In a competitive swimming event,how many officials are present?
Referee: The referee has complete authority in the match and is a watchdog for the other officials present at the event. It is important that the referee complies with all the rules set by FINA during the competition. It is largely in the hands of the referee to ensure that the event runs smoothly and he is also supposed to decide the final winner of the competition.
The Referee also has the power to call swimmers using his whistle and arrange them on their respective blocks before the competition commences. Once the whistle is blown, swimmers are allowed to take their positions and after the referee blows another long whistle, the swimmers start swimming.
Starter: The starter’s role is to control the swimmers as per the referee’s instructions. The Starter sends the swimmers to the block and instructs the swimmer when to start. If the swimmer leaves before the instructions are given, the starter has the authority to call it a false start.
Clerk of course: The Clerk of course is also known as the ‘bullpen’. Its primary duty is to assemble swimmers before each event and organize them into heats based on timings of the swimmers. Heats are basically time based categories for swimmers; from slowest to fastest.
Timekeepers: There are more than one time keepers present at an event. The primary duty of the timekeeper is to monitor the time of the swimmers individually i.e. time taken for one lap. The timekeepers are allotted a lane in the pool. In some competitions there are even two timekeepers per lane. For competitions where video facility is available services of a timekeeper may not be required.
Inspector of turns: Only one inspector of turn is assigned to each lane. The role of the inspector is to ensure that the swimmer’s in the competition comply with the rules of turning (i.e. no cheating) and properly start and finish each lap. If the inspector notices any form of violation regarding the rules, they can report it to the chief inspector of turns who then reports it further to the referee. It can also lead to disqualification of the swimmer, if found guilty.
Judges of stroke: These judges are situated on each side of the pool. Their purpose is to observe the style of swimming for each player, whether the player is adhering to the appropriate stroke for the event or is mixing all kinds of stokes in the competition.
Finish judges: Their primary role is to ensure that the race is being finished as per the rules of the competition. The main focus is to see if the stoke being used is kept uniform throughout the lap.
If any of these officials report any form of cheating to the referee during the competition, the referee can disqualify the swimmer for not obeying rules and regulations of the sport. In extreme cases a lifetime ban can also be imposed.