As a Timekeeper you are responsible for taking the manual (stop watch) times for the swimmer in your lane. You may also be required to stop the backup (semi-automatic) timing when the swimmer in your lane has finished the race. (There is no longer a national qualification for Timekeeper.)

Timekeeping is a very important role, to the swimmer you are the most important official on poolside.

The following attributes make a good timekeeper:

✓ Good hearing

✓ Good eyesight

✓ Good concentration – Not too much talking during the race

✓ Honesty – if you fail to start your watch on the start signal tell the Chief Timekeeper.

Prior to the Meet-

Report to the Chief Timekeeper (CTK) at least fifteen minutes prior to the start time for the meet.

Check the watch you have been assigned is in good working order and that you are familiar with the functions of the watch.  If you require assistance ask the CTK to help.

Electronic timing: When electronic timing is being used you will need to decide with your Chief Lane Timekeeper which backup button you are to use and where you will position it after each race.

Your backup button should be operated with the hand you write with.

Your stop watch is held in the other hand. You may need to practice starting and stopping your watch in this hand.

The backup timing equipment starts when the start signal is given by the Starter so you don’t have to worry about it at the start of the race. However you do have to start your watch.

During the Meet-

Do not talk to the swimmers prior to their race unless they talk to you first.

Prior to the start of the race the Referee will signal to the swimmers to prepare for the start of the race either by getting up on the starting blocks or into the pool (in backstroke) by a long blow of his/her whistle.

For backstroke there will be a second whistle to bring the swimmers in the water up to the starting position. These whistles indicate to the Timekeepers that the race is due to start.  At this point in time you should be fully concentrating and listening for the starting signal.

It is recommended that you do not watch the Starter, concentrate on an object near you and listen carefully for the start signal. You may not always be able to hear the Starter say “Take your marks” so concentration following the Referee’s whistle is important to hear the start signal.

The start signal is usually by electronic beep.

After the race has started, inspect your watch and make sure it is going. If it has not started, indicate to the CTK by standing that you have missed the start.

During the race keep your watch in a safe position so that buttons cannot accidentally be knocked stopping the watch prematurely.

Keep track of the number of lengths the swimmer has swum.

If you are at the start end, when the swimmer is about 15m (that is at the false start rope) from the finish of the race, stand and position yourself at the end of the lane.

If electronic timing is being used pick up your backup button. Take care not to stand on the top of the Touch Pads.

When the swimmer has approx. 1.5m to go take your eyes off the swimmer and cast them down the finish wall of the pool and wait for the swimmer to touch the wall.

As soon as you see the swimmer touch the wall, simultaneously press your backup button and stop your watch.

Return to your seat and write your time on your session sheet beside the event and heat.

A swimmer may ask for their time which is okay but advise them it is unofficial.

If you see a swimmer make a technical error, do not stop your watch and backup button until the swimmer touches at the end of the race. This is the responsibility of the IOT, and JoS or the Referee.

The official time for a swimmer is established by using the following rules:

If electronic timing is in use the electronic pad time is the official time. If the pad time fails the electronic backup button time is the official time. If both electronic pad and backup fail the hand-held stop watch time is the official time according to the above rules.

Good timekeepers on a lane should record times within 0 to 15 one hundredths of a second of each other. However a tolerance of up to 30 one hundredths of a second is acceptable.

At the end of the Meet

Return your watch and timekeeper sheets to the office and report any problems you experience with it e.g. fading display, sticking buttons.•

This information is from Swimming New Zealand