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Dragon Keeper/Ready Bench Information And Helpful Tips

Dragon Keeper & Ready Bench Information And Helpful Tips

General Information

What are Dragon Keepers? Dragon Keepers are the volunteers who watch over the swimmers during the meet, line the swimmers up in the correct event, heat and lane order and take them to their correct positions behind the blocks. You will be given an updated heat sheet as soon as they are available. Please use this updated heat sheet to line up the swimmers as it may contain changes that have been made after the heat sheets were posted on the website (there are always last minute changes to the heat sheets). Remember to please give this updated Heat Sheet to your 2nd half replacement.

Dragon Keepers (5-6’s): There will be 3 Dragon Keepers for the 5-6’s, so split the duties between you and your partners. In the past it has worked well to have one Dragon Keeper responsible for the girls, one for the boys, and the third is responsible for taking the lined up swimmers to the blocks. Please write the names on the swimmers shoulders with a sharpie if it is not already marked. It is very helpful when you are lining up the swimmers to have the names visible because some of the 5-6’s are very shy and may not feel comfortable talking to you. Also, make sure their caps (if they are wearing a cap) and goggles are on and in place before they are ready to go to the blocks. Swimmers should be escorted to and from the restrooms and you should ask your swimmers sometime during your shift if anyone needs to need go to the restroom. The 5 & 6 swimmers are done at the end of the 1st half, however, occasionally, there is a 5/6 year old that participates in events during the 2nd half. If this is the case, we will let the Dragon Keepers know and will ask the child to sit with the 7/8 group until his/her events are complete.

Dragon Keepers (7-8’s, 9-10’s): There will be 3 Dragon Keepers per age group so split the duties between you and your partners. In the past it has worked well to have one Dragon Keeper responsible for the girls, one for the boys, and the third is responsible for taking the lined up swimmers to the blocks. Please make sure that these swimmers have their caps and goggles before they head to the blocks.

Dragon Keepers (11-12’s, 13 & Up): There will be 3 Dragon Keepers for both groups of swimmers. In the past it has worked well to have two Dragon Keepers responsible for the 11-12’s (one for girls and one for boys) and one for the 13 & Up’s (both girls and boys). The older swimmers are generally self sufficient and do not need to be taken to the blocks, however, you will need to remind them when their events are coming up. You may have a few new swimmers to the team so make sure everyone knows where they are going before they leave you. Other swimmers can help them get to the correct spot.


Helpful Tips

  • Get to know the swimmers: At the beginning of the shift, familiarize yourself with the swimmers and make sure everyone has their events written on their bodies by Event / Heat / Lane so they know what and when they are swimming.
  • Swimmers should stay under the Dragon tents: We have asked all Dragon parents to remind their swimmers to be on good behavior and to stay in their respective age group areas and not walking around the meet. By keeping swimmers in their age group areas, it makes finding and organizing the swimmers much easier. We would like every swimmer to make it to the blocks in time for their events, however, it is not your responsibility to track down missing swimmers
  • Lining up swimmers: there are 2 different ways swimmers can be lined up and taken to the blocks or opposite the blocks (for the relays). The first way is organizing swimmers by heat and then lane.   The second way is to line swimmers up by lane and then heat (shown in the examples that follow). You will need to determine which way makes the most sense to you and your fellow dragon keepers, and stick with that method. Regardless of which method you use, just keep in mind that our goal is to make sure the swimmers make it to their events.
  • Lane Assignments: Keep in mind that the lane assignments for each team are generally the same but do often change from heat to heat. Deerfield swimmers are not assigned to the same lanes for every event or heat. For example, in a meet Deerfield swimmers may for the most part be in lanes 1, 3 and 5 and opposing team in lanes 2, 4 and 6. With that being said, lane assignments do often change from heat to heat. Why? We may not have any swimmers in a heat and it may be all opposing team swimmers. We could also have a swimmer only in lane 3 for heat 1, and then lane 2, 4 and 6 for subsequent heats.  The swimmers are placed in heats and lanes so that the meet is run in the most efficient manner that makes the best use of the pool lanes so always check the heat sheet.

 

  • Heats: Heats are run from slowest (heat 1) to fastest (last heat). If there are 10 swimmers in an event, there would be 2 heats. Heat 1 would have 4 swimmers assigned to lanes, and Heat 2 would have 6 swimmers assigned to lanes. Not every heat will have every lane filled with swimmers. If there are not a full 6 swimmers in a heat, the inner lanes are always filled first as they are considered the fastest lanes.
  • How far in advance do I need to line up swimmers? As a guideline, line swimmers up at least 10 heats in advance, as the time between heats runs very quickly, sometimes as fast as 45-60 seconds. When the second half of the meet starts, the number of heats per event usually gets smaller and the meet progresses much more quickly. You may need to line up swimmers more than 10 heats in advance.

 

 

 


LINING UP SWIMMERS FOR INDIVIDUAL EVENTS BY LANE AND THEN HEAT

All swimmers in events for age groups 12 and under swim 25 meters/yards (one length of the pool) individual events and start at the blocks. Swimmers in events for age groups 13 an up swim 50 meters/yards (two lengths of the pool) individual events and always start and finish at the blocks. Below is an example of a heat sheet and how to line swimmers up for the blocks for individual events. Lining up all swimmers for individual events is the same. For the event below, Deerfield swimmers are in lane 3 for Heat 1 and Lanes 2, 4 and 6 for the remaining heats.

Once the swimmers are lined up by lane, confirm with each swimmer, Event, Heat and Lane. Once confirmed walk the swimmers to the blocks in order and get them to their respective lanes. The ready bench volunteers will be at the blocks double checking that the swimmers are where they need to be.


 

LINING UP SWIMMERS FOR RELAY EVENTS BY LANE AND THEN HEAT

There are 2 relay events in the meets: freestyle and medley relays. The very first events of the meets are the freestyle relays. Swimmers need to be ready and lined up prior to the start of the meet. The medley relays are the very last events of the meet.

Relays 12 & Under: The relays for the 12 & under events are always a total of 100 meters/yards, so each swimmer swims 25 meters/yards (one length of the pool). Swimmer #1 and #3 start at the blocks and #2 and #4 start at the opposite the end of the blocks. Lining up relay swimmers for the 100 meter/yard relay events is the same as individual events except you will take swimmers #2 and #4 to the opposite end of the blocks and remind all swimmers of what stroke they are swimming.

Relays 13 – 18: For the 13 – 18 year old relay events, relays are always 200 meters/yards. Each swimmer swims 50 meters/yards (two lengths of the pool). All swimmers always start and finish at the blocks, just like the individual events for this age group.

FREESTYLE RELAY EVENTS:

Freestyle relays are the very first events of the meet and all swimmers are swimming the Freestyle stroke. It is important to make sure the swimmers are ready and at the blocks before the meet starts. There is normally only heat this event for each gender and age group, so the relays progress very quickly. Please make sure you have relay teams lined up enough in advance to get them to the blocks.

For the Freestyle relay you will want to start lining swimmers up 10-15 minutes before the meet starts. Below is an example of a 100 meter freestyle relay:

 

Once the swimmers are lined up by lane, confirm with each swimmer, event, heat and lane and walk the swimmers to the blocks or opposite the blocks in order and get them to their respective lanes. The ready bench will confirm with each swimmer before they step up to swim.

MEDLEY RELAY EVENTS:

The medley relays are the very last events of the meet and due to several factors sometimes the most difficult to line up. In the medley relay, each swimmer completes a different stroke and the order is always as follows:

Swimmer #1: Backstroke

Swimmer #2: Breaststroke

Swimmer #3: Butterfly

Swimmer #4: Freestyle

Lining swimmers up for the medley relay is the same as for the freestyle relay. However, you need to ensure that each swimmer knows which stroke they are swimming.

Below is an example of a 100 meter Medley relay event:

Once the swimmers are lined up by lane, confirm with each swimmer, event, heat, lane and stroke and walk the swimmers to the blocks or opposite the blocks in order, and get them to their respective lanes. The ready bench will be at the blocks and the ready bench relay opposite the blocks double checking that the swimmers are where they need to be.

 

 

 


Ready Bench & Ready Bench Relay Tips

There are 2-3 ready bench volunteers stationed at the blocks, and 2-3 ready bench relay volunteers stationed at the opposite end of the blocks (during relays only). These volunteers are responsible for making sure that the swimmers make it up to the blocks (ready bench volunteers) and opposite the blocks (ready bench relay volunteers) for their races. Split the lane responsibilities between you and your partners.  

The Dragon Keepers will bring swimmers in event, lane and heat order to you, however, it is important to double check that the swimmers are in the correct order prior to swimmers stepping up for their event.

There are times when a swimmer (Deerfield or opposing team) that is scheduled to swim in a heat, is not present. It is important to make sure that no swimmer swims in the wrong heat in place of another missing swimmer. PLEASE CONFIRM THAT YOU HAVE THE CORRECT SWIMMER FOR THE LANE, EVENT AND HEAT BEFORE THEY STEP UP TO SWIM

Double check the Heat Sheet and keep in mind that the lane assignments are generally the same, however, they do often change from heat to heat. Deerfield swimmers are not assigned to the same lanes for every heat. For example, we may not have any swimmers in a heat. We could also have a swimmer only in lane 3 for heat 1, and then lane 2, 4 and 6 for subsequent heats. Always check the heat sheet.

Included in the Dragon Keeper Information and Helpful Tips (above) are sample snapshots of heat sheets, and instructions on how to line swimmers up for their events by event, lane and heat.

 

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