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Meet Timing

Timing at Meets:

Timers are an essential part of swim meets. Usually when a swim team commits to competing in a meet, they agree to provide timers for the meet if requested. Timers are usually parents of the swimmers. As a result, all NF AquaFlyers Swim Team families are required to time at select (not all) meets their swimmer(s) attends.

As a parent/guardian of a swimmer, you will be required to agree to the team's timing policy during the registration process.

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding timing.

What is timing?

Timers are positioned behind the starting side of the pool at a designated lane. In general, there are usually 2 timers assigned to each lane. Each timer has a specific assignment. Usually one or both timers start a stopwatch at the beginning of the race and stop it at the end. At the start of each race the timers should look for the strobe light at the side of the pool -- when the strobe light goes off, the stopwatches are started. In addition to the stopwatch, one timer holds a "pickle" (a small push-button that stops the clock). The timers should look over the edge of the pool and stop the watches and press the pickle when the swimmer touches. The timer not holding the pickle has a list of swimmers swimming in the lane and checks their names before they start racing and also writes the time from the stopwatches beside their name at the end. Timers are right by the pool and have the best seat in the house!

How long do I need to time?

Timing slots vary between 1 and 1 1/2 hours depending on the meet. The time slots assigned are noted when the timing assignments are emailed to the NF AquaFlyers families a few days before the meet. The team finds out timing needs just a few days before the meet and as soon as the team finds out, timing assignments are published. If needed (but usually not required), we will ask families with more than one swimmer to time 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?

When you arrive at the host pool, check in with the AquaFlyers timing coordinator (usually a parent volunteer) before the start of the meet. Shortly before the meet begins, there will be a timers meeting for all timers to attend for specific direction and distribution of stop watches and clipboards. Timers for the first segment of each session are asked to position themselves behind the assigned blocks a few minutes before the start of the session. After this, new timers should go on deck to replace the other AquaFlyers parents at their appropriate assigned time. The timing coordinator will confirm that everyone is showing up for their timing segment. Any questions should be directed to the AquaFlyers timing coordinator for that session and not the coaches.

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 for your child to enter a meet. So, we rely on parent volunteers to time.

During the season, all families will be asked to time a few times (depending on the needs of the host meet). We try to assign timing so it's evenly shared by all families. We also try to assign parents timing segments when their child isn't scheduled to swim, but we cannot always accommodate. If there are people that would like to time at meets, simply let us know and we will try to plan accordingly.

How do you know how many timers the team needs?

The host team counts the entries from each competing team (including their own) and determines the 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 the AquaFlyers equal 20% of the swimmers at a meet, we must provide 20% of the timers. Numbers of timers could change at the last minute, and we might need to ask for more timers or we might tell some timers that they are not needed.

Timing assignments are usually emailed to all NF AquaFlyers Swim Team families a few days before the meet. As soon as we are notified by the host team of their timing needs, we create a schedule of assigned timers and email the schedule to all families. Important: Please note if for some reason you cannot time, it is your responsibility to find someone else to time for you AND notify the timing coordinator of the new timer.

What happens if families refuse to time?

We are fortunate to have a fantastic group of NF AquaFlyer parents who realize that timing is crucial and accept their assignment. However, once in a while a family will refuse to time. This creates problems because without the appropriate number of timers, the meet cannot move forward. The person who is on the deck timing does not get replaced and unfairly has to wait until someone else volunteers. In isolated cases, if this issue persists with isolated families/parents, the NF AquaFlyers have the right to excuse their swimmer from participating in events.

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