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Officiating at a Swim Meet

Did you know it takes more people to officiate a swim meet than it does for hockey, football, baseball or most other sports?

Well it’s true, it takes about 50 people to run one of our swim meet sessions.

How can that be?  What are the jobs? What can I do to help?  Well we’re glad you asked.

Here’s a list of jobs and brief descriptions needed for each swim meet.

Timers:   Probably the best job – you get a great seat at the end of the pool so you never miss a race and all you have to do is start and stop a watch.

Chief Timer & Assistant:  Well, someone has to watch all those timers.  You stand behind the timers and make sure they are all paying attention to the start of the race and help them if they run into any problems.

Strokes and Turns Judges: Your job is to make sure that the races are fair – no swimmer should gain an advantage from an illegal stoke.  Unfortunately that means you might have to be the bad guy and DQ a swimmer, but it is for the best.


Clerk of Course & Assistant:  You know all those cards that are handed out to swimmers to tell them what lane to swim in (you’ll usually see your swimmer eating it, bending it, folding it!)Well, this is the person who coordinates all those cards before handing them out and is probably the last person to see them in pristine condition.


Marshalls: Your job is control the flow of swimmers as they are waiting to swim.  You need a good voice to call out the swimmers’ names and seat them in the proper order.  Then send them over to the proper lane for their race.


Safety Marshalls:  Your job is to control warm up – this is when almost every swimmer is in the pool and it can get quite chaotic.  Note, there are lifeguards watching the pool activity – your job is to watch the deck activity and make sure the lanes are being used correctly.  However, you need to be punctual on this job because the warm up cannot start until you are on deck with the orange vest on.  Coaches and swimmers are anxious to start warm up. You don’t want them to be waiting.

Chief Finish Judge & Assistant:  After the race, the cards are brought to you to calculate the final time.

Input Clerk:  A fancy name for the computer operator. You put the data into the meet manager program, and print out the results and awards.


A Bunch of Runners:  Usually we get brothers and sisters to help out.  Someone has to bring those cards to the officials in the back room.

Starter:  If you like people to listen to you, this is the job for you.  When you say “go” people jump!  (Well actually, you say “Take your mark”  and then activate the beep, and only the swimmers on the blocks should jump).


Referee: Have you mastered all the above jobs and looking for more of a challenge?  Then this is the job for you.  You also have control over the pace of the meet.


Meet Manager:  This is the one in charge of it all.  Really.  Not only on the day of the meet but you do all the planning and coordinating leading up to the meet.  We all love the meet manager because they do a lot of work so our kids can swim.


Of course there are a lot of other jobs during the day of the meet – someone needs to help with the set up and clean up.


Next time you are at a meet, think of all those people that are helping those swimmers get their chance to improve their times.

Looking for a great seat at a swim meet?
Here is your opportunity to do both  -- Why not try OFFICIATING?


Not convinced this is for you?  How about we sweeten the pot!?!
In addition to a great seat  -- all officials get free refreshments!!

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