Why the Krakens Loved Their First Season With Meet Maestro
The summer season has wrapped, and you can hear the relief in Randy Katz’ voice. Randy, Board Member and League Rep for the Cross Creek Krakens, has just completed his team’s first season using Meet Maestro, and he couldn’t be happier, he loved Meet Maestro. “Our whole league has used SwimTopia for 6 seasons, but in 2019 we used the combined SwimTopia team management and Meet Maestro meet management systems. The near-seamless integration of the two software packages saved our team a massive amount of time, and saved us the headaches we previously had in switching between other packages,” said Randy.
Having previously worked as a meet operator for his team, Randy knows first-hand what it takes to pull off the behind-the-scenes work of running a swim meet: from juggling swimmers’ desires on which events to swim, and coaches’ strategic event and relay choices, all the way through finalizing the results files, uploading them into the team software, and recording the team’s new records. And there are many steps between the few listed above – let’s not forget handling pre-meet line-up changes and deck scratches, recording DQs, resolving time discrepancies, printing award labels, and doing masses of data entry. Randy sums up the SwimTopia/Meet Maestro difference this season in a single word: “integration.”
How SwimTopia’s Integrated Systems Helped the Krakens
In the past, pulling off a great swim meet took multiple software platforms. The team previously used SwimTopia for the pre-meet functions of finalizing entries, then used Hy-Tek Meet Manager for most of the meet management functions. Results were loaded back into SwimTopia to update swimmer times, reports, and records after the meet. But the team also used Meet Mobile for live results; plus Meet Bop, an app that allowed a volunteer to manually update the event and heat being swum so parents could see what event was current; as well as Remind to notify parents of schedule delays or cancelations via text.
This summer, the Krakens used SwimTopia’s integrated platforms to handle all their meet needs, replacing the above software products and apps. SwimTopia’s meet management platform, Meet Maestro, offers a direct interface to SwimTopia—reducing the need for importing files before and after meets. SwimTopia’s mobile app—which includes live results, live event/heat updates, and push notification alerts—does the work of Meet Mobile, Meet Bop, and Remind. Randy noted, “the way our Dolphin timing system integrated with Meet Maestro to update the event and heat being swum on the SwimTopia mobile app even eliminated one of our volunteer positions!”
Randy summarized the benefits of SwimTopia’s integrated system:
In the past, we were sometimes emailing entry files back and forth at 3am. It was hard to keep track of which file was the most recent, there were so many changes. Now, with SwimTopia’s one-click merge of entry files, what used to take hours has been reduced to minutes. And our accuracy has improved, too.
Randy was particularly happy with the speed and simplicity of results-sharing after the meet as well. Again, with one click, both teams’ results are uploaded to their respective SwimTopia websites. “After 6 hours sitting in the heat of a swim meet, the computer operator used to have to go home, finalize results, and share the file with the other team. To click one button and have everything load into SwimTopia, while you’re still on deck at the end of the meet, is a game-changer,” said Randy, who found his team was also happier to be able to see results online and in the app so quickly.
Another big benefit for the Krakens was that Maestro was an online solution, meaning meet management duties could be handled on multiple computers, whereas the previous software required software downloads to a one-and-only meet computer. While there were originally some nerves about Meet Maestro being an online solution, the benefits outweighed any drawbacks. Randy’s league, the West Houston Aquatic League, provided every team with a hotspot to ensure constant connectivity. “Because Meet Maestro saves your data even without an internet connection, it wasn’t really going to be a big deal if we lost our connection. But our team parents have an expectation that they’ll see results in real time, so the hotspot helped keep everyone happy,” said Randy.
SwimTopia’s New Record Book Features Added to the Love
It wasn’t just Meet Maestro that saved the Krakens time and energy this season. SwimTopia’s new Records feature was also a hit. Another of Randy’s tasks is updating his team’s records. His previous process was so time-consuming he only performed it a couple of times each season. Randy would have to manually update the records in the backend of his system, and then meticulously update the records page on his website. With SwimTopia’s new Records feature, Randy would do a quick search for new team records after every meet, and with a few clicks the records page on the website would publish the updated results. The kids could then be recognized weekly at practice with their “record breaker” swim caps. And while Randy can quantify that a job that used to take him two and half hours now takes 15 minutes, it was harder for him to put into words what it meant to the kids that were recognized for their achievements after every meet.
Overall, it was a great season for the Krakens. Not only did they simplify their meet management with SwimTopia and Meet Maestro, but they were undefeated, and Division Champions as well! Randy is happy to recommend Meet Maestro to other swim teams: “although your team and league will do some unique things, the support staff is always a phone call or email away with a suggestion on how to accomplish needed tasks. The SwimTopia staff just ‘gets’ swim team administration.”
SwimTopia customers have full access to Meet Maestro, as it is included in the price of SwimTopia. To learn more about how to use Meet Maestro for your team, see our Help Center, or watch our recorded demo.