FAQ for HEAT Parents and Swimmers


Does my child need to be registered with USA swimming to swim with HEAT?

Yes. HEAT is a swim team affiliated with USA Swimming, the national governing body of the sport of swimming. The team registration, which can be found for purchase under the "Team Registration" tab, is $154 per child.  Once registered with the team you will receive a link to register with USA Swimming & Gulf Swimming where you will pay the required $100 fee per child.  The USA registration fee covers swimmer insurance, which is required by the facility.

My child can swim, but has never participated in competitive swimming. Is this a problem?

No, this is not a problem. HEAT offers a swim group specifically for beginner competitive swimmers, which will include preparation for competitive swim meets.

How do I know what training group is the best fit for my child?

Before attending any practice, the prospective swimmer will participate in a tryout supervised by a HEAT coach. After the tryout, the coach will place the swimmer in the group most appropriate to the swimmer's skill level or recommend a different course of action.

How often does my child have to attend practice?

Depends. Our lower level training groups have no practice attendance requirement, as we believe that younger children should participate in plenty of extracurricular activies. However, we do recommend they attend practice at least twice a week. Refer to the "Swim Groups" page for more information.

When it comes to our more advanced groups, we do have practice attendance requirements. We have these in place because we want each swimmer to realize their full potential, and part of that is attending practices regularly.

Is my child required to attend swim meets?

Depends. Similar to the practice question above, our lower level training groups do not have a minimum swim meet requirement. Refer to the "Swim Groups" page for more information.

However, our more advanced groups require a minimum amount of meets attended per season in order to remain in that particular group. Refer to the "Swim Groups" page for more information.

How long is a typical swim season?

Competitive swimming is offered year-round and is split into two seasons: Short Course and Long Course. Short Course meets are held in 25 yard pools, and the season runs from September to early April. Long Course meets occur in 50 meter pools (Olympic sized pools) and the season runs from mid April to early August.

When and where are swim meets held?

Usually one swim meet a month is offered. Sometimes, there will be multiple meets held within a month.

Swim meets can be held all over the greater Houston area. Sometimes, the team will travel to College Station, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio to compete. Occasionally, the team will travel to out of state meets (usually National/Jr. National level meets).

How much does it cost to enter a swim meet?

First, in order to enter the meet, there is a swimmer surcharge which typically costs around $5-10. Then, it costs around $6-10 per individual event if the swimmer enters before the event deadline. If a swimmer wants to register for the meet the day of by "entering on deck", then the fees will be doubled by the meet host.   Meet fees are paid to the meet host and to Gulf swimming.

How long does a typical swim meet last?

One swim meet session will typically last 3-4 hours for older swimmers, some of the 10 and under meets might last 1-2 hours.

Regular in season meets occur usually on both Saturday and Sunday, with a morning session and afternoon session on both days. The morning session is usually (but not always) reserved for swimmers ages 13 and over, with the afternoon session reserved for swimmers 12 years of age and younger.

What does "circle in" mean?

Usually, before a swim meet starts, a swimmer will have to "circle in" for each event they intend on competing in during the session. Typically, each event is printed with every swimmer in the event and each swimmer is expected to physically circle their name on the event paper. Failing to do so will result in the swimmer being scratched from the event. The deadline is typically 45 minutes before the meet session begins.

What is a "heat" at a swim meet?

A "heat" refers to a group of 8 swimmers that will swim in the competition pool for a particular event. 8 swimmers is typically used because nearly all competition pools have 8 lanes.

What does the phrase "heat and lane" mean for my swimmer at a swim meet?

This phrase refers to the particular heat and lane a swimmer is assigned to swim a certain event.


  • "Heat 1, lane 4" or H1L4
    • The swimmer is expected to compete in the first heat of the event and will swim in lane 4 for that particular event.
  • "Heat 3, lane 6" or H3L6
    • The swimmer is expected to compete in the third heat of the event and will swim in lane 6 for that particular event.

What are prelim/final meets and championship meets?

Both of these swim meets are typically more high profile swim meets and usually run sessions from Friday mornings to Sunday evenings (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). 3 total days of competition.

In the morning, there will be a "prelims" session where every swimmer will swim and attempt to qualify into either the top 8, 16, or 24 swimmers in an event. In the event a swimmer qualifies, they will be expected to come back in the evening and swim the same event in the "finals" session for final placement in the meet for that particular event. Typically, due to various factors, swimmers will swim their fastest times in "finals" and it can be very rewarding to compete in "finals".

What is the difference between "A", "B", and "C" finals?

"A" finals contain a heat the top 8 fastest swimmers out of prelims.

"B" finals contain a heat of the 9th-16th fastest swimmers out of prelims.

"C" finals contain a heat of the 17th-24th fastest swimmers out of prelims.