Awards. After the scorer has entered a few events, he/she will print labels for the ribbons. The awards people will then take the label off the sheet to place on the correct ribbon. The awards volunteers then sort the ribbons into home and away teams. When the meet is finished, the away team can take their ribbons with them. Our home team ribbons can be put into swimmer files for pick-up. This is another easy job for parents with small children, as the kids can help. Volunteers can also walk away from this job and come back as needed. Requires 2 people for home meets.
Bullpen. This is a huge and very important undertaking to smoothly run a meet! These volunteers stand in a designated area and basically herd the swimmers to the correct place. Bullpen workers will use a heat sheet to organize the kids. Each swim event is numbered. The swimmers know their event numbers and will come to the bullpen a few events before it’s their turn to swim. Bullpen workers will look at the heat sheet and tell the swimmers where to go and line up.
Most bullpens have benches or chairs lined up with numbers on them. The swimmers will sit on their corresponding lane number for their heat. Some events will have only one heat; other events might have two or more heats. So it’s important the swimmers are lined up for the correct heat!
Volunteers use a set of numbers they can flip so that swimmers (and their parents) know when to go to the bullpen. This also gives workers the opportunity to organize 2-3 events at a time. The 10 and under swimmers are more difficult to herd; plus there are a lot of them! The 11 and over swimmers are easier to handle because they pretty much know what they’re doing.
The bullpen requires people who are organized, patient and have a loud voice! This job requires standing, but one can take a rest every now and then. Requires 2-3 people during home meets and 1-2 people at away meets.
Concession Stand. We have a concession stand at our home meets where we sell food/drink items to fuel the swimmers, workers and spectators. This is an easy to job for parents with small children, as they love to help in the concession stand. Volunteers can also step away from the job to watch their kid’s races or simply come back when it’s busier. Requires 2-3 people for home meets.
Head Timer. This person holds two or three extra stop watches, and starts all at the beginning of each race. If one of the other timers has any watch issues or misses the start, the timer simply raises his/her hand. Then the head timer goes over and gives other timer a watch to finish that race. The head timer might also choose to stand at that lane and time the rest of the race. This job requires standing and paying attention. Requires 1-2 people at our home meets.
Hospitality. This person takes water to all the volunteers working the meet. He/she will bring a cooler with wheels (or we’ll provide one) to make the rounds. This is another great job for parents with small children, as they can walk around with you to hand out water. Requires 1-2 people for home meets.
Officials. Both home and away teams supply these volunteers. Officials must have completed training at the beginning of the season to understand the strokes and rules of swimming. Officials are like the refs of the swimming world; they watch each race, often walking along the side of the pool. They make sure swimmers are doing strokes correctly, and that finishes are according to the rules. If a swimmer makes an infraction, the official records this as a DQ (disqualification) so that the scorer can enter this into computer scoring system. If DQed, the swimmer will not score points or get a ribbon for that event. Requires 3-6 people for each meet.
Runner. This volunteer collects the timers’ sheets once events on that sheet are completed. The runner goes down along the lanes to collect the sheets and then takes over to scorer’s table. This job requires standing and walking, but can be done on an as-needed basis. Requires 1-2 people for home meets.
Scorer. This person is trained on our league’s scoring software at the beginning of the season. Two or three people should know how to do this, so that there’s coverage in cases when someone is sick or on vacation. The scorer gets the timer sheets from the runner as the meet goes along, and then enters swimmer times into the system. This allows us to print swimmer awards. It is helpful to have someone enter times in the computer while another person reads the times off the sheet of paper, but not necessary. The scorer also enters DQ’s into the system. At the end of the meet, the home and away coaches receive a printout of meet results from the scorer. Requires 1-2 people for home meets.
Starter. This person stands at the end of the pool near the blocks and starts all the races. The starter blows a whistle and uses a microphone to command the swimmers on what they should do. A good starter runs a smooth and efficient meet. This is a trained and certified position. Requires 1 person.
Timer. Our league requires 3 timers per lane at all swim meets. (Three people standing at the end of the lane with stop watches.) These people start their stop watches when the starter’s light flashes and the horn sounds. When the swimmer touches the wall at the finish, timers stop their watches. One of the timers will record the times on provided clipboard, while the other two timers tell the clipboard person what times they got. Once times are recorded, all three people reset their watches and prepare for the next race.
At home meets, we are required to supply two timers per lane and the away team supplies one. At away meets, we supply one timer and the home team supplies two. The meet is often split in half, so we’ll have first-half and second-half timers. This job requires standing the entire time, so comfy shoes are a must! Also be prepared to get a little wet. Requires 12-16 timers for away meets and up to 40 timers for our biggest home meet.