Level 1 Junior
Level 2 Intermediate
Level 3 Senior
Level 4 Master

BCSSA Officials - Starter


  • The Starter and the Referee are the two most prominent officials on deck. The Starter is the key to insuring that each swimmer leaves the blocks fairly.
  • To be successful, the Starter must have a good working knowledge of the rules and must exercise good judgment in his decisions.
  • While the Starter's job appears to be simple, it is in fact one of the most difficult. It requires a great deal of practice and precision. There is no substitute for on-deck experience.

A Good Starter has the Following Qualities:

  • Is an experienced official.
  • Is able to handle stress and stay focused.
  • Has a good working knowledge of the rules.
  • Has good people skills.
  • Is a competent Place Judge and Stroke and Turn Judge.

Before the Meet:

  1. Dress appropriately in whites.
  2. Have a current rulebook.
  3. Arrive early [about one hour].
    • Become familiar with pool layout [e.g., position of the starting podium].
    • Ensure that the starting equipment [including a starting device, microphone, intercom, etc.] is set up, in working order and that guns [if used] are available, working, clean, loaded and have ample ammunition.
  4. Attend the Officials' meeting.
  5. Obtain a set of heat sheets for the starting podium.
  6. Make a note of any changes in events [e.g., order switched, combined events, etc.].
  7. Establish a means of being informed of any changes to heats.
  8. Work closely with the Session Referee to establish:
    • Pool end procedures.
    • Lane coverage for the start.
  9. In conjunction with the Chief Timer and Chief Judge Electronics, conduct tests of the electronic timing system and watches.

During the Meet:

  1. Ensure a fair start in accordance with rules of the start (details are described in the BCSSA Rulebook).
  2. Record a sweep for each heat.
  3. Record DQ data upon the instruction of the Referee.
  4. Note the time of the start of each event.
  5. May be called upon to assist other officials.
  6. Perform other duties as delegated by the Referee (e.g., Stroke and Turn Judge, relay take-overs, operate the false start rope, etc.).

Reference: BCSSA Swimming Rule Book p. 39-40, 62-67

(Source: BCSSA Clinician's Guide)