Officials Information

Every year, SCAR hosts three swim meets – Cindy Nicholas Memorial, Winter Classic and Pan Am Invitational.  In addition, SCAR will occasionally host or co-host a regional or provincial meet. These meets bring swimmers in from other clubs, which generates revenue for SCAR.  This revenue helps keep our training fees down, so these meets are very important to all of us! 

In order to make these important meets a success, a successful competitive club needs a strong contingent of happy, dedicated, fun loving volunteer Officials.  It just so happens SCAR has lots of them - and they are YOU, our SCAR parents and family!

First Steps: The Paperwork!

In order for the club to register you as an official with Swim Ontario, we need you to fill out and sign a Code of Conduct and a Privacy Consent form.  You can print, sign, and then scan and email it back to the Club Official's Chair at officials@scarswimming.ca .

How to Volunteer

There are a variety of jobs to sign up for on the SCAR website when a hosted meet is put up online. You’ll get an email from the club when the job signup is available for each meet with an easy link to follow to get to the job signup.  Every job on the signup page has a brief description of what’s required, so you’ll know what to expect when you show up at the pool.  There’s also a description of the various official’s jobs below.

The most important thing to remember is that we’re a family, and there are a ton of experienced folks that will help you out if you’re new!

How to take an Official’s Clinic

Attending clinics really gets you up to speed on all jobs that make up a successful swim meet: from level 1 Time Keeper to Stroke and Turn Judge to Referee.

Each member is required to take at least 1 official’s clinic a year.  In-person clinics are run by Central Regions in the fall and spring, and by SCAR in October and January at TPASC.  Each clinic takes about 90 minutes. 

It’s suggested that you take the clinics and climb the ladder in the order found below.

How to Climb the Ladder:

Your key to climbing the ladder is taking clinics and bringing your official's card to meets so that you can get deck evaluations from the senior officials when you've mastered a job!  

All SCAR parents are Level 0 officials when they start out.  When you take your Timer Clinic, you become a Level I, and you’ll get an official’s card that will be used to track your clinics and deck evaluations as you move up the ladder.  As you begin to feel comfortable with a job, ask for a deck evaluation the next time you work it and get a senior official to sign your card.  Once you have two sign-offs for a job, move up to the next one, and climb the ladder to level II, III, IV, and V!

Your club official’s chair can help you with a plan, and Swim Ontario has a ton of resources on the web to help!! Here is how to Climb the Ladder.

Who's who on the deck?

Here is a brief description of each of the key official’s positions.  This is the recommended order for climbing the ladder – it’s a guideline only, see this link for Swim Ontario's official rules.

Safety Marshal

Safety is an important concern at swim meets, and the marshal is assigned the important responsibility of maintaining a safe swim environment. This may include supervision of warm-ups, crowd control on deck, and supervising the behaviour of swimmers in and out of the pool. During the meet, the marshals help to get the swimmers to their heats under the direction of the Clerk of Course.

Timer (Level I)

Most parents start off their volunteer activities as lane timers. As a lane timer you operate various timing devices such as stopwatches or buttons (“plungers”) that are attached to the automatic timing equipment. Lane timers are responsible for starting their watches at the Starter’s signal, and stopping their watches or pushing their plungers when the swimmer touches the wall at the finish. The watch times are then recorded and used as backup to determine the race results. Timer’s meetings are held just before the start of a session in order to explain the duties of the timer, and answer any questions.

Strokes & Turns Judges (Level II)

The turn judge observes the swimmers from the turn end of the pool, ensuring compliance with the rules pertaining to the mechanics of the swim such as the arm stroke and kick, and that all touches and turns are legal.  During a 50 metre competition, a stroke judge may be assigned to walk along each side of the pool judging the swimmers in half of the pool for stroke compliance. Before working on their own, stroke and turn judges must attend a training clinic and work a few sessions under the guidance of a more experienced stroke and turn official.

Head Lane Timer (Level II)

A Head Lane Timer is a Timer who is also qualified as a Strokes & Turns judge.  At TPASC, ten Head Lane Timers are required for each meet session.  In addition to judging starts, strokes and turns at the start end, the Head Lane timer is responsible for making sure that each swimmer’s name is checked for each heat, that the timers in the lane are operating their stopwatches and plungers properly, and that all stopwatch times are recorded properly on the lane’s heat sheet.  The HLT will also be ringing the bell on distance events, and judging relay takeovers.

If you’ve taken the clinics & obtained two deck evaluations for the jobs above plus one other Level II job below, congratulations, now you’re a level II official!

Chief Timer (Level II)

The chief timer assures that all lanes have timers, working stop watches and plungers, clipboards, pencils, and timing cards or sheets. The chief timer starts two watches on every race, and will take finish times for lane timers when they miss the start. The chief timer may also be asked to brief the lane timers at the beginning of a session.

Clerk of Course (Level II)

During the meet warmup, the clerk of course is busy processing deck entries, scratches, and relay cards from the coaches.  The clerk will work with the session referee to collapse heats when possible, and inform the recorder/scorer of all changes to the line-up for the meet. During the meet, the Clerk’s job is to make sure the recorder/scorer is informed of any last minute changes so that we can make sure that the right time always goes to the right swimmer. To be Clerk of Course, you need to attend a clinic, and you should have significant deck experience.  Like every other job on deck, you’ll start out by working with another official who is experienced in the role.

Recorder/Scorer (Level II)

If you know your way around a computer, you may be a natural for recorder/scorer. The swimmers’ times are transferred electronically from the timing system to a computer running Hy-Tek Meet Manager software, where they are matched to the individual swimmer’s name. The recorder is responsible for bringing all this information together, for posting the results of races, and for printing labels for the awards. Training involves attending a clinic, followed by some on the job training with a more experienced official.

Starter (Level II)

The starter ensures that all swimmers receive a fair and equitable start. The starter works closely with the referee, and assumes responsibility for the start at the referee’s signal. The starter directs the swimmers to “take their mark” and once satisfied that there is no unfair movement on the blocks, starts the race.  In conjunction with the referee, the starter determines when a false start has occurred. The starter is also responsible for making sure that the starting equipment is in working order prior to the start of a session, and may instruct the timers in their duties. An individual should be certified as a stroke and turn official for a minimum of one year and be a Level II official before training as a starter.

Meet Manager (Level II)

The Meet Manager is responsible for planning and organizing every aspect of the meet, and making sure it runs without a hitch. From registering the meet with Swim Ontario months in advance, through inviting coaches from other clubs to register, handling the torrent of entry information as it comes in, right through to making sure the awards are prepared and distributed properly, this job requires someone with awesome patience, perseverance and attention to detail if the meet is to be a success.  The meet manager should be at least a Level II official.

If you’ve attended the Referee clinic, taught a Level I clinic and obtained two successful signoffs for each Level II job, you’re in line for Level III!

Session Referee (Level III)

The referee has the overall authority and responsibility for seeing that the session complies with all of the appropriate rules and regulations. The referee resolves all questions related to the conduct of the session and reviews any disqualifications. To train as a referee, an individual must be at least a Level III official.

Once you have taught two Level II Clinics and completed a number of evaluations as referee by a Master (Level V) Official, you can be considered for advancement to Level IV!

Meet Referee (Level IV)

The meet referee has the overall authority and responsibility for seeing that the meet complies with all of the appropriate rules and regulations. The referee resolves all questions related to the conduct of the swim meet and reviews any disqualifications. To act as a Meet Referee, an individual must be at least a Level IV official.

Evaluator/Master (Level V)

The Master Official is the highest rank for Ontario Swim Officials. In order to be elevated to level V, you must have:

  • Served a minimum of one (1) year as a Senior Official (Level IV) at SNC approved meets, officiating at a minimum of five (5) meets approved by the Regional Officials Representative, working three of the following positions: Referee, Starter, Chief Finish Judge or Chief Judge Electronics, Clerk of Course, Meet Manager
  • During the period spent as a Level IV official, have completed three (3) successful evaluations (PTRs) in the position of Referee at three (3) different meets, by three (3) different Master Officials. One (1) of these meets must be out of region (out of the official’s home region).
  • Completed a Referee’s clinic within the previous 2 years
  • Conducted at least two (2) clinics at Level II positions under supervision of a Level V official
  • Worked a minimum of two (2) sessions at a National level meet.

Service Hours Confirmation

After a meet, reports will be placed here listing the jobs everyone has worked. Please review these reports to make sure you've been credited with the correct number of sessions worked at our meets.  If there are sessions missing, please contact the Club Officials Chair by clicking here.