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
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.
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
The Rules and Meet Conditions of the Promoting Body
What equipment and program is being used to produce programs, race sheets and
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.
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
I do hope some of you will work towards
gaining a qualification.