High School Meet Management

Revised 6 September 2018


  • Arrive at pool, fully dressed (white shirt, khaki pants) and ready to work 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the assigned meet. Your name badge is considered part of your uniform and is required!
  • Always have rule book, whistle, pen, voluntary dive list, headset and batteries.
  • If a previous meet is running over, go ahead and meet with your coaches and get diving sheets. As soon as the previous meet is completed, start warm-ups and tell coaches when the meet will begin.
  • Check starting blocks. DO NOT allow ANY diving from blocks during warm-ups OR the meet if the distance from the front edge of the block to the water is greater than 30 inches or if the pool is less than 4 feet deep at the starting blocks or out to a distance of 16 feet, 5 inches (5 meters) from the end wall.


  • Introduce yourself to the coaches of all teams.
  • Swimming warm-ups may begin as soon as a coach is on deck to supervise.
  • NFHS has rescinded the rule prohibiting jewelry. You no longer have to check swimmers for jewelry.
  • Diving warm-ups may begin when flags, ropes, etc. are removed. NO swimming in the diving lanes.
  • Ask for all diving sheets. If not ready, remind them that all sheets must be in 15 minutes prior to scheduled start.
  • Ask if diving will be first, last, or in the normal position after the 50-freestyle. If there is a separate diving well, the event can be conducted simultaneously with swimming events. We are informed of this ahead of time to provide appropriate judges. Coaches must agree to move the event from regular order.
  • Ask the home coach for a heat sheet for all officials. If heat sheets are not available, ask if the meet has any exhibition heats and/or events without competitors. Remember that the referee will need to count exhibition heats and include them in the post-meet report in Arbiter Sports.
  • Ask the home coach if dive-over starts will be used or if swimmers will need to clear the pool prior to the next race beginning. Ensure the other coaches are aware.

Dive Sheets

  • Start checking all diving sheets.
  • Voluntary dive must be first and from the assigned group for that date. DD=1.8 or less. May be any dive from that group. Coaches may not deviate from the GHSA voluntary dive list for any reason.
  • Check all dives for #. Description, position, DD. "Layout" is not a high school position. "Front dive" is not a high school dive.
  • The 5 optional dives must include a minimum of 4 of the 5 categories of dives. Do NOT include the voluntary dive when counting categories.
  • Make sure all sheets are signed by BOTH diver and coach before approving the dive sheet.
  • Call diver or coach over for any corrections/problems. Do NOT make any corrections on the dive sheet yourself.
  • Remind coaches to submit missing diving sheets if all were not submitted previously. Do NOT accept sheets later than 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the meet unless there was a natural disaster!

15 Minutes Until Start

  • Continue supervising warm-ups. If a coach is not on deck, that team may NOT be in the water.
  • Get all meet volunteers and workers together.
  • Scorers, usually 2 from each team. Make sure they understand the scoring system. Remind them of different scoring for individuals / relays. Remind them that (1) no team may score 3 times in a relay event. Any disagreement between finish judges must be settled by the referee. (2) Look for DQ's and exhibition swimmers before recording the score.
  • Timers, usually 2 per lane, assigned by each team for their lanes. Make sure they know how to operate their watch, visually start with starter, record times, never give permission to swimmers to enter the water, be ready for each start, call referee for any problems, keep swimmers away from blocks / edge during events, record 500 laps, look for swimmer to step onto the block at whistle command, and remind backstrokers to step into the pool feet first.
  • Runner, usually 1 or 2 from the home team. Pick up slips from both finish judges and each head timer. Include automatic timing slip when in use. Take slips to scoring table.
  • Finish Judges, 1 from each team in a dual meet, sitting on opposite sides of the pool. Write down lane #'s in order of finish. Try to get all lanes written down. Not necessary with automatic timing equipment.

5 Minutes Until Start

  • End all warm-ups and clear the pool.
  • Have divers/swimmers replace flags, lane lines (unless diving is first).
  • Call coaches together. Tell them to go check all suits and caps. They must come back to you and verify that all swimmers and divers are legally attired. The meet cannot begin until the coach of each team has verbally verified this.
  • Coaches should remind relay swimmers to exit the pool immediately.
  • Coaches should remind 500 freestyle counters to be in place. Coaches to remind all swimmers to be behind the blocks 1 event prior to the scheduled event. Once you command swimmers to step up, NO further swimmers will be allowed to join the field, even if they are running from the stands and screaming for you to wait!
  • If 2 or more officials are working the meet the referee should give everyone his/her assignment and rotation. Please review expectations, especially with new members.

Last Minute Checks

  • The starting system is operable and familiar; use a whistle if there is no system.
  • 500 lap cards are in place.
  • Backstroke flags and lane lines are all secure.
  • All kickboards, etc. are put away
  • All workers are in place
  • 15-meter markers are in place. If not, the meet will only consist of diving and breaststroke
  • Begin the meet on time!
  • Call the first event @ 2 minutes prior to starting.
  • Don't have swimmers waiting on you. This only makes you look unprepared.

200 Medley Relay

  • We use a Modified Whistle Protocol for every meet.
    • 5 short, quick blasts of the whistle tells swimmers to approach the blocks and prepare to swim. Caps and goggles should be put on now!
    • If there is a meet announcer the event is now announced. If there is no announcer then the starter announces the race. Example - "Boys 200-yard Medley Relay"
    • One long blast of the whistle. This tells all forward-start swimmers to step onto the blocks or, in this case, backstrokers to step into the pool.
    • If one or more swimmers do not respond then please state, "Step in" or "Step up."
    • When all backstrokers have resurfaced another long whistle blast is given to signal placing of the feet.
    • "Take your mark," then the starting signal. Ensure backstrokers are stationary at "Take your mark" before starting.
    • For subsequent events start the short blasts as soon as the last swimmer completes the race. Please do not start the sequence when swimmers are still swimming except in very large meets.
  • There is No Recall of false starts by the starter. Take care to relax the field rather than proceed when there is movement. If there is a false start, immediately record the lane number and explain the disqualification at the end of the race. Do NOT raise your hand to signal a DQ until the last swimmer is approaching the final wall.
  • Immediately disqualify any relay team whose backstroker dove into the water!
  • Begin scanning the blocks for violations. Feet DO NOT have to be completely under the water but must be completely off the gutter - against the flat wall only. Ensure backstrokers are stationary at "Take your mark" before starting.
  • When working alone or with a small crew, relay take-offs have priority. Try to move and see some strokes and turns.
  • Relay exchange - Visually site the feet of the departing swimmer first, then the touch of the incoming swimmer's hand.
  • Begin looking for 15 meter surfacing on backstroke, butterfly and freestyle. Swimmers may NOT re-submerge once the initial surfacing has occurred.
  • Look for 1st, 2nd, 3rd swimmers to exit the pool before the following swimmer comes off the first turn. DQ's should be called when this is excessive.
  • In meets with dual confirmation of relay take-offs and false starts you no longer raise your right hand to signal a violation. Use you radio to signal the referee that you have a violation and write down your violations.
  • Suits and Caps:
    • Look for illegal suits and caps. If you see an illegal cap go straight to the student-athlete and have him/her remove the cap or turn it inside out. You cannot begin the race until this is accomplished. If you see an illegal suit or multiple suits go straight to the student-athlete and inform him/her that he/she will not be able to participate in the illegal attire. If the swimmer or diver should have another legal suit on underneath the illegal one then he/she can shed the outer suit and still participate. Otherwise the race begins without the illegally attired student-athlete.
    • If you see illegal caps or suits once a race has started (which is the whistle command to step to the blocks) you will DQ the student-athlete at the end of the race. At the completion of the event go to the offender and inform him/her of what he/she has to do before competing again. Performance results from that race are nullified.

200 Freestyle

  • Modified Whistle Protocol.
  • Swimmers, on command to "Take your mark," must have at least 1 foot at front of block.
  • Look for 15 meter surfacing, especially after the dive.
  • Move up and down the pool; do not stand in the middle. Especially watch turns.

200 Individual Medley

  • Modified Whistle Protocol.
  • Try to catch strokes and turns.
  • Look for 15 meter surfacing on backstroke, butterfly and freestyle.
  • Every time a swimmer reaches a wall at the end of a stroke (each 50 yards) it is a FINISH.
  • If you haven't already done so, drop by the scoring table and make sure everything is operating smoothly. When you have a DQ raise your right hand, open palm, straight up in the air. Never hold up a lane number. Immediately after the race go to the swimmer(s), wait until he/she is out of the pool, and give the specific reason for the DQ. Clearly write "DQ" and the reason on the timer's sheet or give to the automatic timer if there are no sheets. In meets with 2 or more officials, initial the DQ also. In championship meets mark the DQ in your copy of the program. All regular meet DQ's must be called immediately!

50 Freestyle

  • Modified Whistle Protocol.
  • Make sure ALL starts are clean and fair, especially this one.
  • Hearing Impaired Start Protocol:
    • If you have hearing-impaired swimmers, announce that you will be performing a "hand-drop" start.
    • Move one straight arm from down by your side to straight out from your body for, "Take your mark."
    • On the starting sound, quickly move your straight arm back down by your side.


  • Call divers over, give order of diving. Remind them that they get 2 warm-up approaches, wet or dry. They may begin practice dive as soon as flags and lane marker safely removed. Check for illegal suits.
  • Divers need to be behind board when it is their time to dive during competition.
  • Ask the diving referee any questions if confused about a call or need to ask for a ruling (i.e., repeat a dive due to interference).
  • Meet other 2 or 4 judges. YOU are referee unless otherwise assigned and a scoring judge. If there are two high school officials you are both working! Review where to sit and scoring expectations.
  • Meet announcer. Review procedures. All scores must be announced.
  • "Suzy, 101, Forward dive, straight, 1.4."
  • "Scores... 4, 4 and a half, 5."
  • No extraneous words, especially in bigger meets.
  • Meet with scorers to ensure that they understand scoring system.
  • Divers with illegal attire are treated just as swimmers are.
  • Second failed dive is a disqualification and the diver may not continue.
  • Meet with divers afterward if need to discuss any calls, repetitive problems.

Swimming Warm-ups

  • 10 minutes, regardless of whether the diving event occurs first, after the 50 free, or at all. If coaches try to rush things then leave the deck for the restroom. This is your only potty break!
  • Swimmers may begin as soon as a coach is on deck to supervise.
  • Get divers to replace flags and lane lines.
  • Check with scoring table.
  • Announce for workers to return with 5 minutes remaining.
  • Announce for butterfly events to report behind the blocks with 2 minutes remaining.
  • Announce diving results.

100 Butterfly

  • Modified Whistle Protocol.
  • Look for 15-meter surfacing. Especially after dive.
  • Try to catch all strokes and turns. Move!

Combining Boys and Girls

  • May only combine same stroke and distance.
  • May NEVER combine if both races are contested. (May only combine 1 boy with 1 or more girls or 1 girl with 1 or more boys.)
  • Ask the solo swimmer if she/he minds being combined; if moving to new lane, properly instruct. Try to keep same sex swimmers in consecutive lanes.
  • Ensure that coaches are aware.
  • Finish judges still use separate sheets for each event.
  • Announce the combined event. Give the swimmers that normally would have gone second time to get to the blocks and be ready to swim.
  • Never combine because you (or a coach) are in a hurry! Combining should only be for the benefit of the swimmer who would otherwise have no one to race against! Do NOT allow this to be abused!

100 Freestyle

  • Modified Whistle Protocol.
  • Watch for flase starts.
  • Look for 15-meter surfacing.

500 Freestyle

  • Modified Whistle Protocol.
  • Look for 15-meter surfacing.
  • Walk to the opposite end to meet with counters.
  • 1 counter per lane, must count accurately (either from 1 up to 19/orange or from 19 down to 1/orange). Keep your own count! Trust no teenager!
  • If there are not enough cards, ask counters to share. May have to use verbal counting. Home team is required to provide cards for visitors.
  • Do NOT call for missing counters.
  • Starter will ring bell or blow whistle over lane when lead swimmer has 2 lengths plus 5 yards remaining. (The starter may designate another official to ring bell or blow whistle.)

200 Freestyle Relay

  • Modified Whistle Protocol.
  • Look for 15-meter surfacing.
  • Look for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd swimmers to exit the pool before the following swimmer comes off the wall after the turn.
  • Relay exchanges have priority, but move as much as possible to watch turns.

100 Backstroke

  • Modified Whistle Protocol.
  • No one enters the water without your permission! DQ swimmers who enter illegally.
  • Feet DO NOT have to be completely under the water but must be completely off the gutter - against the flat wall only.
  • Hesitate at the start to ensure that all swimmers have actually assumed a stationary position.
  • Look for 15-meter surfacing, especially at the start.
  • Move to get close to turns on each end.
  • Swimmers may NOT fully submerge at the finish of the backstroke.

100 Breaststroke

  • Modified Whistle Protocol.
  • On start watch carefully for 1 legal dolphin kick, correct pullouts and surfacing.
  • Breaststrokers do not have to pop up by the 15 meter mark. Remember that this is based on the stroke and kick.
  • Move so that you can get on the end wall to better see touches and turns.
  • If working alone, try to get to the far side for at least 1 lap.

400 Freestyle Relay

  • Modified Whistle Protocol.
  • Look for 15-meter surfacing.
  • Look for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd swimmers to exit the pool before the following swimmer comes off the wall after the turn.
  • Relay exchanges have priority, but move as much as possible to watch turns.

End of Meet

  • Clear the pool.
  • Thank coaches and workers.
  • Double check with coaches/scorers/fellow officials on the number of exhibition heats swum, if any. EVERYONE keep these records for the season.
  • When scorers agree on the final scores for each meet, sign and time at bottom of each score sheet.
  • Make sure you have your rule book and all belongings.

Final Notes

  • Referees must complete the post-meet report in Arbiter Sports and report the number of exhibition heats and start/end times.
  • If you had to remove a student-athlete or coach or spectator from a meet, write down your complete recollection of events as soon as possible. Make sure you have correct names and team affiliations. Call David Neville immediately because a written report must be filed with Georgia High School Association and the local school / system by the next working day. If you have any other major problems, contact David A.S.A.P.
  • Please remember that you are a professional. Always act that way, even if others are not. If you fail to show for a meet to which you were assigned, GHSA requires you to be fined twice the amount you would have earned for working the meet!
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