BEFORE THE COMPETITION
Review seeding and administrative procedures
Conduct a Technical Meeting with Team Leaders and Coaches
Conduct a meeting with Technical Meet Officials
Eligibility, Registration and Proof of Entry Times
Chief Finish Judge/Timing Equipment Operator
Computer Operations and Desk Personnel
Meet Day Pre-Meet Duties
DURING THE COMPETITION
AFTER THE COMPETITION
The Referee should confer with the Meet Director and co-ordinate all requirements for the Meet at least the day before the
competition. On the day of the competition, the Referee should arrive in plenty of time to adequately perform all pre-meet
The Referee should inspect the pool facilities, with specific attention
to any safety issues in the meet venue. Pre-meet preparation is highly important to the success of a Meet. The difference
between a mediocre or poorly run Meet and a highly successful one usually correlates to a high level of advance
planning. If the Referee in conjunction with the Meet Director pays significant attention to the details of preparation, he
or she will have a significant effect upon the success of the Meet.
Usually, it is too late to make changes on the day of the meet. By that stage, there is only time to execute the running of
the meet. For these reasons, the establishment of time lines by the Referee are critical and can only result from adequate
planning. REMEMBER: "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail."
The Referee's actions during the Technical Meeting
can establish the tone for the competition. The Referee should assume control pleasantly but confidently. Discuss any
unusual circumstances regarding the meet format, the pool facility, etc. Be very reluctant and very careful before
agreeing to changing the meet format or any meet procedures. Anticipate issues prior to the meeting and deal with them
in advance. Listen to questions and comments. Do not be afraid to ask for opinions. It is not a sign of weakness or lack of
knowledge. Verify that the coaches have reported all known scratches to the Meet Director, Announcer or Marshall. Find
out if there are any last-minute deck-seeded entries.
Obtain a list of the Meet Officials. Review their appearance: ensure
that they all similarly dressed in officials whites; ensure that there are no advertisements or club affiliations on their
clothing. Review the Meet Officials' individual assignments and positioning. Remind them of meet procedures for
disqualifications, reporting, starting, turning and finishing. Clearly explain each Meet Official's jurisdiction. Clearly state
what you expect from each person. Balance the deck assignments of the Meet Officials, physically and by ability and
experience. Build a sense of cooperation and team spirit, while delegating various duties and responsibilities. Discuss
any unusual circumstances regarding the meet format, pool facility, etc. Have everyone sign the Officials Sign-In Form.
Review declared scratches with Computer Desk Control personnel, Marshall and Announcer, combining heats where
appropriate. Establish procedures with the Marshall and Announcer for dealing with no-shows and time-only swims.
Ensure that the Chief Timer conducts a timing resolution check of all stopwatches. [Refer to the sample "Referee's
Situations may arise or protests lodged regarding the eligibility,
registration or proof of entry times of any swimmer, particularly in relation to non-Bahamian swimmers. The Referee
may have to check the meet information as it pertains to eligibility and make sure there are no conflicts with BSF Rules.
Be prepared to address issues of eligibility and what a swimmer might have to do to ensure eligibility. Determine how he
or she has met BSF registration requirements. Be alert for potential problems dealing with club transfer issues.
Regarding entry times, is proof of time required? If so, what is the methodology used to verify times and who will
perform the verification? In age group meets, be alert to time standards and how they apply to eligibility in qualifying for
At the least, the Referee should request that the computer personnel supply a Psyche Sheet or Entry
Summary prior to seeding to catch potential errors. This may prevent re-seeding an event and reprinting heat sheets. At
the worst, the Referee should check the heat sheets well before the session starts to head off any potential problems.
Although all BSF Meets are pre-seeded, the Marshall is a valuable asset at all levels of competition. At a
meet where deck entries or time-only swims are permitted, a Marshall is indispensable. This is especially true at BSF
Meets where there are no pre-meet check-in procedures or penalties for not doing so. The Marshall helps with scratches
and relays, and is a general communicator with coaches. The Marshall properly arranges the heats' area before directing
the swimmers to the starting area.
Apart from the pool deck, this is the next most visible area that the
Referee works in. Therefore, developing an early rapport and mutual respect with the Chief Finish Judge/Timing
Equipment Operator is important for the Referee. Find out how experienced and familiar the Chief Finish Judge/Timing
Equipment Operator is with the timing system equipment. Ideally, the BSF should seat a Referee or Timing Judge in the
timing booth between the computer and timing system, to perform timing adjustments if required. The Referee should
ensure that the timing system is set up to collect secondary timing information, if needed. The Referee should certify all
event results, and in particular those events where the Chief Finish Judge/Timing Equipment Operator resorts to
secondary or watch times.
Typically, the Chief Recorder/Computer Operator has set up the meet
entries. Referees should establish a rapport with this person as he or she will be an invaluable ally during the meet. The
Referee should find out what meet software is in use. Also, whether the system is flexible enough to generate time lines,
and flag swim-offs for finals, cut times and records. Occasionally the Chief Recorder/Computer Operator must make a
change to the software's database, such as name, team or age. The Referee is responsible for establishing control
procedures for these changes. The Referee should ensure that the Chief Recorder/Computer Operator has set up the
correct point scoring system for the Meet (see Competition Rule CR11.1.2):
- 5 Lane Pools 6-4-3-2-1 (1st to 5th)
- 6 Lane Pools 7-5-4-3-2-1 (1st to 6th)
- 8 Lane Pools 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (1st to 8th).
The point values for relay events are double (CR11.1.3).
The Referee should give Announcers instructions about what to announce and when. At Nationals, the Announcer
should give particular attention to recording the time when announcing the names of finalists and alternates following
preliminary events. The Referee should review the exact wording and information of meet announcements with the
Announcer. Announcements should conform to BSF Rules (Competition Rule CR18.8) and the BSF's Sample Meet
Referees should inspect how the Chief Recorder/Computer Operator has laid out the heat sheets to decide
whether seeding requirements accord with BSF Rules (Competition Rule CR9). He or she should note time-only swims,
deck seeded entries, scratches, heat consolidations and other changes for a system of checks and balances against timing
errors or lane assignment mix-ups. If anything appears out of the ordinary, the Referee must investigate and resolve it. He
or she should be prepared to consult with the Meet Director and affected coaches.
The Referee should: tour the areas for meet check-in and deck locations to find out that the
set-up is satisfactory and that all equipment is functioning properly; determine his or her deck position during the Meet,
preferably next to the Starter; determine how he or she will deliver DQ Slips and watch times to the
Announcer/Computer Desk personnel; verify that there are adequate supplies of meet forms, DQ Slips, paper for
computers and timing systems; ensure that the Meet Director has provided clipboards, pencils and heat sheets for all
appropriate Meet Officials and that they provide one heat sheet for each head coach; review with the Meet Director the
frequency of providing drinks to all Meet Officials.
The Referee must give full attention to every start, including close observation and concurrence with the Starter
on false start disqualifications. Double check that the number of swimmers in each race is correct, including
time-only swims. A swimmer swimming in the wrong lane is not an automatic disqualification. The Referee
should first ask if the Lane Timers verified the swimmer's name before the start of the race or not. If they did not,
the swimmer's time stands. The Referee should inform the Chief Recorder/Computer Operator of the decision. A
good Referee marks off the names of all scratches/no-shows on the heat sheet at the start of each race. Also,
record the lane numbers in order of finish for each heat.
Between starts, the Referee should oversee the competition and evaluate the performance of the other Meet
Officials. This will include walking the pool deck from time to time during races, to observe the swimmers and
Meet Officials. In monitoring the Meet Officials, the Referee should ensure that they are alert during each race
and performing as professionals.
The Referee should watch the races and observe the timing. He or she should be alert for specific lane timing
problems, and, if needed, make timing corrections or resolve timing conflicts. The Referee should watch the
timing splits on the scoreboard to ensure that the timing equipment is recording them.
Referees should occasionally review the event results, particularly for backstroke and butterfly events. Ensure that
the timing equipment is recording the touches and that any timing adjustments made by the Chief Finish
Judge/Timing Equipment Operator are according to BSF Rules. Ideally, the Referee should approve all event
results prior to posting or announcing. He or she should ensure that the Announcer is announcing event results and
the winning time.
The Referee is responsible for controlling zealous Meet Officials who are acting outside or beyond their zone of
responsibility. If they misunderstand a Rule, the Referee should correct the misunderstanding.
The Referee clarifies rules and jurisdictions; suggests appropriate judging techniques; assigns, and may reassign,
officials. He or she also answers questions, protests and appeals while maintaining a sense of humour and keeping
a positive attitude. Referees should politely answer all questions to the best of his or her ability. Protests and
appeals are sometimes the most difficult situations to resolve because emotions run high. Referees must always
display a cool temper. Becoming visibly angry with a distraught Swimmer, Parent or Coach is improper for the
Referees can adapt the following complaint resolution guidelines for any Meet situation:-
Thank everyone who has worked on your team. They have all worked hard with you and are deserving of your
praise. Ideally, there should be a post-meet debriefing session with the Meet Officials, critiquing and
complimenting their performance.
- Referees should listen to the person who has a complaint without becoming defensive.
- Referees should show an understanding of the person's perspective and a desire to resolve the complaint. Do not chastise
- A good Referee should confer with all parties involved to ensure proper interpretation and understanding.
- The Referee should express his or her personal understanding of the problem and his or her decision to all involved
- Referees should take all unresolved conflicts off the pool deck. If the matter cannot be quickly diffused, allow a short
"cooling off" period for everyone involved to regain their poise.
- The Referee should call any infraction observed and determine why the assigned Meet Officials did not do so. Reassign
Meet Officials who are not performing their duties plus answer questions, protests and appeals of the other Meet
- When notified of an infraction, the Referee should ask the Meet Official 3 questions: (1) "Where were you positioned?";
(2) "What infraction did you observe?"; (3) "What is the applicable Rule(s)?". The Referee should carefully review the
reason(s) for the disqualification before deciding to approve or reject the disqualification. The Referee may also want to
be satisfied that the infraction is within the Meet Official's jurisdiction. If satisfied, the Referee should ensure that the
Meet Official completes the Disqualification Report; that they sign it; deliver the original to the Announcer; and the copy
to the Coach or Swimmer. It is the Referee's responsibility to review or answer any questions raised by the Coach arising
from the disqualification.
Whenever there is a problem or a protest, the Referee must remain behind long enough after the last race to ensure
that the Announcer has announced the results. This time can be used to critique the Meet with the Meet Director
and to sign any forms pertinent to the Meet. After the Meet, the Referee should write an evaluation of the
performance of the Meet Officials and return it to the BSF Secretary or the Meet Director. [Refer to the sample
"Referee's Evaluation Report Form"].
On the way home, do your own post-meet self-evaluation, reflecting on what you did right and what you need to
do better the next time.
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