Executing a swim meet requires many hands. The support of parents, older siblings and our swimmers is necessary and required. Fortunately, our volunteer needs are not difficult, and most give you a great view of the action! A few volunteer positions require special training, but most do not. There will always be friendly people willing to ‘show you the ropes’ if you’ve never volunteered for a job and need some assistance.
Volunteer Job Descriptions
USA Swimming sets the requirements for an official meet. Each meet requires volunteers to fill the following positions:
Head Timer (1) - Home Meet only
The Head Timer hands out stopwatches, explains timing procedures to the timers, and verifies there are enough timers for each lane. The Head Timer also starts a pair of extra watches in case one of the timers misses the start or has a malfunctioning watch. The Referee checks with the Head Timer to make sure the timers are ready to start the race.
Each timer (three per lane) operates a stopwatch to time the swimmer’s heat. One of the timers records the times on the swimmer’s heat card.
Card Runner (2)
After each heat, the Card Runner collects the heat cards from the timers and delivers them (along with occasional disqualification slips) to the computer operators. Card Runners also move cards from one side of the pool to the other, based upon which side of the pool a heat starts. The Card Runners may also provide additional support to the Clerk of Course.
Clerk of Course (1)
The COC ensures the smooth flow of swimmers throughout the competition. He/she organizes all swimmers in the Clerk of Course area of the pool, in advance of swimmers walking up to swim in an event. Swimmers are lined up and sit in a specific seat, based upon the lane to which they have been assigned to swim in their heat.
Ribbon Writer (1-2) Labels and distributes ribbons for event winners and personal best scores.
Computer Operators (2-3)
Computer operators enter times and disqualification information into the league database and print meet results and labels for ribbons. Interested volunteers must complete training for the specialized software at the beginning of the season.
Meet Officials: Referee, Starter, Stroke and Turn Judges (the White Shirts)
Meet Officials are required to complete a USA Swimming course, pass an open-book test, and shadow experienced officials at meets. Parents interested in becoming Meet Officials should contact a team board member for upcoming training dates or check the calendar on the website.
The Referee is in charge of the overall conduct of the meet, including having final say on any disqualification. You will hear them blow the whistle to signal the swimmers.
The Starter announces the name of each heat and starts each heat with the signaling device. The Referee and Starter together determine if there is a false start requiring a restart.
Stroke and Turn Judges observe the swimmers in each heat to verify strokes and turns are performed correctly, and identify violations to disqualify swimmers for that heat.
In addition to the the above-mentioned jobs, all swimmers and their families are expected to help set up/clean up the pool deck for the Home Saturday morning and Wednesday night meets. This includes setting up the lane number markers, putting the backstroke flags up, setting up chairs at each end for the waiting swimmers, stringing up the ropes along the team areas, and setting up the benches and canopies. We also need help taking it all down and putting it away at the end of the meet.
Family Volunteer Requirements
As you can see, that’s a lot of volunteers. Some families volunteer to help at virtually every meet, and to them we are deeply grateful. But everyone takes vacations, and it isn’t fair to rely on the same group of volunteers week after week. To avoid this necessity, the Saratoga Stingrays require each family to volunteer for at least 5 assignments during the swim season. (The above mentioned setup/teardown help doesn’t count towards the requirement). You can sign-up to volunteer on the Saratoga Stingrays website using the following steps:
1. Go to www.saratogastingrays.org
2. Log in with your email and password
3. Select "Calendar" from the menu bar on the Home page
4. Find the list of all events BELOW the calendar and click on the “Job signup” button.
5. When the event opens to a new page, click on the job you wish to do.
6. At the bottom of the page find the “signup” button and click on it
The morning of a meet, the Team Representative or another Board member will review the volunteer sign up page to see who has signed up to volunteer and whether there are any additional volunteer needs. He/she will then enlist the support of those parents who hav