Do I have to do anything as a parent?

In a word - YES!!  Junior Carnivals are a good place for parents to learn about competitive swimming. There are several areas where parents' help is essential:


(Getting the screaming rabble into order). The marshalling area is the area set aside for swimmers to assemble before their race. At the swim meet the marshals job is to organise children into heats for each event. They must also check the name of each swimmer and ensure they are in the correct heat and lane for their race.


A scribe writes each swimmer's name and the race they are doing on a slip to be presented to the time- keepers. The slips will already be printed at a swim meet and often they will be given to the swimmers at marshalling.


Each lane requires 3 time- keepers. (Grab a watch, a lane and click the button at the start of the race and click the button when the swimmer in your lane finishes). All 3 times are recorded on the slip and the middle time is taken as the "official" time. The slip should then be collected by the runner. Some swim meets require "official" time-keepers which means taking a brief training course, followed by a test.


(Or walking if you like!) After each race the "runner" collects the time slips and delivers them to the recorder. Really easy - just walk back and forth.


The recorder must ensure that results from the time slips are correctly entered against a swimmer's name.


At swim meets one or two parents are needed to act as team managers. They are responsible for sending swimmers to marshalling on time. They are also responsible for any communications (scratchings, disqualifications etc.) between the team and the race officials.


There are higher levels of officialdom within swimming. (As with all clubs, the higher the position the harder it is to fill). See a committee member for more information if you want to be involved as an official.

How much does swimming cost?

There are two sorts of fees, both of which need to be paid; firstly to belong to the club and secondly to belong to Swimming New Zealand.    

Swimmers are billed training fees on a monthly basis on top of an annual subscription fee to Wharenui. This is simply for swimmers who do not wish to compete at this stage.  

The second sort of fees are a requirement for competitive swimmers.  Swimmers must pay affiliation fees for both Swimming NZ and Swim Canterbury/West Coast.  

Finally, swimmers are required to pay an entry fee for each swimming meet they enter. The price for this varies and is shown on the meet entry flyers (generally between $3.00-$10.00). 

Swimmers new to swimming can enter non-competitive events at Junior Carnival’s and various other meets.  Swimmers that enter these events do not need to pay the annual affiliation fee with Swimming NZ and generally these races have no entry fee.  They are a great way to introduce kids into the racing environment.

For more info on costs and registration click here.

Is there a uniform?

Yes, there is. Although uniform is not worn for training, it is compulsory for swimmers representing their club at competitions. Please refer to the uniforms for further details.

Where can I purchase the togs and how much do they cost?

There are togs available at the front office both with the Wharenui label and without.  From $35 for Boys and $55 for Girls.  See  here for more info about uniforms. 

Is there any other gear needed?

Goggles and a cap. Also pull-buoys, paddles, fins, kickboard and a drink bottle. There is some communal gear that the club supplies, however it is probably advisable to have your own gear. A mesh bag to carry your gear in is also very handy. Gear can be left tidily in the gear shed.  By the time kids get to Prep squad it is desirable that they have their own gear. 


Swimming Progression

My child has had swimming lessons and wants to continue with swimming. What are the options available?

After Learn-to-Swim the kids progress through Technique (Levels 6, 7 and 8) to the squads (Prep, Intermediate, Development and National Squads).  Progress through each level is done by meeting set criteria of which will be tested at least once a term.  See  swimming progression chart for further details.

Which squad should my child be in?

Your child will be placed in a squad appropriate to their swimming level. Progression through the squads then depends on several factors, as determined by the coaches.  Feel free to discuss with the coach if you think your kid is in the wrong squad, however remember the coach’s decision is final.  If your child is new to Wharenui organise a time at reception to grade them so we can accurately place them in one of our squads.   

Competing at Splash Nights is fun. What next?

A swim meet is the next step if you enjoy competing, attending Junior Carnivals would be the most advisable. You can either enter the meet as a Non-Competitive swimmer which are generally free or take the plunge and register with Swimming New Zealand and become a competitive swimmer.  It is advisable that after two or three non-competitive meets swimmers become competitive.  Being a non-competitive swimmer means that they will get ribbons with their times on it; however their times will not be recorded on the Swimming NZ database.  If you have any questions feel free to talk to your coach.


Swim Meets

How do I enter a meet?

The Events page and the club notice board contain details of upcoming meets and entry closing dates.  Please note that closing dates and times are final, late entries are not generally accepted.

All entries are now to be done online through the Swimming NZ MyPage.  When you are ready to start competing contact Fiona at fiona.wha@slingshot.co.nz and she will set you up with a username, password and instructions on how to access the site.  

MyPage Instuctions


What races should I enter and how many races should I do?

Check with your coach. A general guide is 4-6 races for a one session meet, or 2-3 races per session for a long meet. (Some meets have limitations on the number of events entered).

What actually happens at the meet?

Aim to arrive about 30 minutes before in pool warm-up for stretching. Swimmers should sit with the club to foster team spirit as well as making the manager's job a lot easier.

Parents may be rostered on a duty otherwise they are free to watch the racing (or read the paper, seek out the closest bakery etc.).

Basically it is the same procedure as race night. Managers send swimmers to marshalling, where they are organised into their heats. (Heats are organised according to the swimmer's entry time or "in-time" in swim talk). Swimmers will take their time slips from marshalling to the timekeepers.

Then the race ...

What should the swimmers eat before / during a swim meet?

Before the meet your swimmer needs a good carbohydrate meal that is low in fat. (For example: yoghurt and cereal, cereal and light blue milk, porridge, toast and honey etc.). For comfort this meal should be about 2-3 hours before the race.

During the race meet swimmers should "graze"- eating small amounts of good snack food (such as muesli bars, bakery food and small amounts of jelly beans) regularly throughout the day. It is most important that swimmers remain hydrated throughout the meet.

Click here for nutrition info


Club Processes and Procedures

Is there a constitution?

Yes the club is an incorporated society with a constitution and regulations. These are reviewed each year during the Annual General Meeting. These can be found on the web site under the Club admin menu.

Are there club records and how do I apply for these?

The current club records can be found on this web site under the Results/Records menu.

Are there club policies I should be aware of?

Yes. The constitution and regulations contain a number of policies. Details of the Uniform and Code of Conduct policies can be found under the Club Documents menu.

Definition of some of the swimming terms




The final swimmer in a relay.

Backstroke flags

A line of flags placed over the pool five metres away from each end of the pool to help swimmers locate the wall while doing backstroke.  As swimmers become experienced they will know how many strokes it takes to get from the flags to the beginning of their turn.

Backstroke start

In backstroke and medley relay events, swimmers start the race in the pool, facing the start end, with both hands in contact with the end of the pool or the start of the block and both feet on the wall.

Circle seeding

At some meets (e.g. nationals) circle seeding is used for the fastest 3 heats. This means that

 -the fastest qualifier is in lane 4 of the last heat

-the second fastest is lane 4 of the second to last heat

-the third fastest is lane 4 of the third to last heat

-the remaining swimmers follow the same pattern with the 4th fastest in lane 5 of the last heat, 5th fastest in lane 5 of the second to last heat, 6th fastest in lane 5 of the third to last heat, etc.

Converted times

Because swimmers should gain speed during the execution of a turn, swim times are converted between short and long course using the factors found here. Note these may vary for meets in other countries. We have also developed a tool to assist you to convert times and regularly update the website with swimmers best times and with full details of the swum and converted times.


Division 2 national meet. A single national meet is held in mid-March for swimmers who achieve the qualifying times but who have not achieved a NAGs time. This meet is run in the following age groups 13 & Under, 14 & 15, and 16 & over.


Did not Start. This will appear on the results sheets when a swimmer does not start a race


Did not Finish. This will appear on the results sheets when a swimmer does not complete the race


Disqualified.  The swimmer has broken a rule relating to the start or the stroke swum.  The results sheet will state ‘DQ’ and no time will be recorded for the disqualified swimmer in the event.

Entry Times

Some meets have entry times to qualify. These are the slowest time that is accepted. Note: the converted times are used for these. Also some meets do not allow NT entries. Please speak to your coach if you are in this situation and wish to enter a meet. Times achieved at club race nights can be used as entry times so try and swim in different races & distances to obtain entry times.

False Start

A swimmer starts the race before the starting signal is given and is automatically disqualified.

Fifteen metre mark

Mark on the sides of the pool and on the lane ropes 15m from the ends of the pool.  In all events swimmers must surface at or before these marks.

FINA Points

FINA Point Scoring allows comparisons of results among different events. The FINA Point Scoring assigns point values to swimming performances, the more points the better the performance - World class performances score 1000 or more. FINA calculates the reference base point values every four years based on Olympic Games results. The current base values were calculated from the 2008 Olympics. You can check your FINA points here or use our FINA Points calculator to calculate the time required to achieve a certain number of points


Individual Medley. This is a race where the swimmer must complete all 4 different strokes in a prescribed order (Fly, Back, Breast, Free). These races are run over a variety of distances (generally 100, 200 & 400).


National meet for swimmers 12 and under on the date the meet starts.

Long course

A meet swum in a 50 metre swimming pool.  Contrasts to short course. 


The manager coordinates the swimmers and club officials at the swimming meet. Their duties include ensuring swimmers go to marshalling on time, club officials for the meet (e.g. timekeepers, IOTs, etc.) are in place, ensuring required equipment is brought to the meet (e.g. managers bag, tent, club banner, etc.) and dealing with any administrative issues that arise.


At each meet an area of the pool enclosure is set aside for marshalling swimmers for their races.  The team manager will send swimmers down to marshalling at the correct times and the Marshall will then ensure that they are lined up in the correct order for their races. 


National Age Groups. This is the highest national meet swimmers in the following age groups 13, 14, 15, 16 & 17.


No Time. This means that the swimmer does not have a recorded time for this stroke and distance.


This is a national meet swimmers compete with no age categories. It is generally run in April (sometimes as a trial meet for Commonwealth or Olympic team selection).

Over the top starts

Swimmers remain in the water, close to the wall, during the start of the next heat.


Personal best. This is the fastest time a swimmer has completed that stroke and distance. Note: entry times shown on meet programmes may be converted times. You can view your PB's here. If you notice are errors please advise the club administrator.

Psych Sheet

A printed order of events by session with swimmers listed in order, usually fastest to slowest according to their entry times.  It does not show heats.  Psych sheets can usually be found under the events section a week before the meet.


Swimmers must be registered members of Swimming New Zealand in order to compete in any sanctioned competition.


A swimming event in which four swimmers (usually of the same sex and age group) participate as a relay team, each swimmer swimming an equal distance of the race.  There are two types of relays:

Medley: One swimmer swims backstroke, one breaststroke, one butterfly and one freestyle, in that order (in contrast to an IM).

Freestyle: Each swimmer swims freestyle.


Too withdraw from an event after having declared an intention to participate.  The sooner this is done the better, but may incur a fee.


Swim races are often run as combined age groups (even when the results are sorted into age groups). The swimmers heat will be determined by their entry time with the slowest swimmers in the first heats. Swimmers with NT will always swim in the first heats. Note: In some meets circle seeding is used for the fastest 3 heats.

Short course

A meet swum in a 25 metre swimming pool.

Split time

A time taken at different intervals of a longer race.  The times are then compared to see if the swimmer has paced himself/herself over the entire race.  If the Meet Director agrees in advance, a qualifying time for a short event can sometimes be recorded over the first part of a longer race providing three timekeepers record the split time for the relevant distance


A national swim meet swum in the following age groups 15 & under and 16 & over. This meet starts on the first Sunday of the September school holidays.


Refers to the act of making the body long and narrow (arms/hands together and outstretched, head down between arms, feet together pointed back) in the glide off the blocks and walls. 


A national short course swim meet swum as an open age group. This meet generally starts on 2nd Thursday on December.


In a heats and finals event, a second race may be held after the heats of the scheduled event to break a tie between swimmers, in order to determine which swimmer makes it into the final heat or the order of the reserves.

Timed Finals

Competitions in which only heats are swum and final results are determined by the times swum in the heats.

Touch Pad

An electronic pad on the finish wall of the lane.  The pad is connected to a computer which registers a swimmers time and place in the event.

Warm down

A long slow swim after a race used by the swimmer to rid the body of excess lactic acid.  Important for the prevention of injury. 

Warm up

A period of swimming designed to bring the heart rate up, warm up the muscles and get limber.  This is also a period of being mentally aware of the race to be swum.

XLR8 Points

XLR8 Point Scoring was developed by Swimming NZ to compare swimmers across a number of events. It is also used for selection into training development squads. The XLR8 Point Scoring assigns point values to swimming performances, the more points the better the performance. Swimming NZ calculates the reference base point values based on National Swimming event results. For more information go to the Swimming NZ web site. You can use our XLR8 Points calculator to calculate the time required to achieve a certain number of points.





Automated Officiating Device Operator (AOD Operator)

The official responsible for the setup and operation of the automatic/electronic timing system.

Chief Time Keeper

Manages the time keepers and informs the referee they are ready for the next race. The chief time keeper will normally have two watches - these can be given to time keepers if they have a problem with their watch.


Inspector of Turns. Responsible for checking that swimmers turn or finish complies with the appropriate swimming rule. They are situated at the ends of the pool.

Judge of Stroke

Assists the referee by walking on the opposite side of the pool observing the swimmers. They are normally a qualified referee or a referee in training.


Responsible for marshalling the swimmers into the correct race and heat. Note: they are not responsible for finding swimmers who have not shown up.

Meet Director

Overall responsibility for the meet. This is the person to discuss any problems related to a meet with.


During a race meet the recorder records the results of each race. Each club also has a recorder who is responsible for keeping the results for their clubs swimmers up to date. The recorder provides these times with the meet entries.


Overall responsibility for the race. They make the final decision on whether a race is fair and if a swimmer is DQ'd. The referee will walk along the pool during the race observing the swimmers.


Responsible for ensuring the starting the race and ensuring the start is fair. They stand beside the referee during the race start.

Time Keeper

Responsible for recording the time swum by the swimmer for each race.





Bilateral Breathing

In freestyle, breathing to the right side then swimming three strokes and breathing to the left side, then swimming three strokes and breathing to the right side, etc.  Our young swimmers are taught to swim in this manner because it helps with body position and helps reduce shoulder injury.

Interval Training

Consists of repeated rounds of moderate-to-high intensity activities separated by brief rest periods of approximately 20-40 seconds.


Using a board to immobilise the arms during training in order to develop the leg muscles.


The time taken to swim a specified distance.  The test criteria for advancing in the squads include swimming test sets on specified pace times.

Pace Clock

The large clocks with highly visible numbers and second hands, positioned at the end of the pool so swimmers can read their times during interval training in warm-ups or swim practise.


Using a pull buoy during training to immobilise the legs to assist the development of the upper body muscle group.


Skill drills performed with the hands and arms to help swimmers be more aware of the sweeps and pitches of the hands and arms.  Also, the sculling motions of the feet are important in the breaststroke kick.


The resting process in training for swimming competition.  Reduced training volume and intensity in the period immediately before a major meet gives the body and mind a break from the rigours of intense training and allows the swimmers body time to repair itself, and to restore tis energy reserves.  A well designed taper enables swimmers to compete at their peak levels.






Competition suits available in a range of styles from full-body suits to briefs.  Designed to increase the speed of the water flow past the body and reduce drag.


Foam board used in training to support the upper body during ‘kick’ drills designed to increase leg strength and develop the kick component of each stroke.


A development of the Aquablade suit that further reduces drag and increases muscle coordination by moulding to the body like a second skin.


Coloured plastic devises worn on the swimmers hands during training to increase resistance.

Pull Buoy

A pull buoy consists of two foam cylinders strapped together or joined by a narrower foam strip.  Pull buoys increase the resistance in the water an inhibit the use of the swimmers lower body, causing the swimmer to exercise the muscles of the upper body in moving through the water.