Why Should You Volunteer?
Why Do We Host Meets?
Who Can Volunteer?
Volunteer Job Descriptions
Heat Sheet Sales
Why should you volunteer?
The simplest reason why you should help is also the most powerful. You should help because your child benefits greatly from the program. The second reason is that most clubs cannot function without substantial volunteer help. The economics are not there for a full professional staff to do all the things that need doing. Consider that a single session of a swim meet using ten lanes requires the following as a bare minimum. Without these volunteers, the meet cannot happen.
1 Administrative Official
1 Head Timer
1 Volunteer Check-In/Heat Sheet Sales
Of course, if there are only the bare minimum volunteers, then no one can take a break or leave his/her position for the entire session.
As you can see, a swim meet requires much more parent/family involvement than most other youth sports. As a result, the following is included in the STAR Participation Terms:
"A Swimmer’s parent or guardian will work during swim meets in which said Swimmer participates if requested by STAR or its swim meet coordinator, may find someone to work in their place or may be required to pay the fee to hire someone to fill in the vacant position. Every time parent or guardian volunteers, one chance is earned for the end-of-year drawing for free dues for one swimmer for the next season.
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Why Do We Host Meets?
If hosting a meet requires so much work by the STAR families, why do we host meets? Here are a few of the answers.
- All STAR swimmers who register for a meet by the deadline will be able to swim the meet.
All host teams must limit entries in their meets so that the meets do not run beyond the timeline designated by North Carolina Swimming and USA Swimming. Entries from the host team are added first, then entries are added from the other teams in the order entries were received. Often (especially for Long Course meets), teams that planned to attend cannot enter the meet because it is full, even if entries are submitted long before the entry deadline.
- The meet will be in Greensboro.
While STAR travels to several meets that are out of town each season, hosting meets provides the convenience of swimming at the GAC. This reduces the cost of attending the meet for STAR families. It also allows more coaches to attend the meet to provide support and feedback to the swimmers.
- The team makes money.
The costs of running a swim team (e.g., coach salaries, facilities rental for practice, insurance, etc.) exceed the dues paid by the swimmers. Hosting meets provides income to the team without raising the monthly rates for all swimmers.
- Hosting meet results in invitations to meets hosted by other teams.
When STAR does a good job hosting a meet, teams that attend our meet are more likely to invite us to their meets. Those teams will also attend future STAR meets. This results in higher levels and greater variety of competition for our swimmers.
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Who Can Volunteer?
Anyone and everyone can volunteer! Parents, guardians, grandparents, family friends, siblings, teenage friends, and just about anyone else can volunteer. There are some positions that require the volunteer to have special training, but most just require him/her to be a responsible teenager or adult.
If anyone needs a letter showing their volunteer hours, Coach Jay is happy to provide one.
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Volunteer Job Descriptions
Here is the information that you need to know when you are volunteering. Below are descriptions of the various volunteer positions during a meet. If you have any questions, contact the volunteer coordinator (a contact link will appear on each meet's sign-up).
Officials are USA Swimming certified Stroke & Turn Judges, Starters, Referees, ane Administrative Officials. We are always in need of more officials. If you are interested in becoming an official, you can find information here or contact Rob Stevens at email@example.com or 336-851-9880.
The head timer is responsible for assigning timers to each lane used in the meet. He/She will also assign one timer in each lane to be the recorder of results for that lane. At STAR hosted meets, these duties usually are facilitated by the Starter. The head timer will also start watch(es) at the starting signal on every race. These watches will be used if a lane timer's watch fails.
The timers are responsible for providing back-up and manual times for each swimmer in their lane. At the GAC, the primary timing system is the pads. If a swimmer does not touch the pad hard enough (nearly all 8 & Under swimmers) or the pad is malfunctioning, the secondary time used is the time from the button pressed by each timer. The tertiary time used is the manual time from the stopwatches started and stopped by each timer.
Each timer must be in position at the start of each heat to have an unobstructed view and shall start the watch at the instant of observing the visual starting signal. If the visual starting signal is not observed, the watch shall be started upon hearing the starting signal. The timer must stand directly over the assigned lane at the finish to observe a touch above, at, or below the surface of the water and stop the watch and push the semi-automatic system button when any part of the swimmer’s body touches the wall. EAch timer will report the watch time to the designated recorder, report if a late or missed pad touch is observed; and, if requested, present the watch for inspection. Lane timers shall not clear their watches until the Referee signals that the next heat is ready to start.
The designated recorder for each lane shall determine whether the swimmer or relay team is present and in the correct lane, heat, and event, and record the names and order of relay swimmers prior to the start of the race, and determine that the relay swimmers are swimming in the order listed. He/she shall determine and record manual watch times or the absence of a swimmer or the relay team seeded in that lane. He/She shall report and indicate on the timing recording form if the swimmer has delayed in touching or has missed the touch pad at the finish, or if there is reason to believe the semiautomatic or manual times may be inaccurate.
Here is the description from USA Swimming:
"102.19 MARSHALS — Shall wear identifying attire and enforce warm-up procedures and maintain order in the swimming venue. The Marshal shall have 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."
Marshals are responsible for enforcing USA Swimming rules and facility rules. One of the main rules of which they should be aware is that spectators are not allowed on the deck during a meet. Only GAC staff, swimmers, volunteers, coaches, and USA Swimming certified officials are allowed anywhere on deck at GAC at any time during the meet. Everyone (except the swimmers) must have appropriate badges/credentials visible. The marshals must ask anyone else to leave the deck immediately. This includes parents of younger swimmers who want to help them get ready for the meet or pack their bags after the meet. These parents should be instructed to rely on the coaches/deck parent volunteers/older swimmers to help their children.
Another rule that must be enforced is that there is absolutely no video recording or photography allowed behind the blocks. Anyone who wants to take a picture must do so from the side of the pool or from the turn end of the pool.
The marshal must walk around the pool regularly to ensure that swimmers are not running on deck or participating in any unsafe activities.
A marshal must stay near the warm-up lanes to ensure swimmers are using them for lap swimming and are entering them feet-first only.
Regarding swimmers changing into/out of swim suits on deck (deck-changing), the appropriate procedure is, "Meet Marshals and facility staff should not intervene directly with swimmers that are deck changing; rather, they should note the gender and team of the swimmer as well as the location of the deck change and deal directly with the coach in question."
The meet admins are tasked with ensuring that every swimmer gets the time that he/she earned in the meet. Meet administration involves using Meet Manager and verifying the times from the meet according to USA Swimming rules. Meet admins must be trained. They work under the certified Administrative Official in charge of the "dry side" of the meet. Anyone wishing to train for meet admin should contact Beth Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A runner is responsible for transporting paperwork and relaying information between various other volunteers on deck. The runner collects timer sheets at the end of each event and delivers them to the meet admins. The runner collects DQ slips from officials all around the pool and delivers them to the referee (in the absence of a Chief Judge). The runner may also be tasked by the meet admins with getting manual times from the lane timers during an event and posting results. If two pools are being used for the meet, the runner regularly will deliver paperwork from the timing operators at one pool to the main admin table. The runner will also be the main source of communication between the two sets of admins.
The awards volunteers are tasked with getting award labels from the meet admins and sticking them onto the backs of the appropriate ribbons or medals. The awards then must be sorted by team. The awards volunteers do not start until approximately an hour after the beginning of the session. However, they will not finish until approximately an hour after the session ends.
The Coach Check-In volunteer must check the credentials of every coach who will be on deck during the meet to ensure that his/her USA Swimming membership is current (including background check, safety training, and athlete protection training). This volunteer will also collect any outstanding meet fees from the attending teams. He/she will distribute any information from the meet director and referee.
The volunteer working Coach Check-In will be expected to volunteer in another, additional capacity during the meet if needed.
Heat Sheet Sales
This volunteer will sit in the lobby and sell heat sheets to people attending the meet. He/She is expected to remain in the lobby for at least 30 minutes after the start of the session to sell heat sheets to those arriving late. Unsold heat sheets and the cash box should be delivered to the Hospitality room, where they will be secured.
The volunteer working Heat Sheet Sales will be expected to volunteer in another, additional capacity during the meet if needed.
This volunteer will sit in the lobby and check in all volunteers for the session and distribute volunteer badges. If there is a shortage of volunteers, this individual will be expected to solicit more volunteers from families attending the meet. He/She will let volunteers know to where they should report (info will be provided by meet management). This volunteer may leave the lobby either when all volunteer positions are filled and all volunteers have arrived or at the start of the session (whichever comes first). Extra volunteer badges should be returned to the Hospitality room.
The volunteer working Volunteer Check-In will be expected to volunteer in another, additional capacity during the meet if needed.
The floater/relief volunteer will regularly check with the other volunteers on deck to see if they need a break. They are expected to be working during the whole meet, except when they are taking a break. This position is extremely important, since some volunteers (like timers) cannot leave their positions for any reason (even for a bathroom break) unless someone is covering for them.
At meets early in the season or with many younger swimmers, STAR may have a deck parent as a volunteer. The deck parent is responsible for ensuring that all younger swimmers and new swimmers go to talk with their coach prior to their swims. This position requires that the deck parent monitor all the swimmers, keep track of their events, and announce that they need to go to the coach approximately 5 minutes before their heat.
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Thank you for your help. We can't do it without you!