Meet Warm-up Procedures

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Meet management for all sanctioned Canadian swimming competitions must ensure the following safety procedures are applied. It is incumbent on coaches, swimmers, and officials to work together to comply with these procedures during all scheduled warm-up periods. Coaches are requested to encourage swimmers to cooperate with Safety Marshals.

  • Competition Warm-up Safety Procedures Download

General Warm-up

  • Swimmers must enter the pool FEET FIRST in a cautious manner, entering from a start or turn end only and from a standing or sitting position.
  • Running on the pool deck and running entries into the pool are prohibited.
  • Meet management may designate the use of sprint or pace lanes during the scheduled warm up time. Any such lane usage must be communicated through a pre-competition handout, an announcement or deck signage.
  • Diving starts shall be permitted only in designated sprint lanes. Only one-way swimming from the start end of sprint lanes is permitted.
  • Pools with backstroke starting ledges available may offer a designated lane for backstroke starts, at meet management’s discretion. (This is not mandatory if not enough general lane space is available for the number of swimmers in the meet.)
  • Notices or barriers must be placed on starting blocks to indicate no diving during warm-up.


  • Kick Boards, Pull-Buoys, Ankle Bands, and Snorkels are permitted for use in the main warm-up pool during warm-up.
  • Hand paddles and flippers are permitted for use in a secondary warm-up pool only (where available), at meet management’s discretion and recommended only for higher level or senior competitions.
  • At meet management’s discretion and based on available space, the Meet Manager may permit use of tubing or cord assisted sprinting in designated lanes and during specific times of the warm-up only. It is recommended that this only be allowed in secondary warm-up pools as space allows.
  • Coaches are responsible for equipment reliability and use. This is recommended only for higher level or senior competitions


It is recognized that there is a level of interpretation and common sense that must be applied when applying these guidelines. Diving headfirst quietly into an empty pool at the start of warm-up is not the same as diving headfirst into a crowded lane. Judgment and context is required.

  • Swimmers witnessed by a Safety Marshal diving or entering the water in a dangerous fashion may be removed without warning from their first individual event following the warm-up period in which the violation occurred and the alternates in that event notified should that event be a final.
  • They may also receive a verbal warning from the Safety Marshal. Swimmers receiving verbal warnings will have their names and clubs registered with the Meet Manager.
  • In the case of a second offense during the same competition the swimmer may be removed from the remainder of the competition.

Safety Marshalls

The Safety Marshal is a trained position designated by Meet Management. Safety Marshals shall:

  •  Be visible by safety vest.
  •  Be situated at each end of the competition pool and when applicable, similarly situated in designated warm-up pools when pre-competition warm-ups are scheduled.
  • Actively monitor all scheduled warm-up periods.
  • Ensure participants comply with warm-up safety procedures and report violations to the
  • Referee.
  • Depending on the level of competition, Safety Marshals have a role to help work with coaches and swimmers to ensure a safe warm-up environment. This may include educating a younger swimmer on the rules or communicating a concern to a coach.
  • Judgment, tact and confidence is required and therefore the Safety Marshal should ideally be a more experienced official.

Para-swimmer Notification

Coaches are requested to notify Safety Marshals of any Para-swimmers participating in warm-ups where necessary and at the coach’s discretion.

The following statement must appear in all Swimming Canada sanctioned meet information and posted notices: