deck during the meet, and a maintenance agreement reached so that the facility is clean and with adequate supplies (i.e., toilet tissue, paper towels, etc.) for participants. Be aware of any hazards (slick deck, faulty showers, etc) and address these concerns with the facility operators prior to securing the facility, and prior to the meet.

  2. Officials:

    The minimum number of officials at a USMS sanctioned or recognized Masters swimming meet shall include (per article 103.1.1 of USMS Rules) those listed below where at least one of the officials must be certified by USA Swimming, YMCA, or any other USMS-approved certifying body and have an understanding of the USMS deviations from the USA Swimming rules book. Additionally, the referee shall not swim in a meet in which he is officiating unless a certified replacement is present during the time of his competition.

    A. One Referee - The referee may also serve as a stroke and turn judge, but shall not server as a starter.
    B. One Starter - The starter may also serve as a stroke and turn judge.
    C. Two Stroke and Turn Judges - at least two people shall perform these duties during competition.

    Timers - Two timers per lane if automatic timing is not being used. one timer per lane if automatic timing is used.

    Section 2) has been modified from the January 1995 Meet Manager's Handbook to conform to current USMS rules

  3. Order of Events:

    Careful consideration should be given to the order of events in a meet, dependent on the meet being a one or two day event. No set format is suggested, however you may refer to the USMS RULES Article 104.5.2 for examples of required National Meet order and combine those schedules for four days of events into a one or two day meet. Things to consider in your selection of order of events are as follows:

  4. Meet Information Sheet and Entry Form:

    Approval of entry forms is part of the sanction process. As much as possible, please have the forms in final format prior to their submission to the LMSC for NC Sanctions Chairperson. The sanction will not be granted until the forms are acceptable.

    Meet Information Sheet:

    The meet information sheet should include the following pertinent information:

    Meet Entry Form:

    The entry form MUST include all of the following:

    "I, the undersigned participant, intending to be legally bound, hereby certify that I am physically fit and have not been otherwise informed by a physician. I acknowledge that I am aware of all the risks inherent in Masters Swimming (training and competition), including possible permanent disability or death, and agree to assume all of those risks. AS A CONDITION OF MY PARTICIPATION IN THE MASTERS SWIMMING PROGRAM OR ANY ACTIVITIES INCIDENT THERETO, I HEREBY WAIVE ANY AND ALL RIGHTS TO CLAIMS FOR LOSS OR DAMAGES, INCLUDING ALL CLAIMS FOR LOSS OR DAMAGES CAUSED BY THE NEGLIGENCE, ACTIVE OR PASSIVE, OF THE FOLLOWING: UNITED STATES MASTERS SWIMMING, INC., THE LOCAL MASTERS SWIMMING COMMITTEES, THE CLUBS, HOST FACILITIES, MEET SPONSORS, MEET COMMITTEES, OR ANY INDIVIDUALS OFFICIATING AT THE MEETS OR SUPERVISING SUCH ACTIVITIES. In addition, I agree to abide by and be governed by the rules of USMS."

  5. Sanction Application:

    The Sanction Chairman is responsible for reviewing your meet information prior to authorizing a sanction. It is very important that the sanction process begin early enough to allow for corrections prior to the granting of the sanction, and notification of your meet to the swimmers. You should contact the LMSC Sanctions Chairman at least twelve weeks prior to your planned meet, and request a sanction application package, which includes a sanction request form, the latest revision of the Meet Manager's Handbook, and other pertinent information.

    After you have completed items 1 thru 4 of the meet preparation, send to the Sanction Chairperson a minimum of 60 days prior to the meet, the completed sanction application, meet information sheet, meet entry form and check for the $100 sanction fee. All but the $20 sanction fee (less any penalties for infractions) will be returned within 30 days upon receipt of the meet results. Failure to adhere to the following conditions could result in up to $80 being retained by the LMSC:

    Once the sanction application is approved, the Sanctions Chairman will mail you the sanction number for your meet. A required mailing list and mailing labels will be sent so that you can send your meet information to them. The mailing labels will be sorted by zip code number so that you may use bulk mail to save on postage costs (Bulk mail, even though it is cheaper, may be delayed in delivery. One team experienced 20 day delivery dates for its meet information.) Under NO circumstances can the LMSC mailing labels be used for anything other than your meet notification, they cannot be sold to anyone for other purposes. The LMSC for NC has generally had a list of 600 people to whom meet information MUST BE mailed.

    Note: For meets hosted by registered LMSC of NC organizations, current policy of the LMSC to assist in insuring mailing of meet information to the registered LMSC members: If your sanction is approved and you send your meet information sheet and meet entry form (both on 8 1/2" x 11" paper) a minimum eight weeks prior to the meet date to the Across the Lanes newsletter editor, Jim Enyart, 2840 Marsh Point Rd SE, Southport, NC 28461-8519 your meet entry will be reproduced and mailed either with the newsletter or separately to the LMSC of NC members without charge to your organization. You are still required to first class mail meet information to each LMSC for NC organization and neighboring state and Dixie Zone representatives.

  6. Sponsors and Volunteers:

    After receiving your sanction number, you will want to formulate a list of volunteers to assist with the following tasks:

    Prior to the meet:

    During the Meet:

  7. Administrative Duties:

    Prior to the meet, many administrative duties must be performed in preparation for the meet. This includes collecting the mailed (or faxed if allowed) meet entries, entering the data into the computer program that provides the seeding, preparing and reproducing the heat sheets, and preparation of the individuals entry cards. Also, blank cards for relays and individual events (if deck seeding is allowed) should be available in sufficient quantities. Registration sheets must be provided for check in, and provision for those persons who have errors on their entries must be made, either handled in advance prior to check-in, or at check-in time.

    In order to clarify a swimmer's registration and club or chapter status, a mailing list of currently registered LMSC for NC swimmers can be made available prior to the meet from the LMSC registrar for the meet director.



    Meets can be club scored, individually scored according to sex, individually scored according to sex and age category, or a combination of the above. The scoring used should be stated in the meet information sent to the swimmer, example for an eight lane pool - Individual 7-5-4-3-2-1 Relays 14-10-8-6-4-2 Score according to the lanes you use.

  8. Facility Preparation:

    It is important to conduct a facility check prior to the meet. There should be clean locker rooms, and drinking water available. For safety standards, see Article 303 of USMS Rules. Air temperature should be maintained 5 degrees above water temperature, which should be 78-81 degrees F. Emergency procedures should be posted for phone emergency numbers, i.e., 911 or other if outside lines must be dialed first.


Efficiency and hospitality are the keys to a successful meet. The Meet Director should be available prior to, during, and after the meet in order to handle any problems. NOTE: The Meet must be run exactly as sanctioned - with no changes in the order of events, scheduled breaks, etc.

Warm-up Safety:

Warm-up safety rules must be practiced prior to and during the meet. Signs which can be placed on the diving blocks to inform swimmers of the rules are included in the appendix. Swimmers must enter the pool feet first in a cautious manner. Diving and back stroke starts shall be permitted only from the blocks in the designated sprint lanes.

In the event of an accident:

Should an accident occur, the USMS provides secondary insurance. The meet director is required to report the accident as soon as possible to the insurance carrier by completing and mailing the Report of Occurrence form (see Appendix E). Appendix E contains the insurance claim form and certificate of insurance. It is important that MULTIPLE COPIES OF THESE FORMS BE AVAILABLE DURING THE MEET.

Activities during the meet:

It is important to keep all electronic tape, cards, and other information from the meet concerning events and times for at least one full year after the meet.


Within 30 days of the meet's completion, the following should be completed:

LMSC for NC Specific Rules ....

Below is a summary of specific rules for swim meets from the by-laws of the LMSC for NC.

  1. Timers in all NC sanctioned meets must be at least twelve years of age.
  2. Sanction will not be issued for any NC Masters Swimming meet, other than novice, less than two weeks apart from any other NC sanctioned meet. Established meets shall have priority of dates over new meets. No meet shall be scheduled within two weeks of that time unless the date is released by the sponsor of the established meet.
  3. Bids for State Championships must be presented at the October meeting of the year prior to the meet for short course and at the January meeting of the same year as the meet for long course. A bid from the host team of the previous year's State Championship shall be in last place.
  4. Every team hosting a meet sanctioned by the LMSC for NC shall send meet results within 30 days of its completion to: All LMSC officers, team representatives and the appropriate Records and Top Ten chairs.
  5. The principal officials (referee, starter and stroke judges) for meets sanctioned by the LMSC for NC will be USA Swimming trained and certified. The referee shall not swim in a meet in which he is officiating unless a certified replacement is present during the time of his competition.
  6. All meet results will be in the generally accepted age-order format, listing, in order, women's, men's and mixed events and include each swimmer's full name (as registered), age, team affiliation, time and a designation of out-of-LMSC, if applicable. The first page will contain the name, location and date of the meet, what type of course and the name, address and telephone number of the meet director. See Appendix D for examples.


Many of the appendices have been copied as an image. Some of the images' resolution are not clear enough to read the details, but are used as examples. Since images are lengthy and take a few seconds to download, they are linked to separate pages, with links back to this document except for appendix g.


See Meet Information Sheet for 1999 Dixie Zone Short Course Championships
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North Carolina Currently uses the Consolidated Entry Form
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Click to see a graphic sample of the Heat Sheet.


Meet Identification:

The following information should be on the first page of the meet results:

Name of Meet
Location and Date of Meet
Length of Pool
Name of Meet Director and address

Format for Results:

Results should be listed in the following order:

Women's individual
Men's Individual
Women's relays
Men's Relays
Mixed Relays

Individual events are listed by age group starting with the youngest group. In each age group, list the events shortest to longest with freestyle first, followed by backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and individual medley. Then start over with the next age group.

Individual events should clearly show the event name and, for each swimmer, the following:

full name (as registered), age, club (or UNAT), time and association code if needed (if the swimmer is registered outside the LMSC for NC, the number of their LMSC which is the first two digits of their USMS number - should be listed in a circle after their time)

Relays are listed from youngest age group to oldest and within groups in the order: 200 free, 400 free (if any), 800 free (if any), 200 medley, 400 medley (if any).

Relay events should show the event name and, for each team, the following:

relay team name (as in; TMS-A, etc.), club, time, association code if needed (see above) and the FULL NAME and age of each relay member in the order of the swim.

Do not include events not swum or swimmers who scratched events.

Send results within 30 days of the meet's completion to the persons listed on the FINAL RESULTS sheet (labels included) when your sanction was approved.

It is required to keep all electronic tape, cards, and other information from the meet concerning events and times for at least one year after the meet.

Appendix D -sample results

Click to see a graphic sample of the Sample Results.


Click to see a graphic sample of the REPORT OF OCCURRENCE.


Click to see a graphic sample of the Sprint Lane Warm Up sign.

Click to see a graphic sample of the General Warm Up Lane sign.


See the LMSC for North Carolina's List of Members, these abbreviations are located at the top of the page in the Member's List
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Updated: March 6, 1999