No swimming meet can be undertaken without technical officials and that includes our own club championships and May gala. Generally meets require 3 timekeepers and at least 2 judges per lane, recorders, timing system operators, starters and referees, all of whom represent one of the competing clubs. At District level meets, clubs are expected to provide a certain number of timekeepers and judges per session (up to six sessions per meet), depending on the number of swimmers the club has competing, and will be fined if it does not fulfil its obligation. The club expects that the parents of swimmers who compete become timekeepers in the first instance and then progress to become judges. It’s then up to individuals if they want to progress further. Courses are run by the North District throughout the year for timekeepers and judges.
Becoming a Technical Official
Swim meets cannot be held without sufficient Swimming Technical Officials (STOs). STOs are positioned around the pool to ensure that strokes, turns and finishes are carried out by the swimmers in line with the FINA rules for swimming. The competitions we attend are officiated by STOs trained to British Swimming standards. There are two levels of judge. Progression is normally: timekeeper, judge 1, judge 2, starter and referee. Other roles include recorder and AOE (timing system) operator.
Becoming a Timekeeper
Becoming a timekeeper is fairly straight forward. A 2-3 hour session, usually in an evening, takes candidates through the operation of a stop watch at a swim meet, teaches how to calculate a swimmers time from 1, 2 or 3 watches and introduces the FINA swimming rules as they apply to timekeeping. Once completed, candidates become ‘club timekeepers’ and are issued with a timekeeper identity card. This allows candidates to act as timekeepers at most swimming meets. A record of poolside duties form is also issued to those completing the course. The referee will sign this form after each session of timekeeping at a meet and once completed, the candidate becomes a “Scottish Swimming” timekeeper. Becoming a timekeeper is a precursor to becoming a judge 1.
Becoming a Judge
From timekeeper, becoming a judge begins with a 3 hour workshop. These are usually held two or three times a year. The workshop introduces candidates to the FINA rules for swimming pertaining to strokes, turns and finishes. Following the workshop, candidates need to put themselves forward for mentoring sessions at meets to work alongside experienced judges. Again, a record of poolside duties is issued for candidates to collect referee signatures after every mentoring session. Candidates are required to collect a minimum of 3 signatures for each stroke. During the period that mentoring is taking place, a second and third workshop are attended to deepen the candidates’ knowledge of the rules and what to watch for when judging.After the workshops and all mentoring is completed, the candidates undergo a final assessment carried out by a qualified referee. Once completed the candidate becomes a qualified judge 1. The same process is repeated for judge 2.
Please regisiter your interest with our STO Convener.