For those who have not timed before (or perhaps in a while), here are some general guidelines for timing.
Prior to the Meet:
There is always a Timer's meeting with the Starter. Please attend the meeting. Things specific to the pool and meet will be covered. Different pools can use different equipment to start a race; some are based on light and sound, others just on sound. Also, Head Timers for each lane and backup timers will be assigned by the Starter at this time. Verify watches function. Give clipboards to Head Timers.
Start of Each Race:
Verify the name of the child. Also check that you have a boy's (blue) or girl's (pink) card. If the swimmer is a boy and you have a pink card, tell the starter to stop so you can fix it. Reset your watch. The Starter will ask if the Timers are ready. If you are not ready, please say so as loudly as needed to get the Starter's attention.
The Starter will begin each race by saying "Swimmers, take your mark". In the event the starting equipment has both a light and sound, you will start your watch on the sooner of either when you 1) see the light on the starting equipment flash, or 2) hear the sound of the starting equipment. If the equipment is only sound (air horn, starters gun, etc.), you will start your watch immediately upon hearing the sound. ** PLEASE BE WATCHING THE STARTER AT THE START OF EACH RACE TO ENSURE AN ACCURATE AND TIMELY START ON YOUR PART. **
During the Race:
During a race, do not stop timing or take any action regarding a swimmer's stroke, turn, or other aspects of the race. The Stroke-and-Turn officials will inform you of any violations which you will write on the card and inform the swimmer as necessary.
Do not delay the meet in order for a swimmer to get to the blocks. It is the coaches' job to ensure their swimmers are there when the Starter starts the race.
Get ready for the finish.
The Finish of the Race:
Most importantly, be in position to see the touch. You must be over the wall watching the swimmer come in and be able to see the touch. Stop your watch when ANY part of the swimmer touches the wall. Report your time to the head timer.
Do not headcatch. It is the job of the swimmer to get a head catcher. Please do not head catch as many children don't want it because it impedes their finish (especially for the 12 and up swimmers).