Health & Fitness

Judges in swimming: what are their duties?

As in most sports, organizing competitive swimming events requires people to do justice to it. Although they often go unnoticed, the role of judges in swimming is really important with lifeguard certification. We tell you about their duties and functions!

The image we have of referees in different sports usually includes them as just another actor on the field of play. This is the case in traditional sports such as football, basketball, rugby, or handball.

However, in other disciplines, such as swimming, they go almost unnoticed. This in no way means that their role is less relevant. Learn about everything the judges do in swimming in each of the competitions!

Judges in swimming: how many are there?

  1. Referee: he is the general person in charge of the control. Signal with a whistle for swimmers to get ready and take their positions on the starting grid or in the water. Once all of this is done, he reaches out and delegates responsibility to the starter.
  2. Starting judge: as its name indicates, it is responsible for ordering and controlling the start of each race. It is placed to one side of the platforms and is the one who gives the order to execute the exit, in addition to deciding if it has been valid.
  3. Lap inspectors: there is one per lane at each end of the pool, this means that there can be up to 16 of them. Your task is to check that the competitors make the full course and that the turns are made correctly.
  4. Style judges accompany the swimmer on his journey. They check that the requirements and technique of each style are met and also help the judges back with the turns.
  5. Finish judges: they may or may not be there, as this aspect can be automated. Its function is to supervise the arrival of the swimmers to the finish line.

Other judges in competitive swimming

To those we previously named, we can also add other functions somewhat more linked to administrative matters, as detailed in this Judges’ Manual.

And certifying the results and records obtained. It also includes the timekeepers, who are responsible for each swimmer’s time (this is automated in high-level competitions today).

Likewise, we must also appoint the senior officer, who checks the state of the track and the swimmers’ clothing, among other issues with lifeguard certification; and the person in charge of the false start rope, who stands at a certain distance from the start to indicate, together with an audible signal, that there has been an invalid start.

Punitive powers of judges in swimming

One of the most important responsibilities of these referees is to sanction athletes who do not respect the rules in competition with lifeguard certification.

Disqualifications and other less serious sanctions are in charge of the competition referee. There is the possibility that it is he himself.

Final remarks

To conclude, it is appropriate to clarify that the judges must wear clothing. That identifies them and must have the necessary material to perform their role in each competition. This is generally the responsibility of the organizers.

On the other hand, there must be effective communication between them, as well as good treatment of swimmers. Assistants to the head referee inform you of rule breaches in a post-competition report.

In events where there is an announcer or entertainer. It is essential that the referee does not allow him to replace him in his tasks. For example when announcing the preparation of the athletes.

In short, being a swimming judge is a huge responsibility that requires effort, concentration, and commitment. Respect and the pursuit of sports justice must be above any other value in the case of these collaborators. Often ‘forgotten’ at the end of the day. But essential for everything to turn out in the best way.

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Open water mode

The total distance of these tests is around 30 kilometers – some a little more and others less -, which differentiates them from the FINA Marathon Swim World Series, whose races are 10 kilometers long.

However, these events also have other more accessible events for non-professional swimmers. For example, as detailed on the website of the first WOWSS test of the year, aQuellé Midmar Mile, during Saturday and Sunday tests are held for children, for the elderly, and for people with disabilities, among others.

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