Volunteering for Swim Meets 

When we stage a swim meet, we are attending or hosting an event for approximately 200+ athletes and their families. The goal is always that the meet runs smoothly and safely. It takes many people to make that happen.

There are a number of different types of volunteer jobs – just sign up at the website!  If you do not sign up for a job prior to the meet, you will be assigned a job by the Meet Manager upon your arrival.

If your child is swimming in a meet, plan to volunteer for half of the meet. The exact times depend upon the size and pace of the meet, but the early shift is generally from 4:30 to 7:00 and the late shift is generally from 7:00 to 9:00. Sometimes (depending upon attendance at the meet) we don’t end up with enough volunteers, and we have to ask for extra help. Conversely, sometimes we have more than enough volunteers and some folks will get to take the night off. NOTE: Six-and-unders swim ONLY during the first half of the meet.

Volunteer Task descriptions

Meet Manager – Confirms volunteer roster two days prior to meet. Recruits or assigns volunteers for openings. Makes nametags for the various assignments. Arrives at the meet early to assure all spots are filled. Assists in mid meet transition of workers. 

Deck Manager – Each team will provide a deck manager. This person is in charge of the ready area and shall line up all swimmers on the deck for his or her event. He/she shall be provided with the “heat sheet” listing names of all swimmers in all events. He/she shall notify each swimmer to wait behind the starting block until the starter takes control of the race. The visiting team shall arrange for someone to work in the ready area to assist the deck manager in identifying swimmers. These people should be strong-natured. Corralling the swimmers and making sure that they are in place is difficult yet critical to the smooth running of the meet. Each team is responsible for making sure that their swimmers report to the ready area from the team area in time to be checked in by the deck manager. 

Timers – At all meets, times shall be taken on each lane. Each team shall provide two timers for each of their team's lanes. In a five-lane pool the home team will provide two timers for the fifth lane. One of the timers will operate the watch and the other will record the times on the lane timer worksheet. In all events, at all times, the timer must have a clear view of the race and finish line. The timer shall look at the starter’s device and start the watch at the instant of the flash or sound. The timer shall stop the watch immediately when any part of the swimmer’s body touches the solid end of the pool as defined by the USS rulebook. The second timer shall record times on the timer’s worksheet and communicate these times to the master recorder who shall record them on the score sheet. 

Master Recorder – Each team will provide a Master Recorder. The master recorder collects the UK Judges Placing Form from the Judge’s Recorder when the event is complete and all places have been recorded. The master recorder will then go to each lane and record each swimmer's time in the Time Column of the UK Judges Placing Form as noted by the recording timer. With all places and times recorded, the master recorder will deliver the completed UK Judges Placing Form to the scoring table either directly or via the runner. Each team can alternate this job for each race. 

Place Judges – Each team shall provide a place judge. The judges must in all events and, at all times command a clear view of the race and finish line. Judges shall not serve as timers in the same race. The judges are to judge the place finishes as they see them. The judges are to write the place finish on the UK judge’s placing form. The judge’s recorder at the end of the race will copy that order of finish. The place judges override the times and the starter/referee over rides the place judges if there is a dispute.

Bullpen Parents – These volunteers are assigned to keep up with RVA swimmers from various age groups and to have them lined up and ready for the Deck Manager as their event approaches. A list of events, swimmers and their lanes will be provided. It is important to think about eight events ahead so that you can find the swimmers and get them organized. You should also monitor them during down time between their events. Make sure they are pumped and well behaved. 

Tidy Cats – These are the folks that diligently follow up as the meet is completed and the swimmers are leaving to make sure that the deck and pool area is cleared of all rubbish and that the garbage is taken to the dumpster. 


Volunteers specific for Home Meets

Announcer – The host team will arrange for someone to act as announcer. In addition, they shall provide him with equipment to perform his duty. This equipment includes loudspeaker or bullhorn and an order of events. Announcing for each meet must be loud enough to be understood by participants, officials and spectators. Example of correct commands:

  • First call, event number and event description (i.e. "Event number 1, 6 & under girls free relay. Please report to the blocks")
  • After a short interval repeat the above for the second call.
  • At the end of second call, wait a short interval and give final call for the event.
  • The announcer should follow this procedure for all remaining events.

Try to stay three events ahead of the event in the water. At all times the announcer should know what is going on – the event number, number of heats per event etc. so that calls can be made without haste. This keeps the meet running smoothly. At all times the next event should be on the deck. Working closely and communicating with the deck manager and starter is vitally important in this position. The announcer should avoid talking while the starter is giving commands the swimmers. 

Judge’s Recorder – The host team will supply a judge’s recorder. This person will place himself/herself behind the place judges with their own copy of the UK Judges Placing Form. When the race is finished and the judges and starter/referee have ruled on the place finishes, he/she will record the places in the appropriate block on the UK Judges Placing Form. For swimmers who have been disqualified by the starter/referee the judge’s recorder will write “DQ” in the place block for that swimmer. The judge’s recorder then passes the completed UK Judges Placing Form to the master recorder. The judge’s recorder has no say in the order of finish and should not attempt to influence the place judges. 

Event Card Turner – The host team arranges for a sign to show the event numbers as they happen during the meet.  This person is responsible for keeping the sign current throughout the meet.

Concession Stand Workers – Only the host team provides concession workers. This very important post assists with set-up and clean-up of food and drinks that are sold at the meets. Concession workers take orders, serve food, and collect money. 

Grill Masters – Only the host team provides Grill Masters. These volunteers set up the grill and cook the food for the concession stand.