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The Purpose of Travel Meets for Swim Teams

Many parents do not understand why coaches want athletes to travel to “away” meets, sometimes including overnight meets. There are several reasons, but one very large performance reason. Let me explain.

The key is to watch what your child does when they attend a local swim meet. The first thing they do, is go and get a… heat sheet… right? And then they scour the heat sheet for their own names and their position relative to their competitors. Because… they know who their competitors are… they see them meet after meet, after meet. And what goes on in our swimmer’s head (let’s call her Betsy) when she does the heat sheet scour…???

“Well, lets see. Suzie’s here, Mary is here, oh my gosh, Sarah is here, I can’t stand that girl… and she always beats me… and here’s Kelly, seeded below me, why would she put in that slow time? She usually beats me, so let’s see, I’ll be… fifth.”

Now, an hour or two later, and our heroine dives in the pool in the 100 free. With brilliant coaching and an even more impressive gene selection from Mom and Dad, she executes a perfect racing dive and streaks to the 25 turn wall, where she turns first, then sneaks a quick peek… “wow! I’m ahead.” Then pushes on towards the fifty wall… amazingly, our Betsy is still on the lead. Now, off the 50 wall, she is so amazed by her own performance she takes a slightly longer look at her no longer-

so-commanding lead, so she can reassure herself that she is still “out there.” By the 75 wall, her lead has shrunk to inches, as the other swimmers realize that the established pecking order is being disrupted and swim harder. Betsy, now wondering exactly what she will say to all these acquaintances of hers once she has beaten them, and “will they still like me anyway?,”

begins to lose focus and slide back into her accustomed place in the pack. By the end of the race, she has creatively found a way to slide all the way back to 5th. She gets out happy to have led for awhile; she has that to talk about, but is happier that the natural order of finish in the kingdom of pre-adolescent girls has not been disrupted. In other words, she is comfortable once again.

Mom and Dad say, dang, if only she was getting a little better coaching, she’d be beating all those girls. Coach says, doggone, with all those sprint genes from mom and dad, it’s hard to get her to finish a race big.

And Betsy says “that wasn’t so bad, sort of fun, really. Now, where is Suzie, I really ought to go congratulate her.”

Now, after some of this, the smart coach will say to the parent group, “parent group, it is time to go to an out-of-town meet.”

“A what?”

“A meet out-of-town. You know, we get a bus, the kids all travel together, and we go as a team to another area and swim in a meet.”

“Isn’t that expensive?”

“Well, it will be about $20 a child for the bus, another $25 a child for Saturday night in a hotel, and maybe $50 for food, so all in all, just about a hundred dollars.”

“A hundred dollars! Heck, Betsy can’t beat the other girls here in our local area, what does she

need to go to a meet like that for?”

Now the coach needs to know the answer… and here it is…

When Betsy swims against people she knows, she has pre-ordained expectations. And she finds ways to make those expectations come true. What she needs, is a chance for a breakthrough performance, to let her believe some new things about herself. So how does a travel meet do that?

Betsy reads the heat sheet… “yup, here I am, Betsy Worangle, 100 free, at 57.89, just a little slower than my best time… yep, I’m in here.” And then what?

She doesn’t know another name in the program. She has no idea where she fits in. So she does what? She just goes out and swims as fast as she can… no pre-conceived notions to live up to…just swim fast. Lo and behold, 56.44, 2nd place.

56.44 would have won at home. But Betsy could not get that out of herself when she had social and athletic expectations to live down to in the meet at home. On the road, she can just “go for it.” And she does. The tremendous advantages of swimming where you don’t know anyone.

** American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA)

Additional Resources




Coaches and chaperones are flying on the following itinerary:

Date Flight Number Details
Thurs, Jan 12 526 Depart from SMF @12:55PM

Arrive at SEA at 2:45PM

Travel Time 1hr 55mins

Mon, Jan 16 1286 Depart SEA at 8:10AM

Arrive at SMF at 9:55AM

Travel Time 1hr 45mins

Rides to the airport on Thursday, Jan 12 are your responsibility. If you cannot drop your swimmer off at SMF personally, please make arrangements to carpool or have a family member drop him/her off NO LATER than 11:30 to allow ample time to meet the team and go through security.




If your swimmer is NOT flying in with the team, here is your recommended window for arrival to SEATAC on THURSDAY and departure procedures from SEATAC on MONDAY.

Thursday, January 12

Please plan on arriving at SEATAC between 2:30PM – 5:00PM to catch a ride with the team to the hotel.

Monday, January 16

For those swimmers not flying with the team, we will drop them off at the airport at 7AM for their flight later in the day. The Team will take no responsibility for your swimmer after drop off at SEATAC. Swimmers not traveling with the team will also be responsible for their own transportation home from SMF.



The team will be renting 2 vans to transport coaches, swimmers and  chaperones to and from the Aquatic Center. The team can arrange a third van with costs being split between parents attending the meet.




  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash
  • Personal ID, including a student ID card if you have one
  • Team Shirt
    • Black
    • Grey
    • Green
  • Underwear
  • Pants and/or shorts
  • Socks
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sweaters
  • Jacket
  • T-shirts
  • 2 Towels
  • Pajamas/sleepwear
  • Suits (Bring at least 2 extra suit)
  • Goggles
  • Team Warmups
  • Allergy Medicine:
    • If you use any type of allergy medicine please notify the coach, and chaperone.
    • You must bring any allergy medicine you use. i.e inhaler.




The team will be staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Federal Way, Washington roughly 5 minutes drive from the Aquatics Center. Swimmers will share rooms according to the chart below.

Kylie Morrison Jacob Roa Miles Nguyen Katie Tu
Shona Spikes Ivan Yan Matt Le Rosey Gomes
Bella Gepilano Tony Bilan Ty Erwin Tania Brooks



The team will provide all meals for travelling swimmers .  Breakfast will be served at the Hotel prior to departure for warmups every morning. Lunch and dinner will be eaten at the Aquatic Center back at the hotel except for the team dinner Sunday night to celebrate the completion of the meet.  Healthy snacks and water will be provided by the team at the Aquatic Center as well. This is our meal plan for the meet:

  • The chaperones will provide various snacks/drinks for the swimmers while at the meet everyday.
  • If your child has any allergies please notify Coach Eddie as soon as possible.  



Thursday, Jan 12:

  • Team arrival at hotel ~4:00 PM for check-in
  • Team depaRture for Aquatic Center at 4:45 PM
    • Swimmers traveling on their own, plan on going straight to the aquatic center arriving no later than 5:30.
  • Return to hotel no later than 7:30 PM
  • Team Dinner and meeting at hotel 8:00 PM
  • Lights out 9:00 PM
  • Room Check 10:00 PM


  • 6:30 AM – Wakeup Call
  • 7:00 AM – Breakfast in hotel
  • 7:30 AM – Vans leave for Aquatic Center
  • 8:00 AM – Warmups
  • 9:00 AM – Meet Start
  • 11:30 AM – Lunch at the Aquatic Center
  • ~ 2:00 PM – Return to Hotel  after end of Prelims
  • 3:30 PM – meet in lobby to return for Finals
  • 5:30 – Finals Begin
  • Return to hotel no later then 7:30 PM
  • Team Dinner and meeting at hotel 8:00 PM
  • Lights out 9:00 PM
  • Room Check 10:00 PM


  • 6:00 AM – Wakeup Call
  • 6:30 AM – Breakfast in hotel
  • 7:00 AM – Vans leave for Aquatic Center
  • 7:30 AM – Warm ups
  • 9:00 AM – Meet Start
  • 11:30 AM – Lunch at the Aquatic Center
  • ~ 2:00 PM – Return to Hotel  after end of Prelims
  • 3:30 PM – meet in lobby to return for Finals
  • 5:30 – Finals Begin
  • Return to hotel no later then 7:30 PM
  • Team Dinner and meeting at hotel 8:00 PM
  • Free Time
  • Lights out 9:00 PM
  • Room Check 10:00 PM


  • 6:00 AM – Wakeup Call
  • 6:30 AM – Breakfast in hotel
  • 7:00 AM – Vans leave for Aquatic Center
  • 7:30 AM – Warm ups
  • 9:30 AM – Meet Start
  • 11:30 AM – Lunch at the Aquatic Center
  • ~ 2:00 PM – Return to Hotel  after end of Prelims
  • 3:00 PM – meet in lobby to return for Finals
  • 5:00 – Finals Begin
  • Return to hotel no later then 7:00 PM
  • Meet in hotel lobby at 7:15 to depart for dinner
  • Dinner at Outback Steakhouse 7:30PM
  • Space Needle  9:00 PM
  • Lights out 11:00 PM


  • 5:00 AM – Wakeup Call
  • 5:30 AM – Breakfast
  • 5:45 AM – Meet in Lobby for checkout
  • 6:00 AM – Vans Depart Hotel
  • 7:00 AM – Arrival to Airport
  • 8:10 AM – Departure from SeaTac
  • 9:55 AM – Arrival at SMF


* all times are subject to change based on length of meet and other mitigating circumstances




  1. Only swimmers ages 11 & older can  participate in travel meets . 
  2. All swimmers must abide by the rules for team travel.  No alternate accommodations will be given to anyone at any time.
  3. All swimmers must travel with the team. They may not travel separately with their parents.
  4. No one is permitted to leave the meet before all swimmers have completed their events.
  5. Swimmers must stay with the team at all times.  No one will be given permission to miss a team meal or leave the team hotel (or the pool) for any reason other than the meet or unless there is an emergency situation.
  6. All swimmers must abide by the team rules and travel code of conduct.  Swimmers in violation of any team rules or the travel code of conduct will be issued what the coaching staff deems to be the appropriate punishment.  THIS MAY INCLUDE IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL FROM THE MEET AT THE EXPENSE OF THAT SWIMMER’S PARENTS/GUARDIANS.  YOU ASSUME THIS RISK WHEN AGREEING TO ATTEND TEAM TRAVEL.  
  7. All coaches and chaperones must sign and abide by the travel chaperone guidelines and code of conduct (revised in 2010 or newer to abide by new USA Swimming athlete protection rules and guidelines). 
  8. All swimmers must abide by the team uniform policy at all times.
  9. When traveling with the team all swimmers must wear team warmups.
  10. Swimmers must be current on dues and fees in order to attend team travel meets.
  11. If a swimmer, parent, or guardian is unable or unwilling to abide by ANY of the requirements of or for team travel, the swimmer will not be permitted to attend the meet in any capacity (i.e., you cannot travel on your own to a meet designated team travel and swim as a member of Elk Grove Aquatics Club to avoid Team Travel Requirements).