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Referee The “Boss”. June, 2006. Today’s Topics. Overall Job Description Skills & Knowledge On Arrival at the Pool Meet with Meet Manager Before the Start of Session Meet with Senior Officials Briefing of Officials During the Session End of Session Up the Ladder Questionnaire Review.

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Referee The “Boss”

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Referee the boss

Referee The “Boss”

June, 2006

Today s topics

Today’s Topics

  • Overall Job Description

  • Skills & Knowledge

  • On Arrival at the Pool

    • Meet with Meet Manager

  • Before the Start of Session

    • Meet with Senior Officials

  • Briefing of Officials

  • During the Session

  • End of Session

  • Up the Ladder

  • Questionnaire Review

“Shall” = No option = command

“Should” = Preferred course of action

“May” = Optional

Overall job description

Overall Job Description

  • The most Senior official on deck for the session

    • Not in badgelevel but in authority

    • Must be at least level 3 and have taken referee clinic

  • Mentor and supporter for all officials on deck

  • There to ensure the competition is run fairly and smoothly

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help – but ultimately all decisions are yours



  • Positive attitude

  • Listening and Observation

  • Decision making

  • Communication

  • Organization

  • Experience

  • Ability to Keep Discipline

    • With dignity, authority but without arrogance

  • Flexibility

    • Don’t assume all meets run the same

  • Common Sense

Know the rules

Know the Rules

  • Keep up-to-date with changes to rules

  • Have a copy of the rule book available – but not on you

  • Recommend Acme Thunderer Whistle, not Fox (Too Shrill)

On arrival at the pool

On Arrival at the Pool

  • Arrive 1½ hours prior to start – or when requested by Meet Management

    • Dressed according to SNC rules (or meet rules if different)

    • Ensure you have whistle, rule book, pencil

  • Ensure your name is checked off the officials roster

  • Find Referee’s heat sheet

  • Find Meet Manager/Meet Referee

Meet with meet manager

Meet with Meet Manager

… and Meet Referee if exists

  • Request (& read) copy of meet package in advance

  • Determine if there are any special rules …

    • Deck Entries, Prelims/Finals, SWAD?

    • Warm-up procedures/Life Guards?

    • Double ended?

  • Any single-length events requiring change of start or timer end?

  • Problems from previous sessions?

  • Preferences for running session and any timing considerations?

  • Review and approve official’s roster

  • Are people assigned to be:

    • Runners, False Start Rope Operator,Safety Marshals

Before start of the session

Before Start of the Session

  • Time out the session

    • Should not be longer than 4½ hours

    • Slowest time * (number of heats + turnover time)

  • Do facilities check

    • Water temperature: 25 – 28°C (77 – 82.4°F)

    • Chlorine: between 1 – 5 around 3

    • PH: 7.2 – 7.6

    • Air temperature: Minimum 2° warmer than water

  • Check lane ropes, starting blocks, false start rope, 15m markers

  • Make sure Safety Marshals are on deck and warm-up rules are posted

Meet the officials

Meet the Officials

Chief Finish






Chief Timer








Turn Judges











Clerk of






Judge of Stroke




Meet with senior officials

Meet with Senior Officials

  • Clerk of Course … Do first

  • Starter

  • Chief Finish Judge

  • Chief Timekeeper

  • Electronics

  • Office (Recorder/Scorer)

  • Objective of the discussions:

    • Are they able to do the job ?

    • Agreement on their responsibilities – specific to this session

Meet with clerk of course

Meet with Clerk of Course

  • Agree on the time to marshal the first event

  • Do they have enough help – marshals?

  • Number of heats behind blocks

  • Marshalling announcements

  • Procedures for:

    • Scratches, Deck entries (Spare Cards), Relay Cards, …

    • Combining/Re-seeding heats and events

    • Events with 1 heat (6-8 swimmers) go straight to Finals?

    • Special Procedures for Finals

  • What and Who to inform of changes to program

    • # swimmers/heat, # heats/event, combined events

    • Referee, Electronics, Chief Timekeeper, Chief Finish Judge and Starter

Meet with starter

Meet with Starter

  • Starting over top?

  • Discuss watch check

  • Discuss signals

  • Discuss false-start DQs

  • Any other functions you want from starter

    • Relay takeovers, turn judge, sweeps

  • Equipment checked?

  • Discuss announcements to be made by starter

Meet with chief finish judge

Meet with Chief Finish Judge

  • Re-confirm method of calculating official times

    • Manual vs. electronic

  • Confirm process flow for:

    • Cards and/or tape to table

    • Official times to recorder/scorer

    • Make sure they communicate with the office

    • Verification of Posted Results

  • Notify Referee of swim-offs for Finals

  • Communicate with Chief Timekeeper if problems with times

  • Inform Referee of any other problems

    • Lost times, getting behind ….

Meet with chief timekeeper

Meet with Chief Timekeeper

  • Checkout watches to Timers

  • Review experience level & matching of Timers

  • Identify Head Lane Timers

  • Recruit Timers if necessary

  • Arrange a watch check

  • Take each heat winners time

  • Do briefing for Timers if asked by Referee

  • Single-length/Distance Events, Official Splits

  • Monitor recorded times to catch glaring errors

Meet with electronics

Meet with Electronics

  • Do they have any concerns or problems?

    • Equipment, people etc.

  • Have they arranged for a pad check?

  • How much “change” can they handle?

  • Do you need to wait until the board goes to zero?

  • Signals

Meet with office

Meet with Office

  • Do they have any concerns or problems?

    • Equipment, people etc.

  • Have they talked to Chief Finish Judge?

  • Have they talked to Electronics?

  • Procedure for Posting Results

Briefing of officials referee may delegate some of this to other officials

Briefing of Officials (Referee may delegate some of this to other Officials)

  • Decide whether to separate officials for briefings

  • At Briefing:

    • Welcome Officials and thank them for volunteering

    • Introduce key officials including yourself

    • Give officials an estimated completion time

    • Tell officials what time they should be on deck

    • Identify all Strokes & Turns officials

      • Enough? Qualified? In the room?

    • Conduct briefings for Timers, Strokes and Turns

Briefing strokes turns

Briefing - Strokes & Turns

  • Review areas of jurisdiction for Strokes vs. Turns

  • Identify number of lanes per judge

    • Pair novices with experienced officials

    • Judges can rotate during session

  • Reinforce guidelines for observing a turn

  • It’s OK to seek a second opinion

  • Review all strokes for session

    • Not a clinic – cover the salient points

    • SWAD

    • Relay Takeovers – do not indicate DQ until race has ended

Briefing strokes turns 2

Briefing - Strokes & Turns … 2

  • Inform the officials of the DQ procedures

    • Only call it if you’re sure

    • Wait till last lap, ensure station covered, try to inform swimmer,fill out DQ slip/card,bring card to Referee

    • Referee can overturn DQ – Judge should not take offence

  • Remind the officials of procedures for disputes

    • Refer swimmers to their coach

    • Refer coaches to the Referee

Briefing timers may be done by chief timekeeper

Briefing - Timers(May be done by Chief Timekeeper)

  • Verify watches or plungers

  • Check that everyone has timed before

    • If not, ask Chief Timekeeper to conduct 101 after briefing

  • Ask Head Lane Timers to identify themselves

    • Decide roles for each timer in a lane

  • Cover procedures for:

    • Swimmer verification,

    • Go by the Flash not the Sound

    • Where to stand to take times, official splits

    • Place to record times on cards, light touches

    • When to clear watches

    • Bell or single length events

    • Place to record time on cards/lane sheet, light touches

Starting the session

Starting the Session

  • This can happen when:

    • The pool has been cleared

    • Clerk of Course followed instructions – swimmers are ready to swim

    • Officials are in place

    • Watch check has been completed

During the session

During the Session

  • Be visible to officials and swimmers

  • Observe that officials are performing their duties

  • Mentor if necessary

    • Replace incompetent officials

  • Keep the session moving at a steady pace

    • Use a “Gopher” if necessary

  • Watch for the “unexpected”

During the session 2

During the Session … 2

  • When making a decision

    • Deal with the facts

    • Use all available evidence –time cards, sweeps

    • Hear all sides of the story

    • Feel free to consult fellow officials

  • Mark time on your heat sheet at end of each event

  • Do a sweep at finish of each heat

    • Not mandatory but comes highly recommended

  • Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

    • Officials, Coaches, Swimmers

During the session starts

During the Session - Starts

  • Request quiet for each Start

  • Visually check pool and officials

  • Mark heat sheet with missing lanes & number of swimmers

  • Do long whistle for swimmers to get on blocks or in water

    • Whistle with authority

    • Use 2nd whistle for backstroke

  • Swimmer position

    • Feet anywhere on blocks; Backstroke in water at wall

  • When swimmers are settled, hand over to Starter by raising arm down the pool

    • Maintain raised arm until start is complete

    • You can stop the start at any time

  • After the Start, watch that all swimmers have re-surfaced

During the session dqs

During the Session … DQs

  • Ensure all details are completed – discuss with official

  • Ensure the following are notified of a DQ:

    • Swimmer or Coach

    • Chief Finish Judge

  • Note all DQs on your heat sheet

  • Remember the Referee may disqualify any swimmer from their own observations

During the session dqs cont d

During the Session – DQs …cont’d


  • The following needs to be present to have a “Decision of Fact”

    • The Official responsible has been assigned to that position

    • The Official is in the correct position and is qualified

    • The DQ is filled in and recorded correctly

    • The Referee is satisfied that all of the above are correct

During the session protests

During the Session - Protests


  • Verbal

    • Within 15 minutes of the end of the event

    • Try to settle verbally or advise protestor to submit a written protest

  • Written

    • Within 30 minutes of end of the Event

    • Record time of receipt and give to Meet Manager

    • Wait for Jury of Appeal decision

      • Arranged by Meet Manager

      • Odd number of people 3 or 5

During the session swim offs

During the Session - “Swim-Offs”

  • Referee arranges for “Swim-Offs”

    • 1 hour or more after all involved swimmers have completed their heat

      • Coaches may agree on a different time that is less than one hour after all involved swimmers have completed their heat.

    • Use meet management to assist

During the session official splits

During the Session - Official Splits

  • Coach requests it by completing time card and giving to Clerk of Course

  • Clerk of Course notifies Referee and Chief Timekeeper

  • Referee/Chief Timekeeper ensures 3 Timers for swim

  • Completed card goes to office

End of session

End of Session

  • Walk around the pool (during the last few heats) and thank all officials

  • Check with the office for any problems

  • Be available for de-briefing session

  • Leave your heat sheet with meet management

  • Proof all DQ’s

  • Check results

Up the ladder

Level V

Level IV

Level III

Level II

Level I

Up the Ladder

  • Get experience

  • Get a copy of the official DQ terminology

  • Create your own “cheat sheet”

  • Get Peer reviews

Useful web sites

Useful WEB sites





Referee questionnaire review

Referee QuestionnaireReview

30 minutes.

Referee questionnaire

Referee - Questionnaire

1. After you arrive at the pool to work as a referee, you should:

  • Meet with the Meet Manager to discuss details of the session

  • Check with the Electronics operator to ensure the automatic placing and timing system is working properly

  • Check pool equipment (lane markers, starting blocks, etc.)

  • Ensure that the pool temperature is within limits

  • Ensure that pool chemistry is within limits

  • Ensure teams are in assigned areas on the deck

  • Check officials’ assignments

  • Meet with the major officials as well as the meet manager to discuss pertinent information

Referee questionnaire1

Referee - Questionnaire

2. Final authority to approve the assignments of all officials and to ensure that they are adequately briefed prior to a session lies with the:

  • Chief Timekeeper

  • Chief Finish Judge

  • Meet Manager

  • Referee

Referee questionnaire2

Referee - Questionnaire

3. The following officials shall be responsible for assigning duties to officials within their jurisdiction:

  • Chief Timekeeper

  • Chief Finish Judge

  • Meet Manager

  • Referee

  • Judge of Strokes, Inspector of Turns

  • Clerk of Course

Referee questionnaire3

Referee - Questionnaire

4. The SNC Rule book prescribes the minimum number of qualified officials that are necessary for the proper running of a sanctioned meet. When there are insufficient volunteer officials available, the Referee may:

  • Double-up the duties of some officials, when such duties are not in conflict

  • Direct the Meet Manager to fill all vacancies with unqualified people

  • Request the Meet Manager to fill junior vacancies (Timekeeper, Marshall) with unqualified but capable people

  • Delay the start of the meet until sufficient officials are available

Referee questionnaire4

Referee - Questionnaire

5. The type of start to be used at a sanctioned meet shall be decided by:

  • The organizing committee and to be advised in the meet invitation

  • By the Referee

  • By the Meet Manager

  • Only one-start is permitted by SNC

Referee questionnaire5

Referee - Questionnaire

6. Which type of start may be used at sanctioned meets:

  • One start

  • Two starts

  • Three starts

Referee questionnaire6

Referee - Questionnaire

7. Disputes arising from the format and timing of the meet, the eligibility of swimmers, etc. shall be settled by the:

  • Referee

  • Meet Manager

  • Head Coach of the host club

Referee questionnaire7

Referee - Questionnaire

8. Responsibility to ensure that the session starts on time lies with the:

  • Starter

  • Referee

  • Meet Manager

  • Announcer

Referee questionnaire8

Referee - Questionnaire

9. On the Referee’s whistle for a dive start, the swimmers shall:

  • Step on to the surface of the starting platform

  • Step on to the starting platform with both feet the same distance from the front

Referee questionnaire9

Referee - Questionnaire

10. When the Referee has determined that the swimmers are ready on the starting platform, he/she shall:

  • Blow a short whistle and stretch an arm horizontally down the pool until a fair start has been completed

  • Blow a short whistle and stretch an arm horizontally across the pool until a fair start has been completed

  • Stretch an arm horizontally down the pool and drop that arm after the command “Take your marks”

  • Stretch an arm horizontally down the pool and maintain that position until a fair start has been completed

Referee questionnaire10

Referee - Questionnaire

11. On the Starter’s command, swimmers shall:

  • Take a starting position with at least 1 foot at the front of the starting platform

  • Take at least 1 step forward

  • Assume their starting position and remain stationary until the starting signal is given.

Referee questionnaire11

Referee - Questionnaire

12. On the Referee’s whistle for a backstroke start, the swimmers are required to:

  • Enter the pool in the acceptable manner

  • Return to the wall immediately and assume a starting position after the 2nd whistle

  • Enter the pool feet first

Referee questionnaire12

Referee - Questionnaire

13. In backstroke, the Referee shall blow a second long whistle when:

  • All swimmers have surfaced

  • All swimmers have reached the wall

  • All swimmers are 5 metres from the wall

Referee questionnaire13

Referee - Questionnaire

14. On the Referee’s second whistle in a backstroke start, the swimmers:

  • Will assume their starting position after a trial touch and turn

  • Shall return to the wall without delay and assume their starting position

Referee questionnaire14

Referee - Questionnaire

15. After he/she has turned the race over to the Starter and before a legal start has been achieved, the Referee:

  • May interfere with the Start and re-assume control of the race

  • Must leave control with the Starter until the race has begun

Referee questionnaire15

Referee - Questionnaire

16. A disqualification for “delay of meet” must be determined by:

  • Referee

  • Starter

  • Meet Manager

Referee questionnaire16

Referee - Questionnaire

17. The following officials are authorized to call a “False Start”:

  • Chief Timekeeper

  • Chief Finish Judge

  • Starter

  • Referee

Referee questionnaire17

Referee - Questionnaire

18. Disqualifications related to the start of a race should best be made by:

  • The Referee only

  • The Starter only

  • The Referee or Starter after consultation

Referee questionnaire18

Referee - Questionnaire

19. The following officials are authorized to disqualify a swimmer for rule violations after a legal start is achieved:

  • Starter

  • Chief Timekeeper

  • Referee

  • Chief Finish Judge

  • Judge of Strokes, Inspector of Turns

  • Relay Take-over Judge

Referee questionnaire19

Referee - Questionnaire

20. The Referee may:

  • Overrule a disqualification made by another official, even if he/she did not personally observe the alleged infraction

  • Disqualify a swimmer for a violation which the Referee did not personally observe but which was reported to him/her by the assigned official

Referee questionnaire20

Referee - Questionnaire

21. The following may disqualify a swimmer for a violation observed outside their assigned zone or jurisdiction:

  • Starter

  • Judge of Strokes, Inspector of turns

  • Head Lane Timekeeper

  • None of the above

Referee questionnaire21

Referee - Questionnaire

22. If two Judges of Strokes disagree about a potential rule violation, the dispute shall be resolved by the:

  • Meet Manager

  • Official with the higher level badge

  • Referee

Referee questionnaire22

Referee - Questionnaire

23. When Judges of Strokes or Inspectors of Turns disqualify a swimmer, they shall inform the following (verbally):

  • Referee

  • Announcer

  • Chief Finish Judge

  • Swimmer or Coach

  • Recorder/Scorer

Referee questionnaire23

Referee - Questionnaire

24. The procedure by which disqualifications shall be reported during the meet should be determined by:

  • The Referee

  • The Chief Finish Judge

  • The Meet Manager

Referee questionnaire24

Referee - Questionnaire

25. The legality of any touch shall be determined by the:

  • Referee

  • Inspector of Turns

  • Judge of Strokes

  • Chief Inspector of Turns

Referee questionnaire25

Referee - Questionnaire

26. The Referee may:

  • Overrule the results of an SNC approved automatic placing and timing system if the system is believed to be in error

  • Direct the Chief Finish Judge to ignore automatic results and use manual backup times

Referee questionnaire26

Referee - Questionnaire

27. In a heat when both the primary timing system and the backup timing system malfunction, the Referee shall:

  • Stop the race and swim it again later

  • Permit the race to proceed but award no official times

Referee questionnaire27

Referee - Questionnaire

28. “Swim-Offs” are used to:

  • Break all ties

  • Resolve ties for the last qualifying place in Finals (A) or Consolation (B) Finals

  • Resolve ties for first or second alternate positions in Finals (A) or Consolation (B) Finals

Referee questionnaire28

Referee - Questionnaire

29. “Swim-Off” participants for qualifying places in finals/consolation finals/alternate positions shall be:

  • All the swimmers in the heat where the tie occurred

  • The entire heat except disqualified swimmers

  • Only those swimmers who were declared tied

Referee questionnaire29

Referee - Questionnaire

30. When a “Swim-Off” is required, it:

  • Must be conducted at least 45 minutes before the start of the Finals session

  • Should be conducted within 45 minutes of the posting of finals of the last event swum by any of the swimmers involved

  • May be swum at a time that is mutually acceptable to all involved swimmers

  • Shall be conducted not less than 1 hour after all involved swimmers have completed their heats

Referee questionnaire30

Referee - Questionnaire

31. When a swimmer is disadvantaged by an equipment failure or official’s error in a Final (other than a Time-Final), the following swimmers shall compete in a re-swim:

  • All swimmers in the heat, including those disqualified for any reason

  • All swimmers in the heat, excluding those disqualified for any reason

  • Only the swimmers who were disadvantaged

  • Only swimmers who want to improve their time

Referee questionnaire31

Referee - Questionnaire

32. In the event of an assault (verbal or physical) of an official by a swimmer or by a team officer, the Referee has the authority to:

  • Order the offending party from the pool area for the duration of the meet

  • Impose a fine on the offending party

  • Do nothing except pacify the situation

Referee questionnaire32

Referee - Questionnaire

33. Disputes or verbal protests relating to the race or competition itself shall be received and settled by the:

  • Referee

  • Meet Manager

  • Office Manager

  • Chief Finish Judge

  • Official with the highest level badge

Referee questionnaire33

Referee - Questionnaire

34. Written protests of decisions related to the race or competition itself shall be presented to the:

  • Clerk of Course

  • Referee

  • Chief Finish Judge

  • Meet Manager

Referee questionnaire34

Referee - Questionnaire

35. Written protests of decisions related to the race or competition itself shall be received by the appropriate official within:

  • 15 minutes from the final non-resolution of the disputed decision (verbal protest) by the Referee

  • Within 30 minutes following the conclusion of the respective event

  • 30 minutes from the end of the session in which the dispute took place

Referee the boss

Thank you.

Approved by the BC Swimming Officials’ Association

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