At meets, all swimmers that compete get ribbons! There are different types of ribbons and swimmers receive them at different times.
If your swimmer is in the main event, they will receive place ribbons. Main events are the first race for each event. All relays are main events. Coaches typically give these ribbons out at Thursday practice.
If your swimmer is in a heat (the races after the main event), there are two types of ribbons -- Heat Winner (for 1st place) and Heat Participant (for places after 1st). Your swimmer will receive these ribbons as soon as they get out of the pool.
Probably the most important ribbons are the Personal Best ribbons. Each time your swimmer improves on their best time, they will receive a Personal Best ribbon. These ribbons have a label on the back with your swimmer's name, the event, and their best time. These are also given out at Thursday practice. Coaches love to hand out these ribbons because it shows the results of your swimmers hard work!!