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Timer Instructions

Please be sure to attend the Timer’s Meeting at the beginning of the meet. Listen for the announcement as to where and when. 

ALL timers from BOTH shifts need to attend the morning meeting. Even if you are timing 2 nd shift and have timed before there may be new instructions you need to hear. 

Please be on time for your shift! Shift changes tend to be chaotic and if you are there right away things will proceed more smoothly saving time and confusion. Much time is lost locating second shift timers when the shift changes. 

Shift 1 typically runs from Event 1 through Event 48. 

Shift 2 typically runs from Event 49 through Event 90. 

Actual shift change may vary at away pools. Listen for the announcement over the speakers as to when you need to report. 

If for some reason you cannot time for your shift please notify the Volunteer Coordinator immediately so a replacement can be found. 

Shift 1 timers please stay a few minutes to make sure second shift timers know how to handle the watches. 

Shift 2 timers please be available to sub-in to relieve first shift timers.

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Timing with the Dolphin System

As one of three timers on a lane you will be issued a Dolphin timing watch. One of the timers will also be issued a clipboard, pencil, an extra manual stop watch for backup, and a Lane Event List listing all of the events with swimmers.

At Dam West we do not use cards for the swimmers when using the automated system. (Some teams may use them as a backup.)

All swimmers should have their names written on their backs in Sharpie. If not, ask them their name. Timers should check their name against the name in the listing to make sure they have the correct swimmer in their lane for each heat. If there is a discrepancy – raise your hand or shout out to the Starter to pause until the discrepancy can be resolved.

Start of Event:

Timing begins automatically through the computer. If you have no one in your lane swimming the heat, wait until after the event begins and press reset on the watch. Do Nothing else.

For a “False Start” Do Nothing. The Starter will restart the system.

For “6 & Under” events timers will move to the other end of pool and wait for the swimmers there. Take the watches with you and move to the correct corresponding lane at the other end of the pool.

End of Event:

Timers MUST have access to the pool edge. They should politely ask anyone (including coaches) to move out of the way so they can see the finish.

Timing ends when ANY part of swimmer touches the wall. (Finger, nose, head, toe - it doesn't matter!)  Press either button on the sides of the watch to stop the time.

IMPORTANT: Timers are NOT to judge how the swimmer touches or whether the swimmer DQ’d. This is for Stroke & Turn Judges to determine. Please do not report a DQ to judges; they are only allowed to make a decision based on what they have observed.

If you accidentally press stop (for example on a 100 freestyle and you think it’s a 50) repress the button and it will resume correctly; the computer is still running the time.

Recording Results:

The timer with the Lane Event List will write only one of the times from the Dolphin watches on the Lane Event List next to the corresponding event name (this is for backup only).

There is no need to adjust the watches. They will reset automatically. Runners will pick up sheets when they are full. 

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Timing with Watches (back-up if Dolphin System fails)

Three timers will be assigned to each lane. Each timer should have two stop watches for doing fly-overs. (See below.) One Timer will be provided with a clipboard and pencil. This Timer will be in charge of taking the swimmers event card and correctly recording the three finish times from each Timer onto the card. When completed this Timer will hold the card up for a Runner to come by and pick up.

Before Each Heat:

Check your watch and make sure it is “zeroed” out.

Timers should check the swimmer’s name against their heating card to make sure they have the correct swimmer in their lane for each heat. If there is a discrepancy or you did

not get a card raise your hand or shout out to the Starter to pause until the discrepancy can be resolved.

Start of Event:

If you have a starting system with a strobe light - start your watch on the strobe NOT the sound of the horn.

If you miss a start with your watch - raise your hand, yell “BACK-UP” and the Backup Timer will provide you with a backup watch for the heat. (Just swap watches.)

Always start your watch for each race, whether you have a swimmer in your lane or not. You may be required to provide backup for some other lane.

End of Event:

Timing ends when ANY part of swimmer touches wall.

Record each watch time FULLY in the appropriate place on the card.

The person who is writing the times on the swimmer’s card should record the other timers’ information first and then record his/her watch’s time. 

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Fly-Over & Back-Up Watches

At Dam West meets we use a technique called Fly-Overs.

A fly-over is when the first swimmer remains in the water at the finish of his event while the next swimmer to go dives over him to begin her event. This is done instead of having the swimmers climb out of the pool before the next swimmer goes. Fly-overs help to facilitate the events and reduce the overall time of the meet. We provide timers with 2 watches for fly-overs.

At a meet using a “fly-over’ procedure:

  • Start your first watch with your first swimmer.
  • When the swimmer completes his/her swim stop your watch leaving the time on the watch and drop your watch around your neck.
  • Immediately pick up your second watch and prepare to start recording the next swimmer.
  • Start second watch for next swimmer.
  • While the second swimmer is swimming write the times recorded from the prior swimmer on the card.
  • Clear your watch and be ready for timing the next swimmer.
  • Do not try to write the time from the first swimmer immediately (you could miss the start for the next swimmer).

Do not try to remember it to write later. There are many distractions at a meet and you could easily make a mistake. (Would you want a timer to put the incorrect time down for your swimmer?)

Always record your watch times, even if the swimmer in your lane is disqualified.

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That's It!

Although these instructions may seem daunting at first, timing really is very simple and straight forward. Your Head Timer will be there to check on you if you need a break, water, new watch, etc.

Timing is one way you can watch the meet, be behind the blocks with your swimmer and interact with parents from the other teams. Many long term friendships have started at the blocks. We encourage all parent volunteers to become proficient as Timers. 

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