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Chief Timer Guidelines

  1. Chief Timers are instrumental in helping to keep the meet running smoothly. Move the swim meet along as quickly and with as little difficulty as possible.
  2. Before the meet, the Chief Timer shall instruct each Timer on how to time a race, how to read the stopwatch, and when to reset the watch. They will also instructthe Recorders on how to do their job properly.
  3. Make sure each lane has the required number of Timers (3 Timers in each lane).
  4. Make sure all Timers and Recorders are seated in their proper lanes. Make sure all Timers are ready and attentive to the start.
  5. When the Chief Timer blows the whistle, it tells the Starter that all Timers and Recorders are ready for the next heat to begin.
  6. The Chief Timer’s two stopwatches are to be started at the start of every heat. Watch to see if any Timers missed the start, or are having any problems. In theevent that a Timer fails to start their watch, they will notify the Chief Timer. Walk over and exchange watches with the Timer, or time that lane yourself. The timewill be official.
  7. In the event that no one has a problem starting their watch, the Chief Timer will then take the time on the first and last place swimmers.
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Timer Guildelines


  1. Check time clocks at the beginning of the meet to make sure the batteries are good. If there’s a problem, see the Chief Timer.
  2. Timers will ascertain if the swimmer touches the wall. As the swimmer in your lane approaches the finish, rise from your chair and walk forward to the edge of the pool so you can see exactly when the swimmer touches the wall. You should be standing directly over the wall, looking straight down. The instant that any part of the swimmer's body touches the wall, the watch must be stopped. All good timers have wet feet, because many swimmers touch under water.
  3. When starting or stopping your watch, use your index finger to depress the button and hold the watch steady. It is an extremely sensitive instrument and does not need to be swung or jerked to react. Do not use your thumb since it’s reaction time is slower than the index finger.
  4. The Chief Timer will blow the whistle, indicating that the next race is ready to begin. Pay attention to the strobe light, and start the watch at the flash of the light (from the Colorado); never from the sound (beep). Light travels faster than sound. Relying only on the sound can result in differing clock starts from the near and far ends of the deck.
  5. If a watch fails (for whatever reason), immediately call for the Chief Timer by raising your hand. They will either come and hand you a watch or time your lane for you. If they are not available, look for a lane without a swimmer and ask one of the timers in that lane to take your place. This is why every timer should start their watch, even in an empty lane.
  6. If you fail to stop your watch, be honest and report "NO TIME". Under no circumstances, in either starting or stopping your watch, should you estimate or guess at the time in your lane.
  7. Remember, you are a fair and impartial official. If your own child is swimming in your lane, you are supposed to be quiet and neutral. You are encouraged to ask another timer in a different lane to trade places with you, or ask for a substitute for that heat so that you can let go of your inhibitions and keep the enthusiasm and the fun in swimming.
  8. All readings of times for an event must be consistent. All times should be read to the nearest 1/100 seconds (i.e., read “32.50”, not “32.5”).
  9. Give times on your watch to the Recorder in the same order for every race; i.e., Timer #1 states the time first, Timer #2 second, and Timer #3 third. Observe to be sure that the Recorder writes down the correct time that you gave them. Speak clearly. For example, 1:20:04 is read as “one minute, two zero, point zero four”.
  10. Do not clear your watch after reporting the time to the Recorder until the Chief Timer blows the whistle to signal ready for the next race. This allows the Recorder additional time to verify readings or to correct possible mistakes.
  11. Timers should, as much as possible, remain seated except when in the process of catching the finish.
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Recorder Guidelines

  1. First shift Recorders should report to the Chief Timer 15 minutes prior to the start of the meet. Second shift Recorders should report to the Chief Timer during the short break before their shift.
  2. Sit behind the three Timers at the assigned lane. Determine which Timer is #1, #2, and #3. Have them call out times in that order for every race during the shift.
  3. You will receive time cards from the Age Group Coordinators and Swimmers. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU GO THROUGH THE CARDS AND PUT THEM IN EVENT-HEAT ORDER AS YOU RECEIVE THEM. You will also have blank time cards for emergency write-in’s.
  4. Ask one of your 3 timers to always verify the name of the swimmer in the water when the swimmer is getting out of the water and then tell you the name. In this way, you can make sure the Swimmer in the water matches the name on the time card you are recording on.
  5. If you have a card and no Swimmer, or a Swimmer and no card, RAISE YOUR HAND AND GET THE CHIEF TIMER's ATTENTION BEFORE the event begins. This gives you time to either "scratch" a swimmer or write a new card. Make sure the heat and event numbers are written on the new card.
  6. If you receive a "scratch" card, give it to the Card Runner at the end of the appropriate heat and event.
  7. Use pencil only. Make sure your writing is legible.
  8. Record time on the time card provided by the Timers in #1, #2, and #3 order. DO NOT do any calculations or circle any times. All times should be recorded to the nearest 1/100 seconds (i.e., 24.05, 32.50). Make sure you record the full time from all three Timers.
  9. After the time card is completed, hold it up as the Card Runner will come by and collect the time card after each race. This makes it easier for the Card Runner to spot your card.
  10. If the Swimmer is swimming a race for time (vs. scheduled event), write “COMP” on the card for scorekeeping purposes.
  11. If there is any problem or discrepancy, notify the Chief Timer.
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​ Desk Supervisor Guidelines

  1. Desk Supervisor supervises the Card Sorter, Card Reader, Scorekeepers, Card Runner, and Data Checker and answers any questions they have and resolves any problems they may encounter. Problem-solving can include timing or scoring discrepancies, missing swimmer cards, verifying DQs with coaches, and incomplete/illegible time cards. Desk supervisor also subs any position in case a volunteer needs to leave the scorekeeping table for a few minutes.
  2. First shift Supervisor sets up scoring table stations (sorting, scoring, data checking) with the necessary supplies.
  • Put out job descriptions (Card Runner, Card Sorter, Card Reader, Scorekeeper, Data Checker) and make sure any volunteers who are unfamiliar with their jobs read their job descriptions first and answer any questions they have about their job.
  • Place 1 Recorder clipboard (with 2 pencils, blank cards – 3 pink & 3 blue in a plastic bag – inside the clipboard) and the Recorder Guidelines on each Recorder chair (6 total).
  • The time cards will come from the Clerks of the Course before the meet.
  • Put a Timer Guidelines sheet on each bench (6 total).
  • The computer and printer are set up by the Computer/Data Entry Supervisor.
  • All set up should be completed 15-30 minutes before the meet starts so you have time to explain job duties to new volunteers.
3. Second shift Supervisor is responsible for clean-up of scoring table and the Recorders’ supplies.
  • Collect and dry the Recorder’s clipboards (6 total).
  • Make sure each Recorder’s clipboard has 3 blank cards each of pink and blue, that the pencils have lead and work, and that any extra clips, rubber bands, or plastic bags are disposed.
  • Collect and dry the Timer Guidelines sheets (6 total).
  • MVST Scoresheets and time cards with the checked computer reports should go to the Ribbon Coordinator.
  • Neatly stack all general scorekeeping table supplies, including job descriptions, and put them away in the Scorekeeping Table Supplies clear plastic bin with the Recorder clipboards.
  • Put the Scorekeeping Table Supplies bin away on the shelf in the team closet.
  • The computer and printer are put away by the Computer/Data Entry Supervisor.
4. The Clerk of the Course will compile all scratches and substitutes prior to the meet starting. The Scorekeeping table area might be used during set up to gather volunteers to make these written changes on all the sets of time sheets.

5. If a "DQ" occurs, coordinate all necessary revisions at the scoring table. Inform the Card Sorter, Scorekeeper, and Ribbon Writer of the “DQ”.

NOTE: Only the Coach of the Swimmer disqualified can authorize a “DQ”. He must do it in person at the Table.

NOTE: However, a Starter can "DQ" a Swimmer, but it is the Coach who must come to the Table and authorize the “DQ".

6. Resolve problems with the appropriate people and assure all functions at the table are working (card running, sorting, scorekeeping, data checking).

7. Give the Announcer the score at events 22, 42, and 68 (or thereabouts).

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Card Sorter Guidelines

  1. Count the number of cards for each event. Compare count to scoring sheet to make sure all cards are accounted for.
  2. Compute the official time. There are four scenarios by which the official time is computed, usually it is scenario “c”.
    • a) When all three clocked times agree, that is the official time.
    • b) When two clocked times out of the three agree, the two identical times is the official time.
    • c) When all three clocked times have a different time, the high and low times are discarded, and the middle time is the official time.
    • d) When there are only two clocked times on the timecard, the official time is the average of the two times, rounded to the next slower hundredth.
  3. Circle the official time, and write the time on the timecard.
  4. After all official times have been identified for all cards for the event, arrange cards in time order, from fastest to slowest, and write placements on cards.
  5. Clip all cards for an event together in sequential order from front to back and place next to the card reader so he/she reads the events in sequential order.
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Card Runner Guidelines

1. Read the data from the cards clearly and quickly but base your verbal pace on the writing speed of the scorekeepers so they don’t miss the information.

2. When you start a new set of cards, say the event number and event name.

3. Read the data on the card in this order: Team name, swimmer’s name (printed as it is on the card), place, time. Visually verify that the official time as circled and written is correct. If not, tell the Desk Supervisor or talk to the Card Sorter. If it changes the order, give the entire event back to the Card Sorter so they can correct the cards and sequence.

4. When you finish with a card, place it face down in a stack, one for MVST, the other for the other team.

5. When you’re done with reading all cards for an event, clip the MVST time cards together and give to the Data Entry person. Stack the other team’s time cards together in sequential order (use a rubber band or their bin) and give to their Data Entry person.

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​ Scorekeeper Guidelines

1. Card Reader will read out the Swimmer's name and official time and placement.

2. Note this information appropriately on the Score Sheet.

3. Assign points based on placement of Swimmer as follows (please note that there are point limits and exceptions):

Note: EBSL rules state that individuals and relay teams must complete an event to be eligible to place and score points. A competitor who is disqualified from the event shall not be eligible to score points in that event. Rule 7, Section 1.

In dual meets, or double dual meets, points are awarded for places as follows:

a) Individual events: 1st = 6 points, 2nd = 4 points, 3rd = 3 points, 4th = 2 points, 5th = 1 point; Max: 13points

b) Relay events: 1st = 8 points, 2nd = 4 points, 3rd = 2 points; Max: 12 points

c) No team may score more than three (3) places in an individual event. THERE ARE POINT LIMITS: Maximum 13 points per team and no more than three (3) places. For example, if swimmers place 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, then they get 13 points. If swimmers place 3rd, 4th, and 5th, then they get 6 points. If team "A" takes 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th , and team "B" takes 6th, 7th, and 8th, then team “B” will receive an automatic 3 points (for 4th and 5th places). However, if one of the swimmers from team “B” is disqualified (DQ’d), then they only get 2 points. If there is only one swimmer in the water, and that swimmer does not place (top 6), they will pick up an automatic 2 points anyways, unless they get DQ'd or they don't finish the race. In that case, they get no points. No swimmer in the water = No points.

d) No team may score more than two (2) places in a relay event. Maximum 12 points per team, no matter how many places won. Basically, if the other team has a relay team in the water and it does not place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, and it is not DQ'd, they will automatically pick up 2 points.

e) No team can "sweep" (take all available points).

f) In case of a tie by two (2) or more competitors for any scoring placement in an event, the points for all places involved in the tie shall be divided equally among the competitors.

i. Both Swimmers get same placement. Mark a "T" next to placement on the Score Sheet.

ii. The subsequent placement is omitted: i.e. if there is a 3rd place tie, the placement would be: 1, 2, 3T, 3T, 5, 6.

iii. If a tie occurs between the two competing teams, add the appropriate points and divide equally: i.e. if there is a tie for 3rd place, add 3 points for 3rd place and 2 points for 4th place, and divide by 2. Award each team 2.5 points each.

iv. If a tie occurs between two members of the same team, add the appropriate points: i.e. there is a tie for 3rd place, add 3 points for 3rd place and 2 points for 4th place, total is 5. Do NOT divide. Instead, award the 5 points for that event. Each swimmer is credited with 2.5 points.

v. In the event of a three way tie, divide by three if it is for competing teams or just add as in (iv) above if it is for the same team.

4. Keep a running total of points for each page. Compare points with the other team’s Scorekeeper before moving on to the next page.

5. If a "DQ" occurs, coordinate necessary revisions regarding score keeping. The Meet Director and/or Desk Supervisor will assist with coordination.

Note: Only the Coach of the Swimmer disqualified can authorize a DQ. The Coach must do it in person with the Desk Supervisor. However, a Starter can DQ a Swimmer, but it is the Coach who must come to the Desk and authorize the DQ. (This does not apply at the Championship meet.)

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