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Timer Responsibilities

There are THREE timers per lane. In Dual meets there will be timers from both teams in each lane. All three volunteers will time the race, but each will have an additional responsibilities outlined below.  Make sure you wear shoes that you don't mind getting wet - you will be right at the edge of the pool!

RECORDER/TIMER(This should be a timer with some experience.)  

This timer will have the clipboard and pencil and must write all three times on the sheet. Record all three times to the nearest 100th. (Example: 25.78.) This timer also verifies the swimmer's name. (You can ask your fellow timers for assistance with this). For the 12-Unders this will be done at the end of the race as they climb out of the water. For the 13-Ups it is when they are about to step on the block. Do not try to get the Referee's attention if the swimmer's name does not match the name on your sheet. You just write the name down and draw a single line through the name of the swimmer who isn't there. If no swimmer shows up at all, just write "NS" where the time would be written. There may be times when the meet referee will combine heats and move swimmers. Manually write the swimmer's name on your time sheet. 



This timer wears an apron with ribbons. 10-Under swimmers are given ribbons after each heat. Heat ribbons are unofficial, but please do your best to be as accurate as possible. In the case of a "visual-tie" give your swimmer the same ribbon as the “tied” swimmer in the other lane. Do not confer with timers in other lanes about this. Just make the swimmer's day. The official ribbons will be distributed later at practice. Please give any swimmer a ribbon if they request one regardless of age. When it comes to relays, give one swimmer on the relay 4 ribbons with instruction to give them to all members of the relay.



This timer assists the ribbon/timer with watching the finish of the race and assessing what place ribbon to give the swimmer in your lane. Read the job description above for details.




1. Watch the strobe light to start your watch.

2. Use your thumb to start/stop your watch.

3. Verify your watch is running right after the race begins!


5. Do not interfere with the race.

6. Watch your language

7. Encourage the swimmers in your lane regardless of their team.



1.  Watch the strobe light to start and stop your watch. It is located near the starter and referee. You may need to move to see it. Some things that may impede your view could be officials, coaches, the guard stand, and the flags. Maneuver yourself to see the strobe. Start your watch on the strobe even f you don't have a swimmer in your lane. The timer in the lane next to you might need it at the last  minute and you are probably closer than the head timer.

You will see the strobe flash BEFORE you will hear the sound.


2. Use your thumb to start your watch. Statistically, your thumb responds faster than your forefinger. It is suggested you use your thumb to start/stop the watch and your forefinger to reset the time for the next race.

Remember to reset your stopwatch after you provide the time to the recorder.


3. Verify your watch is running right after the race begins! If for some reason your watch failed to start, you need to raise your hand and do whatever it takes to get the attention of the Head Timer. Don't stop until you make eye-contact. The Head Timer starts two watches as backup and will provide you with one to use.


4.  SEE THE TOUCH! The swimmer's first body part to touch the wall is what ends the race. That can be a hand, a head, or forearm to name some examples. Because of the lip on the edge of the pool, you will need to lean over to see the swimmer touch. The coaches work hard to teach the swimmers about finishing the race and the timer must make the effort to record it correctly. 

 DO NOT ANTICIPATE THE SWIMMER'S TOUCH. The swimmers deserve better than that.


5. Do not interfere with the race. This applies particularly to the well-meaning timers who are tempted to reach down to prevent younger swimmers from hitting their heads on the wall during backstroke. All backstrokers, regardless of experience, have hit their heads and it isn't a big deal. Just be happy for them that they stayed on their backs!


6. Watch your language. Please don't let swimmers hear the words: "Disqualified", "DQ-ed" or "deeked."


7. Encourage the swimmers in your lane regardless of their team. The younger swimmers really appreciate the enthusiasm of the timers at the end of the race. 




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