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Heat Sheet 101

What's A Heat Sheet

Heat Sheets

For those that are beginners to the sport of swimming, Heat Sheets are a bit overwhelming. With that in mind, we want to put you at ease. Reading a heat sheet is not as bad as you think. So... let’s dive in. (pun intended)

First of all, we need to address the question... What is a Heat Sheet?
A heat sheet is the program for a swim meet. It list all the events that are going to be swam. It list the swimmers in each race (or event). It tells us the heat and lane that the swimmer will need to be in for their race (or event).

Did we just throw out too many terms? Let’s define our terms to make it easier to understand.

When we talk about the pool area, we use the term deck. The pool deck is the area that surrounds the actual pool.

The pool itself is divided into lanes. Each lane is designated by a number. Typically lanes 1-6. The lanes are separated by lane lines (floaty ropes connected to each end of the pool).

Let’s talk about events. Events are listed by a #. The official will call for swimmers to line up for “Event # xx”, whatever the event number is. The official name of the event is spelled out beside the number of the event on the heat sheet. Ex. Event #xx boys 9-10 25 yard freestyle.

Next lets talk about heats. Depending on the number of swimmers in an event, an event might have multiple heats. A “heat” is the group of swimmers swimming in the pool at the same time. If there are more swimmers in an event than lanes to swim in, we need to create multiple heats (or groups) for that event. Ex. an event might have 10 swimmers total combined from each team. Only 6 can swim at one time due to only having 6 lanes. 2 heats would need to be swam with 6 in heat 1 and 4 in heat 2 to complete the full event.

OK, now that we have some terms down, let’s move on. Back to the heat sheet...

When you look at a heat sheet, you realize how much info is there. The good news is, the greater part of all that info is only 3 or 4 parts that we really need to know.
The Event #, heat # and the lane# to swim in.

Heat Sheet Sample

Below is a sample heat sheet. In the next section Example we will use event #13 to learn how to read the a heat sheet. Click here to download this sample heat sheet


In the picture above, let’s use Laniyah as our example. (She is highlighted in yellow)
She is swimming in the Event Name “Girls 8 & Under 25 Yard Freestyle
the “event” is #13.
The “heat” is #2
The “lane” is #6

The Event Name gives you the description of the event.

"Girls or Boys / Age Group / Distance to swim / Type of stroke being swam"

One length of the pool is measured as 25 yards (or sometimes 25 meters)

Grids for Swimmers

Now that you know how to read the heat sheet, let’s talk about how to keep your swimmer ready for their events.

This is really easy. Simply draw a grid (like a tic-tac-toe board) on your swimmers arm.

(usually with a sharpie pen) With the 3 numbers that we talked about above, we write those #’s in the grid and ta-da!!!, your swimmer now knows exactly when and where they need to be for their events.

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