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  1. THE STARTER March 2008


  3. Today • Practice • Role of the Starter • Before the Meet Starts • The Start • Good Habits • After the Meet • Situations for Discussion • Questionnaire • Review (answers)

  4. Practice • Practice • Many people are initially nervous about starting – it is recommended that the new starter begin at a club time trial and other low pressure meets. Starters are encouraged to try higher level meets as their confidence and enjoyment of the experience increases. • Practice, Practice, Practice

  5. Meet the Officials Clerk of Course Marshalling Area Referee Judge of Stroke Assistant Chief Timer { Timers False Start Rope { Timers Turn Judges { Timers { Timers Backstroke Flags Backstroke Flags { Timers { Timers Chief Timekeeper Judge of Stroke Starter (SW 2.3) Chief Finish Judge Recorder/Scorer Electronics

  6. Starter’s Role • The starter position is critical in the running of a successful meet. • The central point of the starter’s role is to ensure a fair start for all swimmers. (SW 2.3.3) • The Starter and the Referee must work as an effective team to ensure that starts are fair and consistent throughout the session. • To exercise your function as a Starter you: • must have a good working knowledge of the rules • must be consistent and exercise good judgment • must earn the confidence of the referee and the swimmers • must respect the swimmers and enjoy the sport.

  7. Before the Meet Starts • Before the day: • Re-read the rules (SW 2.3: Starter and SW 4: The Start) and check for any new or meet-specific changes • Find out what type of starting equipment will be used • On the day of the meet: • Arrive early – at least one hour before the start. • Check the starting equipment and become familiar with the pool layout. • Have the electronics been set up and are operating? • TEST all equipment. • Are all loudspeakers, horns, and strobe lights working? • Set and test the volume levels • Is there a standby gun and ammunition available? If so check the operation of the gun, ammunition supply, ear plugs.

  8. Before the Meet Starts • Are any races to be started from the turn end of the pool? • If so, the starting equipment should be moved by the electronics people and tested. • Or is there equipment set up at both ends? • Check the Starter’s Platform • Is it in the correct position / location? Adjust to suit your location.

  9. Before the Meet StartsBriefing with the Referee … 1 • The meet shall be run under FINA start rules. • Check the meet package, what type of meet it is: Age Group, Masters, SWAD • Be aware of any duties the Referee may like you to perform besides being the Starter (e.g. sweeps, lap counting, turn judge) • Process to handle problems or movement of equipment. • Meet Flow: Discuss any time constraints and solutions Discuss with the Referee the starting protocol. (SW 2.1.5)

  10. Before the Meet StartsBriefing with the Referee … 2 • Establish the Procedure for Normal Starts • Does the Referee want you to “advise swimmers” to adjust their position in the water? (e.g. asking swimmers to stay in, or to leave the pool, when the races finish, etc.) • Will the Starter be announcing the event number and heats during the session? • Are there different Starters (and Referees) for male & female? Or only one Starter for all? • How have other sessions gone in regards to starting? Any DQs or other problems?

  11. Before the Meet StartsBriefing with the Referee … 3 • Establish Procedure for False Starts • Referee and Starter to confer and agree on any false starts before any disqualifications are made. Ensure rules are understood to ensure consistency. If the Referee and Starter cannot agree, the Referee will make a final decision (SW 2.3.3) • Note: DQ for “Delay of Meet” can be recommended by the starter but must be called by the Referee

  12. Before the Meet Starts • Watch Check • Find out who is the Chief Timer. Confirm when and where, and if, a watch check will occur? • Ensure that all Timekeepers can see the starting device. (gun or flash). • False Start Rope • Who will operate it? • How is it operated?

  13. The Start … 1 • Preparing for the start of the race. • Remember: The Starter has the best communication system with the swimmers • At the commencement of each heat the Referee shall signal the swimmers to the blocks. When the swimmers and officials are ready for the start, the Referee shall signal such with an outstretched arm. This indicates that the swimmers are now under the Starter’s control.

  14. The Start … 2 • The Starter shall have full control of the swimmers from the time the Referee turns the swimmers over to him/her until the race has commenced. (SW 2.3.1) • The start in Freestyle, Breaststroke, Butterfly and Individual Medley races shall be with a dive. (SW 4.1) • The start in Backstroke and Medley Relay races shall be from the water. (SW 4.2)

  15. The Start - Backstroke • When all swimmers have surfaced, a second whistle indicates they should return to the wall. Even if all surface at the wall, the second whistle is still required for consistency. • It is no longer a requirement to have the swimmers toes beneath the water line (SW 6.1)

  16. The Start … 3 • Swimmers are turned over to the Starter by the Referee’s outstretched arm. • Give the command ”Take Your Marks” in a slow, steady, non-military voice. A Starter must establish an even, consistent cadence with his/her starting commands. • The Starter shall activate the starting device when all competitors are stationary and complying with the starting rules. • Some swimmers will fidget until the referee turns the race over to the starter; (this is okay). • Swimmers may stand wherever they wish on the starting platform and may take any starting position • Some will roll backward after grabbing the blocks. A momentary pause before rolling backward is permitted.

  17. A Fair Start? • The “rule of thumb” is “If the gun goes, the race goes”. • Any swimmer starting (moving forward) before the starting device may be disqualified – at the end of the race (SW 4.4) • Any DQ because of a “Delay of Meet” is at the discretion of the Referee • Any protests about the Start should be directed to the Referee • The Referee has the final decision on all DQs

  18. Masters’ Swimming • Some competitors may have difficulty getting on the block, it is appropriate to allow a deck official or timer to assist them and stand beside them so they can steady themselves until the start is given. • The starter may also say “Relax swimmers” instead of “Step down” in an aborted start in such situations • Canadian Masters allow one false start as long as it is not considered “deliberate” by the referee, then it is “delay of meet”

  19. DQ Exceptions • False Start Exceptions (SW 2.3.3) : • Loud noises or camera flashes from other parts of the building could affect the start. • If the Starter holds the swimmers for an unreasonable amount of time while waiting for all swimmers to come down, causing a ragged and unfair start: THEN: The race should be recalled and another start attempted with no DQs assigned • If the starter errs and starts the race before all swimmers are stationary: • Recall the race and advise the Referee that it was your error. • There can be NO disqualification in this situation • If the Starter calls back a race, then it is an “Officials Error” and no swimmer shall be disqualified

  20. Good Habits • Record start time and missing swimmers on heat sheet for each race • If you are working an age group meet with many novice swimmers, be patient as they are just learning the start position

  21. After the Meet • Ensure that the equipment used is secured. • Starter’s electronic equipment is shut down. • Guns and shells are safely put away. • False start rope secured. • Clip board is returned to the official’s room. • Give the heat sheets for the session just worked to Meet Management, in case any questions arise later. • Attend a debriefing with the Referee or Management Committee. Comment on both strengths and areas of improvement for the next session. • Check the Official’s schedule for the next session that you work.

  22. Discussion • How should a Starter handle the following?

  23. Situation … 1 • Following the command “Take your Marks”, the swimmers assume a starting position (stationary), and a swimmer begins to move forward before the starting signal : • Signal not given –”Step Swimmers Down” ; Referee has the option to DQ offending swimmer for “delay of meet”. Re-start • Signal given - Race continues and DQ after the race. (SW 4.4)

  24. Masters’ Swimming • Masters’ swimmers are allowed one false start without disqualification • Should a swimmer take off early, try not to step them down. Use “Relax swimmers” As some of the more senior masters swimmers may have difficulty getting on and off the block

  25. Situation … 2 • If a swimmer does not respond to the command “Take your Marks” • As a starter do not activate the starting signal. • Instruct the swimmers to step down. • Discuss with the Referee: Did the swimmer hear the command, etc.? The Referee may disqualify the swimmer if it is agreed that the swimmer was at fault in not obeying the command. • If disqualified, the DQ’d swimmer’s lane shall remain empty. This would not be a false start but a “Delay of Meet” call, after which the race reverts to the referee. (SW 2.3.2)

  26. Situation … 3 • On starting the race, a swimmer topples from the block before the starting signal is given. • The other swimmers are instructed to “step down” • The race shall revert to the Referee • The Referee & Starter discuss: • Did the swimmer slip because of a slippery block? • If there is any doubt, the benefit of that doubt shall go to the swimmer, and the swimmer shall NOT be DQ’d.

  27. Situation … 4 • The swimmers come down in a very uneven disorganized manner as they take their marks. • Ask the swimmers to “step down”, but this is not a false start. • The race should revert to the Referee for another start attempt. • Discuss Handovers with the Referee • Ragged starts are often caused by a referee turning a race over to the starter before the swimmers are ready. In this situation the starter may wait until he/she feels a fair start can be achieved or instruct the swimmers to “step down”.

  28. Situation … 5 • The swimmer in Lane 6 comes down “too slowly” to his mark and Lane 7 topples into the water. • This is a subjective judgment call. There is nothing in the rules regulating “how fast” a swimmer must take his mark. As long as a swimmer is moving in an attempt to take his mark after the starter’s command, he/she should not be called for an infraction • Did Lane 7 come down very quickly and could not hold his mark? • DQ Lane 7 • Was there undue delay in obeying the start command by the swimmer in Lane 6 – thus causing Lane 7 to False Start? • Instruct the swimmers to “step down” and the Referee will decide if Lane 6 should be DQ’d for “Delay of Meet”. • A starter always has the option to step the swimmers down without declaring a false start if he/she feels a fair start might be difficult to achieve.

  29. Situation … 6 • While taking the starting position, the swimmer in Lane 3 doesn’t come to a complete stop, but takes his mark and leaves the block in a continuous motion, as the starting signal is given. • The race shall be recalled: • The Starter should have waited until all swimmers were stationary before activating the starting device. (SW 4.1 & SW 4.2) • An error by an official (activating the starting signal when swimmers were not stationary). A fault by an official after a fault by a swimmer expunges the fault by the swimmer. • The race reverts to the Referee with no disqualification.

  30. Situation … 7 • A swimmer leaps onto the blocks: A) After the Referee signals to the Starter • If possible “Step swimmers down” & return control to the Referee B) After the Starter says “Take your Marks” • Whenever possible “Step swimmers down” and return control to the Referee • If unable to prevent giving the Start and other swimmers are not adversely affected then let it go and DQ late arrival at the conclusion of the race.

  31. Starter QuestionnaireReview

  32. QUESTIONNAIRE 1. The FINA Start includes: • One start • Two start • A choice of one or two starts

  33. QUESTIONNAIRE 2. The FINA Start shall be used for: • All Canadian meets. • All International meets. • All Regional competitions including club, dual, invitational and championship meets..

  34. QUESTIONNAIRE 3. In SNC sanctioned meets, the starting signal shall be: • A pistol shot • A loud abrupt sound of an electronically activated horn. • A short whistle blast.

  35. QUESTIONNAIRE 4. Some responsibilities of the Starter are to: Ensure that each race is started fairly. Discuss signals between Referee and Starter. Disqualify swimmers who use illegal stroke techniques. Announce swimmers before each race. Call the swimmers to attention before the race using a whistle. Ensure the Timekeepers are ready before starting the race. Start the race as soon as all the swimmers have taken their mark and are motionless. Disqualify swimmers for delaying the progress of the meet. Ensure the false start recall rope is dropped when necessary. Perform other duties as assigned by the Referee. Report to the Referee any swimmer for delaying the start, willfully disobeying an order, or any other misconduct taking place at the start.

  36. QUESTIONNAIRE 5. The Starter shall have control of the swimmers from the time: The Referee turns the race over to him/her. The Referee checks that the Judges are ready. The swimmers take their positions of readiness at the front of the blocks. The Referee blows the long, loud whistle. The Referee gestures to the starter with a stretched out arm in the direction of the course.

  37. QUESTIONNAIRE 6. The Referee may not interfere once the Starter has control of the swimmers: Correct Incorrect

  38. QUESTIONNAIRE 7. At the start the Starter shall: • Hold the pistol at chest height. • Hold the pistol motionless at arm’s length, in clear view of the Timekeepers. • Ensure that the strobe light is in clear view of the Timekeepers. • Ensure that all Timekeepers can see the flash of the pistol. • Disqualify a swimmer for delay of meet.

  39. QUESTIONNAIRE 8. The preparatory command that immediately precedes the starting signal shall be: “Ready” “Get set” “A vos marques” “To your marks” “Take your marks” “On your marks”

  40. QUESTIONNAIRE 9. In the event of the malfunction of the starting device OR pistol the Starter shall: • Leave the swimmers poised and attempt to repair the malfunction • Direct the swimmers to “step down” or “relax” and announce that it is not a false start. • Call a false start and proceed immediately with another attempt. • Leave the swimmers poised and reload the pistol. • In the best interest of the swimmers, ask them to step down until the malfunction is corrected.

  41. QUESTIONNAIRE 10. During the start, the Referee or Starter may: Elect at any time to recall the race and restart it if a fair start has not been achieved. Direct swimmers to “step down or “relax” and then re-attempt to start the race without assigning a false start or a disqualification. Not recall the race, even if they believe a fair start has not been achieved. Disqualify a swimmer who false starts, by directing the swimmers to “step down” or “relax” even though the starting signal has not been given. Disqualify at the end of the race, any swimmer who leaves his/her mark early (jumping the gun). Prior to the starting signal, disqualify any number of swimmers until a fair start has been achieved. Not agree on a false start.

  42. QUESTIONNAIRE 11. Whenever swimmers have been asked to step down and relax due to any action or lack of action on the part of the swimmer(s), the control of the race reverts to the Referee. • Correct • Incorrect

  43. QUESTIONNAIRE 12. A “False Start” occurs when: • A swimmer starts before the starting signal has been given. • The starting signal misfires. • There is an official’s error.

  44. QUESTIONNAIRE 13. Authority to call a “False Start” lies with: The Referee The Chief Timekeeper The Stroke Judge and Turn Inspector The Starter

  45. QUESTIONNAIRE 14. The swimmers are in the water for the start of the: 200 m Individual Medley 400 Freestyle 400 m Medley Relay 200 m Backstroke

  46. QUESTIONAIRE 15. For Backstroke events, the swimmer: Must be in the water facing down the course. Must be in the water facing the starting end. Shall hold the wall or starting grip(s) with both hands. Must have both feet in contact with the end of the wall. Must have toes below the water line. May have the toes grip the gutters. Must have the feet level on the wall. Shall immediately enter the water and assume the starting position without undue delay.

  47. QUESTIONNAIRE 16. For events requiring a dive start, the swimmers: Shall stand behind the blocks until the Referee’s whistle is sounded. Shall step onto the starting platform with both feet the same distance from the front and remain stationary. On the command, “take your marks”, shall take their position with at least one foot at the front of the starting blocks. May use a track start May when using the track start, adjust the back foot position. May start from the pool deck when circumstances warrant Shall keep their heels in contact with the starting block while awaiting the start signal, after the preparatory command has been given. Are permitted to grasp the starting block with their hands while awaiting the starting signal. Must have both feet at the front of the block. Shall step onto the starting platform and remain there. c

  48. QUESTIONNAIRE 17. The following statements about the Start are true: The Starter may disqualify a swimmer for a false start before the start occurs. The Starter may disqualify a swimmer for a false start after the start occurs. A disqualification which occurs after a successful start has been achieved is charged to the swimmer at the end of the race. Swimmers may be directed to “step down” or “relax” prior to a successful start without a false start or disqualification being assigned.

  49. Useful Internet Sites • • • •

  50. Thank you. Approved by the Ontario Swimming Officials’ Board