Swim Meet Volunteer Position Details


The following volunteers will need to arrive 15 minutes prior to check-in in order to be set up by check-in:

  • Swimmer Check-in
  • Volunteer Check-in
  • Tattoo Person
  • Gear Seller
  • Set-Up Crew


  • The clerk-of-course is critical to keeping the meet moving without delays between heats.
  • At all times there should be: one heat of swimmers on the blocks, one heat waiting behind the blocks, and 3-5 heats lined up, with the first of these ready to move to the starting area.
  • You will need a pencil or pen to make changes as required on the heat sheet.
  • For each event, call out swimmers’ names in order of participation, using the heat sheet and direct the swimmers to be seated on chairs/benches by heat and lane number.
  • Remind the swimmers that they must not leave their seats until directed to do so by the clerk-of-course.
  • Try to keep three to five heats lined up and ready throughout the meet.
  • Direct the front row of swimmers to the starting area as each heat is started. Younger swimmers will need to be led all the way to behind their blocks.  
  • Please leave lanes empty (in the case of no shows) unless directed by a coach. Please write “NS” beside the swimmer’s name on the heat sheet.


Head Timer  

  • There is one head timer per meet – chosen by and generally from the home team.
  • Generally, oversee the timing function, answer questions, and act as a back-up timer.
  • Be available to substitute (or to assign one of the alternate timers) for any timer who misses the start or who is assigned to the lane in which their own child is swimming.
  • Ask timers to report to you if they are consistently recording differences of 0.2 second or more. Attempt to determine the cause of such differences by timing several heats in that lane yourself.
  • Approximately 15 minutes before start time, gather all lane timers together for the Timer Meeting.
  • All timers should have a copy of the lane timer instructions; you should review these instructions with them. Review how you want them to signal needing you to back them up during a race and/or ask for relief.
  • Run a test of stopwatch and timer accuracy: give a start signal, wait about 20-40 seconds and give a stop signal with your hand.
    • All watch times should be within about 0.2 second.
    • If there is a discrepancy, determine whether the problem is with the timer’s technique or the stopwatch by trading watches and repeating the test.
    • Make adjustments as needed to ensure fairness to all swimmers.
    • Repeat the test if necessary.
  • Timers do not catch heads. It is unpleasant when the swimmer hits their head on the wall, but the coaches teach the swimmers to count strokes from the backstroke flags so they should know when they are coming to the wall.
  • Contact BDA to assign an alternate timer to replace any timer having significant difficulties obtaining accurate times or a timer that needs a break.

Lane Timers

  • Click for a printable copy of the Lane Timer Instructions.
  • Check your watch and know how to operate; practice before meet starts.
  • Check swimmer in your lane against the heat sheet; make sure it is the correct swimmer in the correct lane in the correct heat.
  • Do not distract the swimmer with conversation except to confirm it is the correct swimmer.
  • Check relay swimmers to ensure swimmers are all named on the heat sheet and the swimmers swim in the stated order. Note: the order can be changed prior to the beginning of the race, but not after the race has started; the timer should note any changes on the heat sheet.
  • Do not stand between starting blocks at the start of the race.
  • Start watch at strobe/horn. Look at watch to make sure it’s running–if not, immediately raise your hand for the head timer.
  • Be in position at the finish to see the touch. Be able to look straight down the side to the bottom of the pool. Do not catch a swimmers head at the wall.
  • Stop the watch at the finish of the race when the swimmer makes contact with the wall. It does not have to be a legal touch.
  • Record both watch times on the heat sheet, and ONLY the watch times. Record time only to hundredths of a second; if your watch displays thousandths (most won’t) simply drop the thousandths digit (do not round).
  • Note any timing problems on the heat sheet, e.g., watch didn’t start, did not push button at final touch. We don’t want to average a bad time with a good one.
  • Remind relay swimmers to get out of water at the finish of their leg.
  • Pay attention to the number of lengths swum so you know when to stop the watch.

Heat Winner Distributor

  • This is a fun job because you bear good news!
  • The home team supplies the heat winner prizes for the meet.
  • There is generally one heat winner distributor per meet.
  • Carefully watch each heat to see who touches the wall first.
  • Give the heat winner prize to the swimmer after he/she gets out of the water.
  • Heat winner prizes are important, especially to the younger swimmers.
  • Swimmers and parents watch to see who wins and swimmers who win their heat and don’t get a prize are very disappointed.
  • If it is a tie (from your perspective), give both winners a prize.

  • Collect print outs and/or timer sheets after each event and take to the person running the computer.  

Event Sign Managers
  • The BDA event sign helps the spectators, swimmers, coaches, and volunteers to track the meet’s progress.
  • This is a new sign and therefore new position for us, so if you have suggestions on better management of the sign, please share them!
  •  The sign will have cards for each heat number, gender, distance, and stroke.  Your job is to keep the sign accurately reflecting the current heat and event.  Note: we will not use every card every time, so the cards may not be in order and you may need to flip around to make sure you have the right one!
  • We hope to have the sign assembled as part of set up but if not, you will need to assemble it.
  • The sign is tall, so you and the other sign manager will likely need to lean it down to flip the cards.  Or if you come up with another solution, go for it!


Meet Set-up Crew

Your primary responsibilities are to do whatever Matti needs you to do.   
You will need to arrive 15 minutes before check-in to set up.

This could include, but is not limited to:

  • Setting up chairs in the clerk area
  • Not letting the parents abscond with chairs until you have all you need
  • Set up tables in the swimmer/volunteer check-in area
  • Tape lane numbers on the chairs in clerk of course area
  • Help set up the pool deck markers, etc.
  • Set up the BDA Event Sign


Meet Clean-up Crew

Your primary responsibilities are to make the pool deck and balcony look like BDA was never there!
We want this facility to be happy with us and let us keep practicing and 
holding meets there so leaving it better than when we came is important.

Your basic tasks could include, but are not limited to:

  • Generally clean up the pool deck and balcony
  • Help replace chairs to where the facility wants them stored
  • Help coaches collect lane markers, etc.
  • Throw trash in the trash can
  • Collect lost items and give them to Melissa



Your primary responsibility is to keep the meet moving.
The Starter announces the events and ensures that the swimmers start simultaneously.
This position requires training and/or experience.


Stroke and Turn Judge Guidelines

A. Philosophy

  1. Your primary job is to ensure all swimmers have a fair and equitable opportunity to swim their best. You are there to observe the swimmers, not look for disqualifications. However, if you observe a violation, you must DQ the swimmer.
  2. You must take your job seriously; understand the rules and how they are applied.
  3. Call only what you see; not what you don’t see. If you are not sure, do not make the call; the benefit of the doubt always goes to the swimmer. Be confident and consistent in your calls. Do not be concerned that you might be DQ’ing your best friend’s child; it is your obligation if you see a violation. The coaches and swimmers know that DQ’s are not to be taken personally.
  4. Have fun and make the meet enjoyable for the swimmers and spectators. Remember, you’re there for the kids.

B. Prior to Meet

  1. Review technical rules the night before or when convenient prior to the meet. Remember USS rules apply.
  2. Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the meet. Report to the Volunteer Coordinator and identify yourself as a Stroke & Turn judge.
  3. We are not using a meet director at this (non-sanctioned) meet. Your pairings (you will be paired with a judge from the other team) will have been assigned. If your positioning and jurisdiction have not been assigned already, you may work that out among yourselves.
  4. Be present at your assigned position 5 minutes prior to the beginning of the meet.

C. During the Meet  (click for a printable copy of the Stroke Briefing)

  1. Know your assigned jurisdiction and focus your attention only on that area. You cannot make a call outside of your jurisdiction. Jurisdiction and positioning may vary from pool to pool.
  2. Give swimmers in your jurisdiction your undivided attention. Be consistent in your officiating. Avoid any distractions such as casual conversations with spectators, coaches, etc. Always be aware of the appropriate heat of the swimmers in the water. This is extremely important in order to avoid disqualification of the wrong swimmer. Use a checklist if needed and repeatedly confirm the heat number with your partner as well as via the voice commands of the starter. Spend an equivalent amount of time judging each lane in your jurisdiction, INCLUDING LANES WITH NO SWIMMERS. This will avoid undue overscrutiny of swimmers in incomplete heats.
  3. All disqualifications are subject to dual confirmation with your judging partner. Both officials must agree on the infraction or no call will be made. Discussion of each infraction is strongly encouraged. The swimmer is always given the benefit of the doubt. A “no call” is far better than an inappropriate disqualification.
  4. Don’t call what you can’t or don’t see. For example, in the simultaneous 2-hand touch turn/finish rule for breaststroke and butterfly events, don’t assume that a one-hand touch has occurred if only one hand touches above the waterline. You must see the position of both hands.
  5. If both you and your partner agree on an infraction, one of you must immediately signal a disqualification by raising a hand overhead.
  6. At the completion of the heat, one of you must fill out a DQ slip. Particular attention should be paid to the identification of the swimmer by virtue of event, heat, and lane. If you know the name and/or team of the swimmer, put that as well. Make sure the proper infraction(s) is noted on the slip. In the event of multiple infractions, make sure each is indicated. Be aware an incomplete or improperly filled out DQ slip will likely be rejected. In most instances this will be your only communication with the swimmer via the coach. Since a principal reason for stroke and turn judging is to provide the swimmer with constructive evaluation of illegal stroke technique in order to make the appropriate corrections for future competitions, make sure each infraction is explicitly described. Additional narrative comments on checklist slips are encouraged as a means of providing further clarification. Do not worry that a coach will be upset over a DQ; the dual confirmation is insurance that the call is likely correct. Most coaches will welcome DQ’s as a means to reinforce what he’s been telling a swimmer to do properly. You are not the bad guy.
  7. Once completed, a DQ slip should be signed by one of you. This signed slip is verification that a consensus DQ has been made. If at any time during the process of reporting a DQ, one of you changes your mind and the consensus is lost, the DQ slip should be destroyed and no call is made.
  8. A completed and signed DQ slip should be held aloft by one of you until it can be handed over to the designated person who will take it from you. **You may be instructed to hold the slips until the end of the meet and turn them all in together.**
  9. Do not engage in conversation with any swimmer, parent, or coach over judging or calls. Let the starter or coaches handle any problems. If the coach asks you to do something different, do not take it personally, and heed his instruction.
  10. Relay take-offs and turns are also judged by dual confirmation. Each judging pair is usually assigned to either the start or turn end of the pool. Each judge is separated from their partner, one observing from low to high numbered lanes and the other from high to low. Each judge watches takeoffs in all lanes. In observing for early take-off, you should watch the feet of the swimmer on the block first; when the feet lose contact with the block, immediately look for the touch of the incoming swimmer. If the incoming swimmer has not yet made contact with the wall, an early take-off is observed.
  11. Note the lane, team, and swimmer number (e.g, swimmer number 3 on the relay). If you observe an early takeoff, do not raise your hand. Instead, after completion of the relay, the two judges compare notes to see if there is a consensus as to the swimmer and the lane; no conversation need occur. If you both agree on one or more early takeoffs, a hand signal is given at that time to indicate a disqualification. You must both agree on the lane and which swimmer or there is no disqualification. With the exception of the first relay swimmer, who must remain stationary at the start, the other relay swimmers may be in motion but must have at least one foot on the edge of the deck/block prior to starting (i.e., no running, walking, etc., starts).


Swimmer Check-In 

Your post will be the check-in table on the balcony.
You will need to arrive 15 minutes before check-in to set up.
You will have a list of swimmers in the meet.
Sharpies will be supplied for you.

You will:

  • Check off the swimmers as present when they arrive
  • If the swimmer doesn’t have the event/heat/lane on their arm, use the sheet to mark it on their arm
    • Write the Event #, Heat #, and Lane # on their arm, in that order.  
    • It is also helpful to write the event description (i.e. "50 Fly") beside the numbers.  
    • For example, "2|5|3  50 Free" would mean that that swimmer is swimming in Event 2, Heat 5, Lane 3, and the event is the 50 Free.  
    • If you are unsure of how to do this, the other Swimmer Check-In people can help you, or you can find a coach to help! 
    • Veteran swimmers and parents are also good at this and can help you out. :)
  • Pass the BDA swimmers along to the tattoo person.
    • You will not have to do anything with tattoos. The tattoo person will handle that.


Volunteer Check-In

You will need to arrive 15 minutes prior to check-in to set up.
You will be stationed at the check-in table on the balcony.
You will have a list of the volunteers, their name tags and their “stuff”.
You will be checking in both teams volunteers.
From your post you will:
  • Check-in volunteers as present
  • Give the volunteer his/her name tag
  • Remind these volunteers of the meeting down on the deck (with the Starter or assigned person)
    • Starter
    • Stroke and Turn Judges
    • Clerks of Course
    • Head Timer
    • Timers
    • Heat Winner Distributor
  • Distribute “stuff” to the volunteers as necessary (these things will already be in piles for you)
    • Starter – heat sheet, pen/pencil, probably clipboard
    • Stroke and Turn judges – clipboard with pen/pencil and DQ slips
    • Timers – clipboard, stopwatch, timer sheet for their assigned lane, pen/pencil
    • Head timer – two stopwatches
    • Heat Winner Distributor – bag of prizes
    • Event Sign Managers- heat sheets
    • Team Parents- heat sheets
    • Gear Seller- spare change and gear to sell
    • Tattoo people –bucket of water, sponge, cloth, trashcan, tattoos
    • Clerks of Course – heat sheets, pen/pencil
    • Swimmer check-in – swimmer list and pen/pencil, sharpies
  • Remind the volunteers to return their “stuff” to the check-in table after the meet.

Tattoo Giver 

Immediately after swimmer check-in, the swimmer will go to you
Your responsibilities are to:

  • Keep that big stack of tattoos dry!
  • Make sure the swimmer is a BDA swimmer!
  • Give the swimmer one BDA tattoo
  • Put the tattoo on the swimmer’s upper right arm – this marks the swimmer as BDA
  • If the swimmer has purchased other tattoos, they can put them in other places.

There will be a bucket of water, sponge and trashcan there for you to use
Try to keep all the tattoos application near you so the trash goes into the trashcan
You will need to arrive 15 minutes prior to check-in to set up.

Gear Seller 

You will need to arrive 15 minutes prior to check-in time to set up.
will be stationed near the check-in table on the balcony.
You will be next to the Tattoo Giver.
You will get gear to sell and change to use from Matti.
Purchased tattoos should be applied right there, if possible, to minimize trash elsewhere.
Please return the unsold items and the money to Matti.
We will have a list of shirt sizes for you to mark off which sizes you sell (so we know for our inventory).
We may have pre-ordered shirts for you to give out. 

Team Parent

Your job is multi-faceted. You might want to bring a chair but you should definitely wear comfortable shoes.
Your primary responsibilities are:

  • to keep the swimmers on deck for as much of the meet as possible
  • to make sure any young swimmer who needs to go to the restroom is accompanied by a responsible person (which may be you)
  • to help get the swimmers to the clerk area and corral them back to their towels, etc. 

Specifically, here are your jobs:

  • Help the swimmers stay within the designated team area when they are not in the clerk of course lineup.
  • If a swimmer wants to go upstairs, make sure they are met by a parent or other responsible person.
  • If a swimmer wants to go to the restroom, accompany them or stand right outside the door until they are finished or send an older, same-gender swimmer in with him/her. There are doors to the outside from the locker rooms and we don’t want anyone leaving without us knowing.
  • If you see goggles lying around unaccompanied, please find the owner and put them around their neck. This can prevent a panic at the last minute when said swimmer has to rush to the clerk area.
  • Keep tabs on the younger ones – checking their arms when you hear the call from the clerks. If you think one of them is swimming, take the swimmer to the clerk and have the clerk check their sheet. If the swimmer needs to swim, the clerk will take the
  • swimmer. If the swimmer is not swimming, you can re-focus him/her back to their towel.
  • If the swimmer is ready to leave the meet, help them gather all their things and make sure they get to a parent or other responsible adult. It can be a crisis when Barbie loses a shoe or Hans Solo loses his light sabre. Have the swimmer check carefully to see that they have what they came with.
  • No swimmer of any age should leave though the doors or locker rooms, only the stairs to the balcony!


We would love to have pictures of BDA in action!  Your job is to take photos on deck at the meet, then make them accessible to the coaches so they can pass them along to the parents.  Parents will always have the final say and can request taking down or deleting any picture of their child.