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January 14, 2010

Ensuring Your Swimmers' Races Count

“I took my swimmers to a sanctioned meet, and after returning from the meet, we were informed that the times from the meet would not count as official times. This was a total surprise. Is there a way that I can be sure that my swimmers’ times at future meets will count as official times for USMS purposes?”

Yes, you can be a watchful eye in ensuring that your swimmers’ times at USMS-sanctioned meets will count as official times.

Prior to the meet ask:

  • Is the pool measured and certified for proper length?
    • Contact the host LMSC to see if the pool is certified for length or visit the USMS Records and Tabulation website. The Records and Tabulations website provides a link to check measured pools by state and lists pools that have been measured and certified for length.
    • Remember, if it is a bulkhead pool, the two outside lanes and a center lane must be measured after each session of the meet to verify pool length. (105.1.6 and .7; and 107.2.1A, B, C, and D). You can check to make sure that happens. It is a good idea to ask before the meet starts if they have already checked the bulkhead pool measurement just to be sure. Why wait until it’s too late to ensure that swimmers’ times will be official?
  • Is the referee a certified official?
    • There must be at least one official who is certified as a referee, starter, or stroke and turn judge, and the referee must be that certified official (103.2).
  • Are there at least two officials?
    • There must be a referee, a starter, and two stroke and turn judges. The referee and the starter may each also serve as stroke and turn judges, thus requiring a minimum of two officials to fill those four positions; not ideal but it meets the minimum requirements. (103.1.1)
  • Are timers assigned to every lane?
    • There must be at least one timer per lane if automatic timing is used, at least two timers per lane if automatic timing is not used (103.1.2). See the exception for records below.

If the requirements above are not in place, insist that the meet not proceed until those requirements are met. Also check:

  • Is the primary timing system a fully automatic timing system, 3 semiautomatic buttons per lane, or 3 watches per lane in order to meet national and world record requirements?
    • If you have swimmers or relays that could break national or world records, make sure that these timing requirements are in place. And, no, two semiautomatic buttons and one watch, or vice versa, do not meet this requirement. (103.13.3)
  • Are 50-meter split times at long course meets recorded by fully automatic timing?
    • USMS accepts only fully automatic timing for splits to count for official purposes in USMS (103.13.3, 105.2.2, and 105.3.6). Remember; split times in 25- and 50-meter pools recorded by 3 watches count only for world records (103.13.3).
  • Are they following the meet information as published (for example, not adding events or time trials at the meet)?
    • The order of events as stated in the meet announcement cannot be changed, except that the referee can consolidate events by distance and stroke (102.13.1 and .2). Times from events or time trials added at the meet will not count for official USMS purposes. Exceptions allowing changes are in 102.13.3 and 102.13.4.

If you have questions regarding the rules presented above or any other USMS rule, you many contact Kathy Casey, USMS Rules Chair, (rules@usms.org)