Officials on Deck

Who are the Officials on Deck?

Officials are present at all competitions to enforce the technical rules of swimming so the competition is fair and equitable. Officials attend clinics, pass a written test, and work meets before being certified.

Referee: Has overall authority and control of the competition; ensures that all the rules are followed; assigns and instructs all officials; reviews all disqualifications; decides all questions related to the conduct of the meet.

Starter: Ensures all swimmers receive a fair and equitable start; assumes control of the swimmers from the Referee, directs them to “take your mark”, and sees to it that no swimmer is in motion prior to giving the starting signal; in conjunction with the Referee, determines when a false start has occurred.

Stroke & Turn Judges: Observe the swimmers from the sides/ends of the pool to ensure the rules relating to the mechanics of each stroke are being followed and to ensure the starts, turns and finishes comply with the rules applicable to each stroke.

Timers: Ensure the right swimmer swims in the right event, the right heat, and the right lane. Operate timing devices (watches or semi-automatic timing systems – buttons) and record the time for the swimmer in their lane. Two or three times are needed for each lane. Parents usually are asked to volunteer at meets to fill this requirement.

Clerk of Course: Arranges the swimmers into their proper heats and lanes prior to a race. Many meets are pre-seeded (in advance of the meet by computer), but the Clerk of Course is still required and is especially helpful during sessions with younger swimmers. Also checks in swimmers, collects scratches (swimmers who are absent or do not intend to swim), and handles relay entries.

Colorado Timing Operator: Sets up and operates the Colorado Timing System (computer, start unit, touch pads, buttons, and scoreboard) and notifies the Referee if a problem occurs.

Timing Judge: Under direction of the Referee, determines the Official Time for each swimmer in each race. Normally, this time comes from the touch pads, but if there’s a timing system malfunction, the Timing Judge determines the swimmer’s time by using backup times obtained from the manually-operated buttons and watches.

Recorder: Records the Official Times, determines the Order of Finish, scores the meet (if required), and publishes the Results. Also prints the labels for any awards.

Announcer: Keeps the swimmers and spectators informed. Makes any announcements requested by the Referee, Clerk of Course, or Meet Director. Announcements may include: Event Number/Name, Heat Number, Name/Team of Competitors, Results, Finals Qualifiers, etc.

Marshal: Enforces warm-up/safety procedures and maintains order in the swimming venue. The Marshal has full authority to warn or order to cease and desist, and, with the concurrence of the Referee, to remove, or have removed from the swimming venue anyone behaving in an unsafe manner or using profane or abusive language, or whose actions are disrupting the orderly conduct of the meet.