Timing Info


Timing at Meets

All families are required to time at all of the meets their swimmers attend.

What is timing?

Timers sit behind the starting side of the pool divided into usually 3 chairs per lane. Each timer has a specific assignment. All three timers press a "pickle" (a small push-button that stops the clock) when the swimmer touches the wall at the end of his/her race. It is important to look over the side of the pool to make sure that you get the exact moment the swimmer touches the wall, to get an accurate time. One of the timers also starts a stopwatch at the beginning of the race and stops it at the end. This timer should watch for the strobe light to begin the race and also watch over the side of the pool for the swimmer to touch at the end of the race. Another timer has a list of swimmers swimming in the lane and checks their names before they start racing and also writes the time from the stopwatch beside their name at the end. Timers are sitting right by the pool and really do have the best view of all the action.

How long do I need to time?

Timing slots are one hour. If needed, we will ask families with more than one swimmer to time one hour for each swimmer entered, since timing obligations are determined by the number of swimmers we have entered in the meet.

Where do I go to time?

Check in with our timing coordinator before the start of the meet. Timers for the first hour of each session of the meet are asked to find their chairs behind the blocks a few minutes before the start of
the session. After this, new timers should come to replace the other Polar Bears parents each hour. Ask the current timers who the Polar Bears parents are that need to be replaced. The timing coordinator will confirm that everyone is showing up for their timing slot. Any questions should be directed to the timing coordinator.

Why do I need to time?

Swim meets are run by volunteers. The cost of hiring people to run the meet and do simple jobs like timing would be very expensive, and you would end up paying much more to enter a meet. So, we rely on parent volunteers to time.

How do you know how many timers we need?

The host team counts the entries from each competing team (including their own) and determines percentage of athletes from each team. The team then determines the number of timers each team must provide based on the percentage of swimmers they have entered in the meet. For example, if Polar Bears swimmers equal 10% of the swimmers at the meet, Polar Bears must provide 10% of timers. If a meet requires 3 timers for each of 10 lanes being swum per hour (30 timers total) then Polar Bears would be asked to provide 3 timers for each hour. Numbers could change at the last minute, and we could need to ask for more timers or we would tell some timers that they are not needed.

What happens if families refuse to time?

We are fortunate to have a fantastic group of parents who realize that timing is crucial and sign up to time. However, once in a while a family may refuse to time. This creates problems because without the appropriate number of timers, the meet cannot move forward. The person who is timing does not get replaced and unfairly has to wait until someone else volunteers. While we do not anticipate to have to address this problem very often,a  fine will be imposed on families who refuse to time or don't show up for their timing obligation.

Thank you for supporting your swimmers by timing at their meets!