Become a Technical Official

Many swimming parents tire of sitting in the stands at swim meets. After a while it can become like Groundhog Day all over again – same people, same conversations, same coffee! 

Helping out on pool deck can be very rewarding. Assistance is crucial to ensure the events runs properly, and you get to meet loads of great people! 

Theory training for many roles are available online [link to education page]. 

Practical training and assessments are organised by volunteers in your locality. Below you'll find the contact for your state or territory swimming association. 

To qualify as a Technical Official you must: 

  • Be a registered member of your State Association

  • Be of secondary school age or older 

  • Hold a current Working With Children Check 

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Common roles at swimming events

  • Fastest to learn
  • Achieving proficiency can often be achieved in a day or less.

    • Timekeeper- it is the role of the timekeeper to accurately record swimmers' times. Timekeepers are required at each lane, and use either a stopwatch or a press button. Chief Timekeeper- supervises all the other timekeepers and assigns them to a lane. 

    • Clerk of Course - also known as Marshal. Usually positioned in a marshalling room, they organise swimmers into their race and lane, recording any scratches, withdrawals and no shows, and where necessary advise the Referee of opportunities to amalgamate or re-seed races. 

    • Check Starter - stationed on pool deck, and receives the race sheet from the Clerk of the Course (Marshal). They are responsible for checking the swimmers are in the correct event and lane. 

    • Announcer – make all announcements in way to ensure the smooth flow of meet and set appropriate tone. 

  • Longer to learn
  • Achieving proficiency often takes several weeks or a few months of experience.

    • Starter Level 1 - instructs the swimmers at the beginning of the race. The role can be deceptively challenging yet enjoyable to ensure that all swimmers are given a fair start every time.  

    • Recorder - maintains accurate recording of results for the event from the control room. 

    • AOE/SAT Operator - monitors the usage of the Automatic Officiating /Semi-Automatic Timing Equipment from the control room to ensure the times and places are accurate. 

    • Computer Operator - operates the Meet Manager software. 

  • Longest to learn
  • Achieving proficiency often takes many months or several years of experience. 

    • Judge of Strokes - ensures that the swimmers strokes are observed and compliant with the rules by walking up and down the side of the pool. Can also assist with the Inspector of Turn duties. 

    • Inspector of Turns - positioned at both ends of the pool deck to ensure that swimmers comply with the relevant rules when starting, turning and finishing a race. Chief Inspector of Turns- oversees the supervision of all Inspector of Turns and is the main point of contact. 

    • Referee - oversees all the swimmers and officials at a swimming meet to ensure all swimming and competition rules are abided by. They make the final decisions regarding race conditions. The Referee signals to the Starter at the beginning of the race. 

    • Control Room Supervisor – supervises the AOE/SAT Operators, Computer Operators and Recorders. 

  • Other roles
    • With additional experience level 1 Referees and Starters may progress to level 2 (State level) or level 3 (National level). A select few may progress to FINA (International level).

    • Technical Manger is appointed to National and State events 

    • Finish Judges are required on occasions where fully manual timing is in use. 

    • Overhead Camera Operator – operates the video timing equipment at national meets. 

    Open Water events require similar but different roles. 

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