Preparing for big meets

This time of year, many coaches start thinking about hosting their big Invitational meet, Conference meet, Regionals, Sectionals, Districts or even State meet. Hosting these meets is a big responsibility for the coaches and volunteers. Here are some tips for making sure your meet runs smoothly.

Check your hardware

At least one month before your big meet, test and clean all your hardware. If you have been running dual meets at your pool, you will have a pretty good idea of what is working and what isn’t. If you have items that aren’t working, call IST (800-835-2611) and get an RMA number. Then send it to us referencing that RMA number. We’ll get it repaired and back to you as quickly as we can.

If your hardware fails just before the meet, never fear! We often have items in exchange stock that we can send you. You can use that item while we repair yours, then send it back once your item is returned. We don’t have every item in exchange stock, but it’s worth a call. If we have it, we’ll get it to you.

Update your software

Make sure that your software is up to date and current. The current version of MEETWARE and TIMEWARE is 3.2 dated 12/8/2017. First, make sure to delete any old MW3update.zip files from the folder on your computer where you plan to save the file. Then go to https://istime.com/support/software-updates/ and click on the MEETWARE/TIMEWARE version. SAVE the file to your computer. DO NOT RUN, EXTRACT or UNZIP this file. Now open MEETWARE or TIMEWARE and go to Utilities>Update. Click BROWSE and select the MW3update.zip file. Click OK, then click UPDATE and follow the instructions on the screen.

Double check the date when you re-open the MEETWARE or TIMEWARE software to make sure that the update went in properly. If you run into any trouble updating your system, give us a call at 800-835-2611.

Check the help files and videos

If it has been a while since you last ran a prelims/finals meet or a big invitational, it’s a good idea to review how to setup and run Championship style meets. You can find a Quick Reference Guide for Championship Meets and links to articles about setting up and running Championship Meets. In MEETWARE or TIMEWARE go to Help>Help and scroll down the left side to find Championship Meets – Quick Reference.
You can also watch our video help files about Championship Meets on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dibHBxslcVY&list=PLyFsZEg-Hk8JRgTmp5u404LXe-ul7EEr4 .
If you have further questions or you would like someone to help you with setting up the meet, give us a call at 800-835-2611. We can walk you through it on the phone or set up a TeamViewer session so that we can see what is on your computer and walk you through the process.

Check your supplies

Make a list and check it twice. Do you have everything you need? Stopwatches, pencils, clip boards, extra touchpads and backup buttons, volunteer timers, food for the coaches, water for the swimmers, ice for injuries, first aid kit, chairs, tables, trash cans. The list is endless.

Get your volunteers

Make sure you have people who can run the timing computer (and Meet Manager computer if you are running TIMEWARE), people to be backup timers on the lane, take admission money, man the coaches hospitality table, be runners, etc. Lots of hands makes light work for a meet like this!

If you have parents that you trust, delegate the assigning of volunteer positions to them. They can take your list of positions and find people to help fill them, freeing you up to worry about other things.

Have a backup plan

What will you do if there is bad weather? What if a touchpad goes bad in the middle of the meet? What if someone spills water on your computer? If you have backup plans in place for every emergency, then you won’t need them.
Have a second computer loaded with MEETWARE or TIMEWARE. Make sure that one is updated too! Any time you make changes to your meet, whether it is setting it up, putting in entries or during a break in the action of the meet, you should make a backup. Go to Utilities>Backup>Backup. Click Browse to select the location, then click BACKUP to save the file. The backup file will save a BACKUP_System.zip. System is your system name, like LITE or OHMEN. Make sure to save it to a thumb drive or network drive and not to the hard drive of your computer!

If the unthinkable happens and your main computer goes down, don’t panic! Boot up the back up computer, open up MEETWARE or TIMEWARE, go to Utilities>Backup>Restore, and restore the latest backup. You may lose a little bit of data, but it won’t be the end of the world and the meet will continue on.

Run a test

If you haven’t run a prelims/finals meet in a while, it’s a good idea to do a dry run. You can create a test system that will allow you to play around with the meet and its data without interfering with the actual meet.
Go to Utilities>System and select your system. Then click the COPY TO TEST button on the upper right of the screen. Answer the questions and your whole system will be copied into a TEST folder. You will be automatically logged in to the TEST system. You can tell by looking at the name in parenthesis at the top of the MEETWARE or TIMEWARE screen.

Check the DEMO check box on the screen under the system name, exit the system and go for it! You can run events with the touchpad simulator, watch how the scoring happens, review how to put award information up on the scoreboard and much more.

Once you are done playing with the meet, don’t forget to switch back to your original system!

Last minute items

  • Things to check before at least 24 hours before your meet starts:
  • Is your printer working? Do you have enough paper and ink?
  • Plug in your SWIMSTART to charge overnight. Make sure that the outlet that you plug it into has power running to it!
  • Double check your lists, are you missing anything?
  • Breathe – this is going to be fine!

If you start preparing for your big meet in advance, everything is going to run smoothly. We’ll be there to help along the way. If you have questions or you run into any issues give us a call at 800-835-2611 24/7 or e-mail us at support@istime.com.