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Descriptions of Meet Officials

Are you wondering what all the different officials and positions at a swim meet do? This page describes some of the various roles and jobs required to put on a meet.

Runner
Description: The role of the Runner is to collect and deliver important meet paperwork between the east pool referee and electronics booth and the meet announcer and west pool main booth.  The Runner may also be asked to photocopy and post event results on walls and other related tasks.
Experience Level Required: No experience required for this position. Training is provided.

Timer
Description: The job of the timer is to push a small button with their index finger when the swimmer touches the wall with either their feet (on turns) or their hands (on turns and finishes). This is one of the simplest jobs at a swim meet and it gives you a great seat to watch all the action.
Experience Level Required: Little to no experience is required to be a timer and training or orientation for this job can usually be done just before the meet begins.

Hospitality
Description: The hospitality people prepare and serve the food to the coaches and on-deck officials during the meet. Since we don't have full kitchen facilities at the meet, food preparation typically involves lots of chopping and sandwich-making.  Hospitality is a key role since the success of a meet is often gauged by how well-fed the officials and coaches are.
Experience Level Required: Low.

Webcast
Description: There are 2 jobs associated with the webcasting of the meet: the camera operator and the computer operator.  The camera operator is stationed with one of the web cameras that are positioned around the pool.  They use the camera to smoothly follow the swimmers and races in the water.  The computer operator makes sure the webcast is broadcasting, they enter the titles and captions that appear on the webcast and the switch between the various camera angles that may be available to provide the best coverage of the race that is in the water.
Experience Level Required: Low. A short (30 minute) orientation and training session is required for the webcast positions.

Safety Marshal
Description: The role of the Safety Marshal is to observe the safety of swimmers during the warm-up period and ensure established safety procedures are followed.  The person must be calm, discreet, patient and polite with the swimmers and the coaches while maintaining control and applying the rules. Usually, the person acting as a Safety Marshal is also working another position during the meet.
Experience Level Required: Low to Intermediate levels of experience are required for this position. Training can be provided at the meet if not received through a clinic. 

Stroke and Turn Official
Description: The role of the Stroke and Turn official is to observe the correctness of the stroke and/or turn to ensure that no swimmer gets an unfair advantage.
Experience Level Required: Low to Intermediate levels of experience are required for this position. A short (2-3 hour) training course is required before you can be a stroke and turn official.  Courses are offered frequently and are usually done near the time a swim meet is happening.

Timing Booth Computer (Ares)
Description: Sitting in air-conditioned comfort in the booth, the timing computer operators are responsible for setting up, conducting pre-race testing and running the timing electronics for the meet.  The jobs are relatively straight forward and inexperienced operators are always paired up with experienced ones.
Experience Level Required: Low to Intermediate.  Training is usually provided on-the-job during a meet, simply because that is the time when all the equipment is set up and connected.

Timing Recorder (Hytek)
Decsription: The Hytek operator sits in the booth beside the timing computer operators and imports the swimmer's race times from the timing system into the meet management (Hytek) system.  It actually sounds a lot harder than it really is.  It's literally one mouse click and one keystroke on the keyboard. However the real magic of the job is that, working with the chief finish judge, the Hytek operator makes any final adjustments to the finish times of the swimmers, prepares the list of finish times for each event and publishes times to the LiveResults link on the website.
Experience Level Required: Intermediate.  A training course is required for this job, usually the same one needed for the chief finish judge. During this course, a basic overview of the Hytek software is covered. 

Clerk-of-Course
Decsription: The Clerk-of-Course is responsible to making deck entries of swimmers, scratching swimmers from races and entering relay teams. A good understanding for the meet management (Hytek) system is required.
Experience Level Required: Intermediate. A training course is required for this job.

Chief Finish
Decsription: The Chief Finish Judge works with the Hytek operator to valid the race times and ejudicate any timing descrepancies that may occur.
Experience Level Required: Intermediate. A training course is required for this job.

Chief Timer
Description: The chief timer is responsible for all the timers, watches and plungers. The chief timer may also be asked to collect "sweeps" (the visual observation of the order in which the swimmers have touched the wall).
Experience Level Required: Intermediate. A short training course must completed in order to be a chief timer.

Starter
Description: The starter starts each race through the activation of the electronic timing system (horn and strobe flash) and ensures a fair start has occurred.
Experience Level Required: Intermediate to Advanced level of experience is required to be a starter.  A short training course must also be completed.

Referee
Description: The referee is the senior official at the meet and is responsible for all the deck officials.
Experience Level Required:  Advanced.  Years of experience and many training courses are required to be a referee.  The referee is usually selected by the meet manager.