Swim meets are an essential part of the sport of swimming. Every meet that any swimmer attends is run entirely by volunteers. Officials are present at all competitions to implement the technical and administrative rules of swimming ensuring that the competition is fair to everyone. Without a commitment from the families of swimmers, the sport of swimming could never survive. As a parent or caregiver of a swimmer, you have an opportunity to be involved with your child and his/her sport in a variety of ways.
Below is just a glimpse into the volunteer jobs that are standard at any swim meet you will ever attend. If you have any questions, concerns or comments about these jobs, or if you would like to become more involved but are not sure how, contact our Chair of Officials, Lisa Sheppard, who will gladly answer any questions or direct your questions to the correct person. Lisa is responsible running courses, but on swim meets days, you will find her most times in the Multipurpose Room upstairs from our pool. There she is busy coordinating papers, clipboards and supplies needed for a meet to get started and to run smoothly. Note that in order to perform most of these jobs, you are required to complete a course. These courses are offered throughout the swim season, and notification of a course will always be sent out in our weekly e-mails so be sure to check it out. As well, all courses offered will always be posted here.
If you have ever been to a swim meet, you're sure to have heard the announcements calling for parents to volunteer as timers. It takes a lot of timers to run a swim meet. Most parents start off their activities as lane timers. As a lane timer, you will operate timing devices such as stopwatches or buttons/plungers that are attached to the automatic timing equipment. Lane timers are responsible for starting their watches at the Starter's signal, and stopping their watches or activating their buttons at a swimmer's touch to the wall. A course completion is required in order to time on deck.
Stroke and Turn Judge
This position on deck is generally the next course after the Timers one that volunteers choose to take in the next step to becoming more involved with swim meets. The stroke judge walks along the side of the pool and observes the swimmers on his half of the pool. The stroke judge ensures compliance with the rules pertaining to the mechanics of the swim such as the arm stroke and kick. The turn judge is responsible for judging the starts, finishes, and turns during each race. This position is frequently combined into one position called stroke and turn judge.
Safety is an important concern at swim meets, and the marshal is assigned the responsibility of maintaining a safe swim environment. This may include supervision of warm ups, crowd control on deck, and supervising the behavior of swimmers and out of the pool.
Clerk of Course
If you enjoy lots of contact with the swimmers and have good organizational skills, the clerk of course position may be for you. The clerk of course greatly contributes to a well-run meet. He/she checks swimmers in and organizes the swimmers from a staging area to the starting blocks. To do this position, requires completion of a course.
The starter works closely with the referee and assumes responsibility for the start at the referee's signal. The starter steps the swimmers onto the starting blocks or into the water, directs the swimmers to "take their mark" and in conjunction with the referee, determines when a false start has occurred. An individual must be certified as a stroke and turn official before training as a starter.
The referee hs the overall authority and responsibility for seeing that the competition complies withe all the appropriate rules and regulations. The referee resolves all questions related to the conduct fo the swim meet and reviews any disqualifications. To train as a referee, an individual must first have been certified as a starter.
The chief timer starts 2 watches on every race and delivers a time whenever necessary, especially at times when a lane's timing system has failed to work correctly.
The Meet Manager is responsible for planning and organizing every aspect of the meet and for making sure the meet runs smoothly. From registering the meet with Swim NL months in advance, to handling entry information, right through to making sure awards are prepared and distributed, this job requires patience, perseverance, and attention to detail for the meet is to be a success. The meet manager is always set up on deck behind a table that houses computers, printers and a clock. There are always more than a few people in this area as many hands are required to work in this area with the meet manager to ensure the meet is a success for everyone.
MPM always has a group of volunteers who look after feeding our volunteers and coaches. Our Social Committee coordinates the volunteers who will assist in making and bringing food. Food and refreshments are always available before, during and after a meet.