To support teams impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, SwimTopia has added the ability to create and run "virtual meets" within Meet Maestro. This feature makes it possible to more easily spread a swim meet across multiple locations, and thereby reduce crowd sizes and increase safety.
We hope this solution helps provide an option to hold a safe swim season, and to give families an opportunity to safely gather and retain some of the spirit and fun of your swim season, even if it looks quite different this year.
Covered in this Article:
- What is a Virtual Meet?
- Benefits of Running your Meet as a Virtual Meet
- Benefits of Using Meet Maestro to Run your Virtual Meets
- Virtual Meets Webinar Video
- Your Team hasn't used Meet Maestro?
- Requirements to Run a Virtual Meet
- How do I Run a Virtual Meet?
- What Changes Have Occurred to Support a Virtual Meet?
- Merging Results from Another Virtual Meet
What is a Virtual Meet?
A virtual meet is when two or more teams swim in separate pools, but are scored together as if you were competing in a live meet together. Heat sheets and session reports reflect the separate locations, yet the psych sheet, results, and awards are combined as if the meet was in the same place.
Benefits of Running your Meet as a Virtual Meet
➧ Allows you to have fewer people on deck
➧ Meets can be spaced over a longer period of time
➧ Each team can compete on their own schedule
➧ With shorter seasons and smaller teams, you can more easily have tri-meets or quad-meets
➧ Allows the kids to compete against their normal rivals or new ones if the team is small
» Note: Although the initial purpose of this feature was in response to COVID-19 concerns, virtual meets could be an opportunity to swim against teams outside of your area/state, so we see this as a valuable feature to promote safety in this new normal and provide our customers with an option to expand their swim experience.
For other ideas on how your team can plan for a safe swim environment ➞ See Safe Swim Planning
USA Swimming has posted their guidelines for Facility Re-Opening Messaging and Planning.
Benefits of Using Meet Maestro to Run your Virtual Meets
➧ Streamlined setup
➧ Intuitive interface
➧ Will work on Mac or Windows
➧ Timing System Compatible
➧ Included in the price of SwimTopia
Meet Maestro offers maximum flexibility and ease of use. Virtual meets can be set up with a neighboring team in your league, or with a team on the other side of the country! You can include as many teams as you’d like—which allows for more flexible scheduling, especially during a compressed season. If reserving empty lanes between swimmers is desired, the automatic assigned lanes features of Meet Maestro make that easy. Teams can even spread the virtual meet out over several days (or even during practice times) if needed. And different pool lengths between competing teams is supported with our course correction factor.
Parents can track their swimmers’ progress with our mobile app, helping to create that “live meet” feel. The SwimTopia Mobile App will display the combined results for each event as soon as they become available. And Meet Maestro offers full integration with many timing systems as listed above, providing fast results (and reducing the amount of paper).
Virtual Meets Webinar Video
We hosted a webinar covering a safe return to the pool and virtual swim meets through Meet Maestro. For the first 20 minutes, we talked about a safe return to practices and meets with Joel Shinofield, Managing Director of Sport Development for USA Swimming. For the next 40 minutes, our CEO, Mason Hale, demonstrated how virtual meets will be run in Meet Maestro.
➞ Watch our Meet Maestro - Virtual Meets webinar.
Your Team hasn't used Meet Maestro?
This article assumes your team knows the basics of running a meet using Meet Maestro, but even if you have not done so already, we are here to help you get up to speed.
➞ Watch our Meet Maestro Demo for a full demonstration of the product.
➞ See the Meet Maestro - Manage Your Meets section of our Help Center for step-by-step articles.
Requirements to Run a Virtual Meet
➧ Meet Maestro is Required
- Already a SwimTopia Customer? Meet Maestro is included with your SwimTopia subscription. You can start using Meet Maestro to run your meets at any time! ➞ See the Your Team hasn't used Meet Maestro? section above to get started.
- Not already a SwimTopia Customer OR competing against a team that is not? Start a free trial of a SwimTopia account by visiting https://www.swimtopia.com/signup (Share with other teams). We'll email the links and tips you need to get started. ➞ See https://www.swimtopia.com/meets/meet-maestro/ to learn how Meet Maestro can make meet management fun again!
➧ Meet Entries Must be Ready
- Even if teams are competing on different days, all teams need to have their meet entries ready and Merge/Export page marked "Ready to Merge" so the Home team can merge the meet. Once the meet is merged, it's easy to make edits through the Meet Maestro interface in case entries change.
- If this becomes an issue with one team being able to run their meet, contact SwimTopia Customer Happiness to discuss further.
➧ Use Meet Templates for Consistency
- Virtual meets (like regular meets) will run more smoothly when teams share Meet Templates to ensure the rules and events are the same.
- Only the home (merging) team template is used. ➞ See Meet Templates for more on this topic.
How do I Run a Virtual Meet?
A "virtual meet" in Meet Maestro is set up as a multi-session meet. There are just a few steps you'll need to add on to your normal process.
➧ Seeding & Scoring - Lane Assignment
If you normally assign teams to specific lanes, or want to leave an empty lane for additional safety, make sure the Apply assigned lanes is set to "strictly (don't fill unassigned lanes)." This will ensure unassigned lanes are not filled, since teams will be competing in separate pools.
If you'd like to fill all of your lanes, you can set Apply assigned lanes to "based on entry time." Or if you don't have any designated scoring heats (see below), you could set Apply assigned lanes to "flexibly (fill empty lanes in non-scoring heats)," which will fill any lane that doesn't have an opposing team member (which in a virtual meet, there will not be opposing team members).
Some teams prefer to fill the lanes for individual events, but leave spacer lanes for relay events, and we allow you to create the appropriate setting for each.
You'll find this setting under Schedule > Click on Meet Name > Meet Setup > Seeding & Scoring.
» Note: If each team sets up their seeding & scoring rules differently, the settings on the merging team's site will take precedence. The "merging team" is usually the team designated as Home. This "Home" setting is in the Meet Details screen (Edit link next to meet name).
➧ Seeding & Scoring - Scoring Heats and Lanes
If your league requires a designated scoring heat (or lanes within a scoring heat), you may also want to consider how you have your designated scoring heats and lanes set. This could be different than your normal setting, especially if you are filling your pool (and not trying to social distance by skipping lanes).
Example 1: If your league normally designates the inner fastest 4 lanes as scoring lanes in a dual meet and you wish to skip empty lanes in your virtual meet, then you would want to set your scoring lanes to 4 to account for the unfilled/skipped lanes.
- As shown above, set your Seeding assignment to odd/even and Strictly
- Check the box for a dedicated scoring heat
- Check the box to use designated scoring lanes, and set the number of lanes to "inner 4"
- This means that Team A will have 2 swimmers in the inner 4 lanes of their in Meet Maestro session, and Team B will have 2 swimmers in the inner 4 lanes of their session (each team has an empty lane between their swimmers)
- In the above setup, if one team wishes to fill the pool, they'd have to manually move their swimmers into the empty lanes. But for the inner 4 lanes, they'd need to mark two of their swimmers as Exhibition, since only 2 are allowed to be eligible to score.
- Remember: the meet template for the Home team is the one that sets the seeding/scoring rules for both teams in a virtual meet.
Example 2: If your league normally designates the inner fastest 4 lanes as scoring lanes in a dual meet and you wish to fill the pool in your virtual meet (no spacer lanes between swimmers), then you would want to set your scoring lanes to 2, since each team is allowed only 2 scoring swimmers:
- Set your Seeding assignment to fill based on entry time
- Check the box for a dedicated scoring heat
- Check the box to use designated scoring lanes, and set the number of lanes to "inner 2"
- This means that Team A will have 2 swimmers in their inner 2 lanes, and Team B will have 2 swimmers in their inner 2 lanes
➧ Merge/Export - Build Your Meet
» Note: Normally, the "Home" team is designated when setting up the meet. Only the home team can merge the meet, so if neither team is designated then only the league can merge from the league site. If both teams are designated as "Home" then both could merge, so teams should communicate how they want the virtual meet set up so this is clear.
The only difference in this process from a standard meet, is to check the "Build as Virtual Meet (session per team)" when you have clicked the Build Maestro Meet button from the Meet Setup > Merge/Export screen.
This will make a separate session for each team to enter times. The times will be combined for a final result after each event has been completed by all teams.
» Note: if you’re timing swimmers in practice and need more of a data-entry screen rather than a seeded meet (with heats and lanes), you could tell the system that you have up to 32 lanes (the maximum). This will allow the coach to find swimmers’ names more easily with fewer heats in each swim event.
➧ Meet Maestro
As seen below, each team will only see their own athletes when they're in their session of the meet, but can see the other teams' sessions by choosing from the session menu in the upper right corner.
Each team will see their swimmers listed in their heat and lane assignments. And it's easy to drag-and-drop swimmers to other lanes, add swimmers on the fly, and enter times for swimmers even if they swam in a lane they weren't originally assigned to.
What Changes Have Occurred to Support a Virtual Meet?
➧ SwimTopia Mobile - Live Event/Heat Bar
If a meet has multiple sessions (like a boys pool and a girls pool, or virtual meets), the volunteer can select a session (or team/pool for virtual) to manage. As long as both pools have a volunteer manning the live bar, then parents from either team can pull up the live bar that corresponds to their "session" and see the live event/heat updates. ➞ See the example below:
➧ Meet Setup & Sessions Screens
In a multi-session and/or virtual meet, users will see a Sessions tab in addition to a Meet Setup tab. The Meet Setup screen will also display differently since we introduce the Sessions screen to allow certain items to be set per session.
» Tip: Each team should visit these tabs prior to meet start to ensure accurate configurations are set. Specifically the Sessions screen for your prospective team.
➞ See Meet Maestro Settings – Meet Setup & Sessions for more details.
» Note: The pool configuration in a virtual meet defaults to the last saved pool configuration for each team. We assume each team swims in their own pool and if they last set their pool up as 6-lanes SCM, that's what the virtual session for that team will default to. It only uses the home team configuration if it does not have any pool configuration info for the away team.
➧ Timing Setup
In a Virtual Meet scenario where multiple sessions are created, competing teams could be using different timing mechanisms. To support this possibility, we moved the timing system settings from the "Timing Setup" page under Settings to the timing system bar. This bar displays on the time entry interface when a timing system is setup on a computer.
» Note: The timing configuration is per computer, not per session or per team or per meet. For example, if you have a laptop setup to use Dolphin it will try to use Dolphin for any sessions.
➞ See Getting Started with Meet Maestro to locate the timing system article that applies to your team.
➧ Event Tracker Updates
We’ve added a new ‘Complete’ state to the event tracker in the Maestro UI. In a virtual meet, this state will signify that the results are filled in for the event for your session but the event is waiting for other sessions to be completed before scoring.
➧ Timer Sheets
- When ‘All’ sessions are selected, it now separates session data into two groups with a page break between them.
➧ Heat Sheet Updates
- Meets with multiple sessions will display a session # in the report header
- Each session is rendered in its own ‘chapter’ so there will be page breaks between sessions
Select your team in the Session menu for a heat sheet of your athletes only.
➧ Session Report
- Each session is rendered in its own ‘chapter’ with a page break between.
- The session report provides event range and session selection filters.
➧ Entry Labels
- Includes a session filter
➧ Results Report
- If there is course correction set up, printing reports in 1-column mode will show both the "Actual" result time in the pool and the converted "Official" time after conversion/course correction has been applied.
Merging Results from Another Virtual Meet
There are some occasions where you might be running a virtual meet, but you need to merge results after the fact. These scenarios include:
➧ Meet Maestro vs. Non-Meet Maestro – The home team is running their side of the meet in Meet Maestro, but the opponent is using different meet software
➧ Hybrid Virtual Meet – The virtual meet includes a combination of live meet(s) with more than one team at a location using Meet Maestro, plus solo meet(s) where only one team is competing at their home pool and using Meet Maestro
The steps to merge results are similar for both scenarios ➞ See Meet Maestro – Merging Results from Another Virtual Meet