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Tips and Hints on Marshalling for a Swimming Race

A friend of mine, Mark, is a wonderful official who volunteers his time on a weekly basis to help swimmers of all ages in Victoria, Australia to compete in swimming competitions.

We spoke recently about some of the frustrations of officials at swim meets and in particular how swimmers should prepare for a race.

Here are a couple of Mark’s key tips.

In general swimmers will be asked to arrive 1 ½  hours before their first race . If any swimmers are unsure of what time they should arrive they should  always ask their coach prior to the meet.

Prior to the start of the swimming carnival all swimmers should be aware of all races ,heats and lanes they are competing in for that day  .It is helpful for some swimmers to write these events on their hands to help remind them throughout the day .

It is extremely important all swimmers warm up prior to their races and report to their coaches for last minute instructions and encouragement.  Failure to allow enough time may result in a poor performance or worst case missing your race .  Many swimmers have missed races by failing to judge the time between warm up and marshalling .

Most swimming clubs will send out timelines of events prior to the start of the day . Although these are a helpful guideline, that is all they are as events are often run ahead of schedule as heats are merged or delayed . “It is the swimmers responsibility to constantly check the marshalling board” for sudden changes .

On arrival at the pool it is important to make yourself familiar as  to where the marshalling/call room and Event Marshall boards are.  If you are not familiar with the pool please ask you coach or a official to show you . In most cases the officials will marshal at least three events in advance of the current race . Once your event is  shown as marshalling make your way immediately to the marshalling room or to the call area and report to official in charge with your marshal bag , drinks etc.  Give the marshal your name event number heat and lane and they will sign you off.  If for any reason you wish to leave the marshalling room or call area you MUST notify the official . Not all officials are comfortable with swimmers leaving once they have marshalled  so please make every effort to  have everything prepared for your race once you enter the room or area.

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