TECHNICAL OFFICIALS - are the people you see time-keeping and walking around the pool deck at swim meets. There are others who marshal (Clerk of the Course) the swimmers into their races, and more who look after the computer, timing gear and results.


It takes quite a few people to run a swim meet - or club night for that matter.


I’d like to start by saying that the reason for having technical officials is to ensure ALL swimmers are given a fair start to participate in ALL the events they are entered into. Yes – we disqualify swimmers, for various reasons, but we are NOT there to prevent them from swimming or to disqualify them without a fair chance.


The courses are FREE – other than your time – and if you volunteer to work at a meet, you will get free entry to the pool. There is NO NEED to volunteer for a whole day – just nominate the time you can do.


Most of the courses are available on-line, you will then require an assessment (this part is actually quite easy) to become fully accredited. I suggest you start with Timekeeper and then work through whatever roles you might be interested in. I’m only too happy to answer any questions you might have, and can value add to each of the courses for you, but I’ve tried to give an indication of what the roles are about, below.

            On-line courses –For more information   Leaner Guides are also available to assist you.

            General Principles – Introductory Level Officiating

            Timekeeper & Chief Timekeeper – There is a little more to it, than just clicking a stop-watch. Once the role is understood, you will have the ability to ensure correct times are given to swimmers.


            Clerk of Course (Marshal) & Check Starter - The Marshal’s primary responsibility is to ensure that those swimmers entered in an event, and who report ready to start, are recorded as reporting and are passed on to the Check Starter for the right event. It is very important that the marshalling procedure is consistent from session to session so that swimmers know what to expect.


The Check Starter’s primary responsibilities are to receive the swimmers from the Marshals and to make sure that the correct swimmer starts in the correct event, heat and lane.


            Judge of Stroke (JOS) – Their duties are to ensure that the rules relating to the style of swimming designated for the event are being observed and to observe the turns to assist the Inspectors of Turns. They are to report any rule infractions to the Referee immediately an infraction is observed. If accepted, the Referee will provide an Infraction Report card for completion by the reporting Judge of Strokes, requiring details of the event (heat, lane number, distance, stroke, gender) and of the infringement in terms of the relevant rule.

The roles of the JOS and IOTs are integral to the successful operation of any meet. Teamwork is essential between people working in either of these roles and the Referee.

                Inspector of Turns (IOT) – a role also performed by JOS at ACT swim meets – The IOTs typically position themselves on the ends of the pool, so that they may observe all turns under their jurisdiction, and report to the Referee during, or at the completion of each race.


            Starter – Starters should be sure of the level of communication with the Swimmers required by the Referee. Starters should not take it upon themselves to give instructions to the Swimmers, unless advised by the Referee. The Starter’s focus must be on starting each race, ensuring all competitors gain a fair start.


            Recorder – The role of Recorder is highly dependent on the type of meet and amount of computerisation. Many meets make extensive use of computers to schedule swimmers and events, record times, and automate workflow. A few meets are still run entirely manually with entries hand written onto cards, hand held stop watches and paper based recording systems. Most meets have a mixture of manual and automatic processing. 

As a Recorder it is your responsibility to understand and apply the processes and rules, regardless of the available technology.

Recorders need to be aware of and understand:

          • The Rules and Meet Conditions of the Promoting Body

          • What equipment and program is being used to produce programs, race sheets and results

          • Whether the meet is being conducted as “timed finals” or “heats & finals’” or a combination of both

          • The Conditions governing eligibility for finals, medals, awards and the basis of any point score


Other credentials –

AOE Operator– timing – ensure times are received by the equipment and passed to computer operator (AOE – Automatic Officiating Equipment).

Computer Operator – ensures times are accepted from AOE in the correct sequence – the right swimmer is allocated the correct time.

Announcer – announces the events, heats, disqualifications, and results, along with any other required details.

Referee – Must hold all (except AOE & Announcer) qualifications before sitting the exam.

          Swimming NSW Referees will - 

    • Improve the quality of officiating at all levels of competition from club meets to international meets

    • Act as role models for other officials

    • Satisfy the needs of swimmers, parents, coaches and spectators during competition by providing a fair administration of those competitions

I’m only too happy to give a presentation for one person, or a few. I can come to a training session, or we can meet before or after a meeting. Just contact me – details are on the Contact Us page. Also - Keep an eye out for an email – I’ll arrange a session or two at our club nights, in summer…

I do hope some of you will work towards gaining a qualification.



Thank you,