Open meets - information for parents

Essential information if your child is considering attending an open meet

This page provides a friendly reminder or introduction for swimmers and parents when considering and attending Open Meets, representing Winchester City Penguins. The notes below are not exhaustive and if you have any further queries, please contact your coach or squad representative for support and advice.

Swim Meets are an excellent opportunity for swimmers to enjoy the benefits of their training commitment by competing well, creating social capital, and representing Winchester as positive ambassadors. They increase the opportunity for our swimmers to take ownership of their sport, offer challenges that require resilience and independence whilst also providing the opportunity to support team-mates with their aspirations as well. Fundamentally, while sometimes meets are long and test endurance and patience, they provide a fun, competitive and rewarding environment that allows our swimmers to develop their life skills.

At Winchester our approach is to wholistically develop The person, The Swimmer and The Performer.

Before the day

  • Please consult with your swimmer’s squad coach about which events to enter. You may need to choose events carefully, especially for younger swimmers. Each session is several hours long and children may do two (or sometimes three) events per session. If they are doing one event per session, there will be a lot of waiting around. If they are doing all sessions, it can be a long day and swimmers will need to be prepared for this experience with appropriate hydration, nutrition, dry clothing, and calming activities (such as music to listen to).
  • Please make sure that the Club has your up-to-date contact information and that you have provided information about any medium to long term health conditions (e.g., asthma, epilepsy, severe allergies) that your swimmer has along with a treatment agreement if relevant. Please contact membership administration using our online form to update your family’s information.
  • Please follow your coach’s guidelines on preparing for your racing. In-season meets are ‘process’ meets and will be beneficial for your long-term development, regardless of whether swimmers have recently swam Personal Best times. Discuss the purpose of the meet with your coach beforehand.

On the day

  • Should illness or any unforeseen circumstance prevent your swimmer from attending, please contact the Open Meet team to withdraw your swimmer; for Winchester home meets please use the electronic withdrawal form that is listed under the relevant meet on our open meets page. You can also contact the head coach using the contact us form so everyone is informed.
  • If you have any concerns about your swimmer that may compromise their experience (e.g., child is taking cold medication or is facing an emotional difficulty), please inform the Team manager at the first possible instance on the day.
  • Please ensure your swimmer has plenty of food and water available, appropriately balanced nutritionally to help performance and recovery, and pack plenty of warm clothing and towels.
  • Please keep your phone on and make sure you can be contacted during the session. Even if you are staying in the leisure centre, staff may need to phone you if there is a medical issue or incident needing your attention on poolside.
  • WCPSC staff and volunteers are responsible for your swimmer whilst on poolside only. Here they help and encourage our swimmers to prepare for racing, debrief after racing, and support other team members. Staff and volunteers must stay poolside (or in the Sports Hall) and cannot look for or supervise children around the changing rooms, café area or balcony. Swimmers must check in with a Team Manager if they are going somewhere mid-session or if they are leaving the session.
  • WCPSC staff or volunteers do not supervise breaks between sessions at Open Meets. Children 12 years and younger should be met by a parent (or authorised adult) between sessions. Parents can decide if their swimmer over the age of 12 can be unsupervised during breaks, but please understand that there will be many other swim clubs and members of the public at leisure centres, and WCPSC cannot be held responsible for safeguarding or any accidents that take place during Open Meets.
  • Whilst at Open meets swimmers are representing themselves and Winchester and it is expected that they demonstrate positive behaviours that promote competition. Misbehaving during sessions or breaks may lead to swimmers being asked to leave.
  • Please remind swimmers that they are not to use camera phones poolside or in changing rooms; we are obliged to report all inappropriate use of photography.
  • Finally, we love to hear support from poolside and the balcony, so please show your encouragement in a way that is family friendly and positive for all.

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