Many parents wonder how they can be a part of their children’s swimming events. There are three primary methods:

  1. Timekeep at a swimming event (contact your swim clubs Meet Director)
  2. Become a member of the GCRSA Committee (For information on committee roles and responsibilities refer here)
  3. Train to become an official (read further below)

Carrying out the duties of an Official has many benefits, least of which is that the meet runs smoothly and more efficiently!  You can know that you have played an important role in the event, and your participation will also allow your child to see that volunteering to assist in official duties at their events is an important role, and one to be proud of.

Swimming Gold Coast can help your club carry out training and accreditation of parents who are interested in becoming qualified officials.  Encourage other parents to participate and soon you will be enjoying the satisfaction of knowing that you were an integral part of the success of your club’s meet.

For further information on how to become an accredited official, contact the Chief Referee –

Swimming Gold Coast, Sharon Wicking :  0408 727 754

Below is a brief overview on some of the various technical official roles in which you may be interested in becoming involved.


The responsibilities of the Referee are many and varied. The over-riding function is to see that a Meet is properly conducted in regard to applying the Rules, and, in all ways, assuring the swimmers of fair competitive conditions.


When the Referee’s whistle is blown to indicate the start of a race, check that the watch is switched on and zeroed

Watch the Starter’s gun and start the watch on the flash or smoke.  If a hooter or whistle is used, start the watch on the sound.

Immediately after the start, check that the watch is functioning correctly.

If the watch fails to start or does not function properly, notify the Chief Timekeeper who will arrange for a reserve timekeeper or the Chief to take over for that event.

The watch is stopped immediately any part of the Swimmer’s body comes into contact with the wall at the finishing end.

After stopping the watch, return immediately to their seat before reading the watch and having the time recorded.

Judge of Strokes

It is desirable to have two officials serve as Judges of Strokes on each side of the pool.  A Stroke Judge should observe all swimmers to ensure they are swimming in accordance with the rules pertaining to the stroke being swum.  They should range up and down the side of the pool, generally a bit behind the swimmers, varying their positions to improve their perspective of the swimmers they are inspecting.

They will also assist the Inspectors of Turns in observing the turns and the finish of each event.

A Judge of Strokes makes a report to the Referee of any infraction they observe.  The report must contain full details of the infringement.

Inspector of Turns

Inspectors of Turns ensure that when turning, competitors comply with the relevant turning Rules, commencing from the beginning of the last arm stroke before touching and ending with the completion of the first arm stroke after turning.

They will report any infringements to the Chief Inspector of Turns, who conveys the report to the Referee.  The report must contain full details of the infringement.


The Starter shall take up a position for the start of a race on the side of the pool within approximately five (5) metres of the starting end of the pool, where the Timekeepers can see the starting signal and the competitors can hear it.

The Starter shall have control of the competitors from the time the Referee turns them over to him until he is satisfied that the start is fair, subject only to the discretion of the Referee.

The Starter shall subject to the authority of the Referee, make a recommendation to the Referee in respect of any competitor who delays the start or disobeys his instructions.  Only the Referee has the power to confirm disqualification.

Chief Judge & Judge

The Chief Judge will ensure that each Judge is provided with a program and a quantity of pads on which they will write the lane numbers in the order in which the competitors finish as seen by each Judge. And will obtain a Judge’s result Sheet for each race. There should be at least three judges and, if possible, five on the panel. (The odd number is necessary to arrive at a decision).

Clerks of Course (Call Steward)

The Clerk of Course may call up swimmers by word of mouth, or marshalling board, or arrange that, prior to the commencement of the session, the Announcer calls up the competitors for the first two events and thereafter the competitors for at least two events ahead of the event in progress.  This allows time for the competitors to be assembled in the Marshalling Area, and for the Clerk of Course, in conjunction with the Recording Section, to combine heats if necessary.

The names of the competitors must be called loudly and clearly.  Swimmers must always be called using their full name, never addressed by surname or first name only.

The Clerk of Course will tick off the names of those who are present, and after having given sufficient calls, cross off the names of those who have not reported or who have indicated that they do not intend to take part in the particular event.

The Clerk of Course will check for any breach of advertising rules, check that approved swimsuits are worn and that there is no body tape.

The Clerk of Course has NO power to disqualify a swimmer from starting.  Only the Referee has the power to disqualify.

Check Starter

The Check Starter shall receive competitors and race sheets from the Clerks of Course.  Make sure all of the competitors are marked present or absent.

Ensure that the competitors are the correct ones for the next race by checking event and names against the Program or amended Race Sheets.

Inform the competitors of their lane numbers.

Instruct the competitors when to move on to pool deck.

Prior to the commencement of a race, position each competitor behind his correct starting block.

Desk Control (Recorder)

The Recorders shall print and separate the Race Sheets for the Clerks of Course.

The Chief Recorder is responsible for checking results from computer printouts or from results of times and placing in each event received from the Referee.

The Recorders shall control withdrawals after the Heats or Finals, enter results on official forms, list all new records established, and maintain scores where appropriate.

For more information see the brochure below or visit Swimming Australia Technical Officials web pages

brochure – accreditation program national technical official