Penguins Home Page
Committee Page

Southgate Penguins
Swim Team Handbook
~ Revised 2001 (updated 2003) ~

"We're The Fun Team!"

Special thanks to Southgate parent Kelli Gentile
for making this handbook available in digital form.

We welcome you to Southgate Swim Team. The team was formed in 1965 to provide the young members of the swim club an opportunity to participate in a competitive swimming program with other youths in the East Bay.

The team competes in the East Bay Swim League (EBSL). The EBSL consists of 12 teams in two geographic divisions as follows:

Northern Division

Southern Division

Treeview Dolphins

Mission Valley Barracudas

Chabot Marlins

Mission Highlands Sharks

San Leandro Drowning Darryls

Warm Springs Gators

Washington Manor Dolphins

Glenmoor Stingrays

Columbia Crocodiles

Kennedy Seals

Southgate Penguins

Newark Bluefins

The purpose of the East Bay Swim League is to provide young swimmers with an opportunity for summer recreational swimming competition, in an atmosphere which fosters sportsmanship, team spirit, cooperation, and respect for other swimmers and the league.

It is our desire to meet the ideals of the league and to develop in the members of the team the desire to excel, the discipline needed to achieve individual goals, and the pride in being a member of a team that gives its best effort. We accomplish our goals by cooperation between swimmers, parents, and coaches.

This handbook provides information regarding different aspects of the team, activities, practice, meets, awards, team rules and expectations, and descriptions of the areas where parents are needed to help the team operate efficiently. If there are any questions not answered after reading this, please contact the coach or team president for clarification.

Download Handbook (.pdf)

~ Contents ~

Rules of Eligibility
Fees and Equipment
Dual Meets
Championship Meet
Meet Preparation
Awards Night
Special Swimmer's Rules
Safety Rules
Parental Responsibility
Swim Team Board
Tips for Timers and Recorders
Starter's Responsibilities
Head Timer's Responsibilities
Meet Director

Rules of Eligibility

EBSL Swimmer Eligibility Requirements - Per EBSL Rules and Regulations:

Rule 2 - Definitions (Note: "Shall" denotes mandatory)

Section 1, Personnel

Art. 1 - Rostered Swimmer (hereafter referred to as Regular Swimmer):

  1. A Regular Swimmer is one that is selected to swim for points.
  2. A Regular Swimmer is eligible to swim at Championships.

Art. 2 - Complementary Swimmer (hereafter referred to as Comp Swimmer):

  1. A Comp Swimmer is a non Regular Swimmer.
  2. A Comp Swimmer shall not score points.
  3. A Comp Swimmer swims at the discretion of the home team.
  4. A Comp Swimmer shall not swim in the Championship Meet.
  5. If a Comp Swimmer swims in a relay at a Dual Meet, that relay team shall not score points for that event.
  6. At the discretion of the teams, a Comp Swimmer may receive awards at the Comp Swimmer's team cost, not EBSL cost.

Art. 3 - Prior Competitive swim experience (hereafter referred to as an Organized Swim Program) (Scholastic Programs are exempt):

  1. USS
  2. City Recreation Programs (HARD, etc.)
  3. Organized Fitness Swim Programs (Club Sport, etc.)
  4. Any other recreational program (Contra Costa Swim League, Tri-City Swim League, etc.)

Section 2, Eligibility of an Individual

Art. 1 - Each family must have an EBSL League Application on file with the League Vice President or designee listing all of their swimmers prior to participation in a Dual Meet. The team President will verify (with a signature) having seen a copy of each swimmer's proof of birth (i.e. Birth Certificate) and attach a copy for the year 2000 for all swimmers. In subsequent years, only new swimmers will need to attach a copy proof of birth to the League Application.

Art. 2 - A swimmer's age as of June 1 will determine the age group that he/she will swim in for the entire swim season.

Art. 3 - A swimmer who is 18 must have previously swum for his/her EBSL team.

Art. 4 (revised 2001) - Any swimmer is eligible to apply for participation in the EBSL season provided that the swimmer does not participate in any Organized Swim Program (excluding scholastic programs and those permitted under article 6 of this rule) from January 1 through March 31 of the same year. An EBSL swimmer shall not participate in any other Organized Swim Program (excluding scholastic programs) from April 1 to the end of the EBSL season.

Art. 5 (revised 2001) - A swimmer with 24 months of consecutive USS experience immediately prior to January 1 shall be able to participate only as a complementary swimmer for that season.

Art. 6 (revised 2001) - Swimmers may swim in instructional/conditioning swim classes (limited to swim lessons and stroke and turn clinics, not part of a competitive swim team) during the months of January, February and March not to exceed a total of 15 hours per month total water time during this period.

Art. 7 - The league Vice-President shall determine the eligibility of each swimmer based on the swimmer's League Application. Any protest of the League Vice-President's final decision shall be made pursuant to Rule 8. No swimmer ruled ineligible by the League Vice-President may compete in any meet unless and until the swimmer is reinstated pursuant to Rule 8.

(You can read and/or download the EBSL Rules and Regulations on this web site.)

Southgate Rules of Eligibility

Due to the team popularity, the following rules will apply for sign-ups:

  1. Club members have 1st priority until the beginning of practice.
  2. Returning non-club member team swimmers have 2nd priority until practice starts.
  3. New swimmers (haven't swam on team in the past), will have 3rd priority until practice begins.
  4. After practice begins, any remaining spots on the 100 person active roster are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Any number above 100, or not meeting the EBSL eligibility requirements, shall swim as a Comp Swimmer only.

Each swimmer must provide a copy of the following to keep on file with the team:

  • Emergency Card
  • Copy of your Birth Certificate
  • League Application

Team Finances and Equipment

Club Members: The team dues are $120 for the first swimmer, $220 for two swimmers, $300 for three swimmers, and $350 for four or more swimmers. Dues are subject to change on a yearly basis if necessary.

Non Members: The team dues are $200 for one swimmer and $150 for each additional swimmer within the 1st swimmers immediate family.


Our suits are two-year suits, so every two years the team suit will change depending on the styles available at the time. Team suits can be ordered before the season starts at designated times from the Swimsuit Rep., or Nor-Ski Sports. You must make your own arrangements with Nor-Ski Sports if not purchased at those times.

Team suits are our uniforms. They make it easy to recognize when one of our swimmers is in a race. All swimmers should wear a team suit at meets except under extraordinary circumstances. If possible, it is recommended that a 2nd suit be purchased for practice and every day use, and a meet suit be kept in good condition for races. Some top swimmers wear several suits during practice to increase resistance. Use older suits for this effect.

Suit Care Hints
Take care of your suits. Rinse them out daily and let them drip dry. Chlorine will eat suits, caps, and goggles. Suits left at the bottom of a wet bag or in a wet towel will not last long.

Swim practice is long for those in the older groups. Goggles are recommended for these swimmers to prevent excessive eye irritation. Goggles may be purchased when you order your suit. There are a variety of goggle types and not every style fits every face. Try a pair on before buying any. Make sure to put your name on them, or mark them in a very distinctive way for easy identification. To make them last longer, make sure to rinse after every use, and you can rub with cornstarch to help the rubber last longer.

Caps are like team suits; they help identify our team in the water. Swimmers may want to buy a swim cap especially anyone who has hair that goes in their eyes. Currently, the team sells team caps for about $3. To help keep your cap in good condition, treat the same way as suggested with the goggles.

Team Sweats, Shirts, etc.
The team may order a variety of items with the Southgate logo on them.

Team Pictures
Team pictures will be taken during the season. This is an optional expense. Plan on attending Picture Day even if you aren't purchasing any so that all swimmers can be represented in team photo.

Fundraising money is necessary for the team to balance the budget. Expenses include coaching staff salaries, ribbons, insurance, league fees, Championship meet costs, equipment, and annual team awards and trophies. Dues only cover about one half of our expenses. All swim team families are expected to support the fundraisers.

Every year the team holds a Swim-A-Thon. Each swimmer is expected to get sponsors to pledge them in a per lap, or flat-fee sponsorship. A minimum of $40 per swimmer is expected.



Parents: It is important to pick up you children right after practice. The Coaches and parents watching practice are not being paid to be babysitters, and the pool area is a potentially hazardous area for unsupervised children.

We have a great deal of fun working and playing together as a team, but we must remember that a key reason for joining the swim team should be to develop your skills as a swimmer. Learn to set high goals for yourself and the team. Give your best effort towards achieving and surpassing your goals. This can only be accomplished through dedication towards practice. From our past experience, it has been seen that when a few swimmers give the effort and do well, other swimmers on the team follow the lead and everyone benefits.

Self-discipline is the key to being successful at an individual sport such as swimming. When swimmers are disruptive to the practice then they are hindering the progress of others by denying them the opportunity to practice properly. Swimmers will be asked to leave the pool if they are disruptive. If there is a persistent problem, a swimmer may be asked to leave the team. It is also important that swimmers and parents be open to discussing with the coach any problems that may arise. Maintaining team spirit and sportsmanship is essential to our success and this is hampered by any discipline problems.

What is a Practice Like?
Swimming can be one of the most miserable sports to practice for. Going back and forth in the pool several hundred times a day, looking at the black line on the bottom can be monotonous. Many athletes in other sports find swimming to be extremely difficult because it utilizes so many different muscles that aren't normally used. It also requires you to learn to relax and feel comfortable in an environment that our bodies weren't designed to live in.

The coaches work very hard to make the practices interesting and yet challenging. There are many different exercises and a great variety of equipment used in practice to accomplish this.

The swimmers who truly succeed are those who don't rely on their natural abilities, but instead strive to meet the challenges at practice. When swimmers push themselves to swim faster in practice, then there can be no other result but improvement. As they improve, swimming will become more natural to them. When the swimmer stops challenging themselves, then they are not going to continue being successful.

It is our hope that every swimmer who joins the team accomplishes some goal. We take pride when swimmers remain a part of the team until their career is complete or they move on to another endeavor.

Groups and Attendance
Please refer to the Coach's schedule to see when your group lesson or practice will be held. If a swimmer will be absent from several practices, a note or phone call should be given to the coach. Difficult in attending practice due to work, vacation, summer school, or any other conflict can be discussed with the coach ahead of time.

Absence & Vacation
If a swimmer becomes ill prior to a meet, the coach must be notified before the meet so that the lineup changes may be made. If a swimmer feels ill at the meet, they should talk to the coach immediately.

If you will miss any meets due to vacation, indicate this to the coach before the start of the season. If possible, schedule your vacations for August.


Dual Meets

The main purpose of dual meets is to learn to compete with other swimmers while striving for an individual goal. Winning is a goal, not the goal.

We compete once a week on Saturdays. There are seven other teams that we compete against----two from the Southern Division and five from our division (Northern). The record of the Dual Meet Season determines a Team Trophy for the league. Dual Meet victories also count in the balloting for overall league champion. Each Dual Meet win is awarded one point.

Meet Times
Meets take place on Saturday mornings with the possible addition of a Wednesday night meet. Warm-ups begin at 7:40 am with the meet lasting from 8:30 am to approximately 12:30 pm. Night meets last from 5:30 to about 9:00 pm. Swimmers should not leave before the end of the meet without checking with the coach first. Maps for locations of away meets are in the back of this handbook.

It is the responsibility of the swimmer and their parent, not the other parents, to make sure that they are ready and stationed for their scheduled event. Do not leave the pool area, or go to the restroom without first checking in with one of the Clerk-of-the-Course first. If you miss your event because you could not be found, you not only hurt yourself, but your fellow teammates.

Scoring a dual meet is accomplished by totaling the number of points accumulated by all swimmers for each team based on their finishing place in each event (certain rules apply). Points awarded for individual events are as follows: 1st- 6, 2nd- 4, 3rd- 3, 4th- 2, 5th- 1. Points awarded for relay events are: 1st- 8, 2nd- 4, 3rd- 2.

At dual meets, ribbons are awarded to the top eight swimmers in each event. In addition, any swimmer who did not place in their events will receive a ribbon if they achieved a Best Time in any of their individual performances. Ribbons are distributed at home meets after the pool area is cleaned up. At away meets, ribbons are either distributed after the meet or at practice the following week.


Championship Meet

The EBSL Championship Meet is the culmination of the season. All teams get together for competition to determine the League Champion. The time spent in practice throughout the summer is designed to prepare the swimmers for their best performances at this final meet. It is important that every swimmer participate in this meet.

This meet lasts from 7:00 am to approximately 5:30 pm. Plan on spending the whole day. There are nearly 1,200 swimmers in the league that compete in this meet.

What to bring
It is important that the swimmers be prepared for the long day. Bring games, books, cards, and anything else that can keep you occupied between your races. The swimmers must remain in the TEAM AREA during the meet and should not be running around. NO LOUD RADIOS!

Bring plenty of healthy food snacks. There is usually a snack bar, but it is better (and cheaper) to bring some food of your own. Fruit, sandwiches, light munchies, water, and juices or other liquids are highly recommended. It is very important to stay hydrated! Avoid any heavy fried foods, or sinkers (doughnuts, milk, etc.) on the day of the meet.

Clothing & Towels
Check the weather reports and dress appropriately. Bring some shoes to wear after your races. It may get windy, so bring at least a light jacket. Wear hats and sunglasses to avoid sunburns and headaches. Bring plenty of towels to dry off with and blankets to sit on. Don't forget your swimsuit and an extra pair of goggles couldn't hurt.

Meet Programs
Programs of all the events and heats are available for a small fee. It is important to keep track of where and when the swimmers are scheduled. If a swimmer misses a race, there will be no chance to make it up, and could be scratched for the rest of the meet.

All spectators are to remain off the pool deck area. This area is for swimmers, their coaches, and officials only. This rule is for the safety and fairness for the swimmers. Too many people on the deck can mean a judge might miss an important call.

After The Meet Get Together
The team will get together at the club for an informal supper where awards from championships will be given out. This event is a Bring-Your-Own event.

Championship Shave Down
The day before the Championship Meet, the team gets together at the club to draw posters, and prepare for Championships. This is also a time for the older swimmers to shave down all the excess body hair so that they can achieve optimum performances.

Scoring and Awards

Championships - Per Rule 6, Section 1, Article 3, EBSL Rules and Regulations


Art. 3 - In championships and other multiple team meet scoring, points are awarded for places as follows:

Individual events:
30 places; 1st- 40, 2nd- 38, 3rd- 36, 4th- 34, 5th- 32, 6th-, 30, 7th- 28, 8th- 26, 9th- 24, 10th- 22, 11th- 20, 12th- 19, 13th- 18, 14th- 17, 15th- 16, 16th- 15, 17th- 14, 18th-13, 19th- 12, 20th- 11, 21st- 10, 22nd- 9, 23rd- 8, 24th- 7, 25th- 6, 26th- 5, 27th- 4, 28th- 3, 29th- 2, 30th- 1.

For all A relays:

1st- 60, 2nd- 57, 3rd- 54, 4th- 51, 5th- 48, 6th- 45, 7th- 42, 8th- 39, 9th- 36, 10th- 33, 11th- 30, 12th- 28. (No points are awarded for B relays).

A team may score unlimited places in an individual event.

No team may score more than one place in a relay event.

If a team's Relay A is disqualified, then that team's Relay B will be placed and scored. If both the Relay A and Relay B are disqualified, then the team will receive 0 points.

Art. 4 - In case of a tie by 2 or more swimmers for any place scoring in an event, the points for all places involved in the tie shall be divided equally among the tying swimmers.

Participation Ribbon
A participation ribbon is awarded to all swimmers who participate at championships.

Medals and Ribbons
Medal are given to the top three winners in each event and ribbons given to the 4th though 16th places in individual events and 4th through final place in all relay events.

League Records
At the Championship Meet, swimmers setting a League Record are awarded a trophy.

Heat Ribbons
Winners of each heat will be awarded a Heat Winner ribbon for individual events only.

Divisional Team Spirit Award
The award at the Championship Meet for Team Spirit is voted on before the meet and reflects the views of the other teams as to who demonstrates the best attitude and good sportsmanship. This is a very special award that we should strive for every year.

Divisional Dual Meet Trophy
This award is presented to the team or teams with the best divisional dual meet record of the season. This award is presented at the time of championships.

Most Improved Trophy
A most improved trophy will be awarded to the team that improves by the most points over the previous year's Championship Meet. The current and immediate past Championship winners are ineligible for this award.


Meet Preparation

The most obvious preparation for the meets is the daily practice that the swimmers should make every effort to attend. The better the effort at practice, the better the results at the meets.

Eat Right
It's important that you keep your body in tune by feeding it the proper vitamins and minerals. Eat well balanced meals and there should be no problems. High carbohydrate meals (pasta) on Thursdays before the meet should help provide the fuel needed for Saturday races. Do not eat heavy breakfasts on days of meets, as too much energy is spent digesting a large meal.

Many people have a hard time getting going at 7:40 am and come dragging into the swim meets. Warm-ups should not be taken lightly. Swimmers are athletes and are going to be asking their bodies to perform at a high level of stress. Warming up gets the muscles ready for an optimum performance and prevents possible injuries. It's also important to test out the starts and turns before a race to prepare yourself mentally, especially in a foreign pool. Rest and relax in-between races. Stretching and loosening up immediately before the race is also very important. Skipping warm-ups means not giving your best.

Mental Training
It is important to train your mind as well as your body. The power of positive thinking is amazing. If you prepare yourself for your races mentally, you will be able to put yourself into automatic at the time of the race. There are a variety of ways to prepare mentally. Visualization is where you think through your race ahead of time. This involves taking time to lie down in a nice quiet place and imagine your race from start to finish, emphasizing the things needed to go faster. A good place to visualize is before going to sleep. Positive thinking is important to you and your team. Think of the good things you do in a meet or race and ignore the mistakes. Say the good things out loud so others can also share them. Cheering is not just to show we have spirit, but it also gets your adrenaline flowing and the swimmers in the races feel better when others are supporting them. Relaxing is important because the muscles can better react when they are in a relaxed state and you will not tire as easily. Relaxing is easy to do if you follow the tips above and cut down on the horseplay. Remember: There is no running on the deck or through other people's places.

Team Spirit and Sportsmanship
This is a vital aspect to our team and competitive sports in general. The main reason for participation in athletics should be to make yourself a better person. Developing good sportsmanship and generating team spirit should be a main goal for all of us. Winning is nice, but is not everything.

Remember: There is no "I" in the word "TEAM."

Some examples of our ideals are:

  • Congratulate the opponents and teammates after a good race no matter who won.
  • Cheer for your teammates and for swimmers who give that extra effort.
  • Refrain from derogatory remarks directed towards a team or an individual.
  • Be courteous and polite to the opposing team and offer assistance whenever you see things that need to be done.
  • Follow the club rules at both home and away meets. Do not argue when asked to stop inappropriate behavior.
  • If you have a complaint, see the Team President or the Meet Director rather than voicing it in public.
  • Swimmers should not be running around and playing at swim meets. When not swimming, they should be helping, cheering, or watching others on their team.
  • When not swimming in an event, the pool and any wading pools are OFF LIMITS.

Remember: The behavior and attitude of parents, swimmers, and coaches reflect on the team. We may think that we are an outstanding team, but unless we model this to the other teams, we aren't really doing our best.

Team Cheers
One way to generate some enthusiasm at meets is to have a team cheer. Every swimmer should get involved in the cheers before, during, and after meets. They give the team a sense of unity and allow the individual to get some adrenaline flowing before the races. The cheers will be led by the Team Captains. If you have any ideas, bring them up at practice.


Awards Night

In September, the team holds its annual Pot Luck Dinner and Awards Night. This is a chance for all the swimmers to receive recognition and to thank the many parents for their efforts and hard work.

The awards are:

Participation Award
This award is to recognize the effort of each and every swimmer on the team. The award varies from year to year and may be a certificate, a medal, a plaque, or a combination of these.

High-Point Awards
An award is given to the swimmers in each age group that score the highest number of points during the season. Points are scored based on finishes during the races. To have a good chance at this award, a swimmer must be very talented and be consistent over the season in all meets. A 2nd High-Point Award is also given at each level.

Overall High-Point
This award is given to the boy and the girl who have scored the most points on the team for the entire season.

Most Improved
These awards are presented in each age group to the swimmers who have shown the most improvement over the course of the season. The level of improvement is judged for all strokes.

Most Inspirational
This award is for the boy and girl who have shown the most dedication, spirit, and cooperation towards the team as well as themselves. The swimmers chosen are felt to be good role models for the rest of the team.


Special Swimmer's Rules

The following rules are important for swimmers to know:

  1. Swimmers must stand on the block until the starter's command, Take your mark. They may then assume the starting position for that stroke and remain still until the sound of the starting buzzer. Starting before the sound is a "false start." If the starting buzzer is sounded twice, then somebody committed a false start and the swimmers should stop and come back to the blocks. A swimmer is disqualified if they commit one false start.
  2. In relays, if a swimmer leaves the block before their teammate swimming in to the finish touches the wall, then a false start will be charged and the relay team disqualified. Relay false starts will be determined by the coaches.
  3. Any swimmer entering the water while a race is still in progress will be disqualified. This is important for relay swimmers. Do not jump in to the water after your race is over.
  4. Spectators and swimmers should not be dangling their feet into the water or their swimmers may be disqualified.
  5. When finishing a race, the swimmer should touch the wall underwater and finish hard.
  6. In the Breaststroke and the Butterfly, when finishing a race, you must touch the wall with both hands.
  7. In the Breaststroke, when you dive or turn, you are allowed one arm pull and one kick underwater. The remainder of the race your head must be on the surface of the water.
  8. In the Breaststroke, the arms and legs must remain below the surface of the water. Both legs must move together in a "frog kick" motion.
  9. In the Butterfly, both arms must move together, recovering above the surface of the water. Both legs must move together in an Up/Down "dolphin kick" motion.
  10. In the Backstroke, you may turn over onto your stomach for your turn without taking a stroke to touch the wall. You must finish on your back.
  11. In the IM (Individual Medley), one lap of each stroke is swum in the following order: Fly, Back, Breast, Free.
  12. Freestyle technically means that you can swim any stroke you want except in an IM or Medley Relay where you must swim a different stroke other than the Fly, Back, or Breast. The preferred stroke of Freestyle is the Crawl Stroke.
  13. The Medley Relay is swum in the following order: Back, Breast, Fly, Free.
  14. In relays, you may start your dive before the swimmer in the water has finished, but you must still be touching the block when they touch the wall. The ideal relay start is to be "hanging by your toes" off the block and follow the swimmer in with your arms extended. If you leave the block too early, your relay is automatically disqualified.

Safety Rules

Dangerous conduct and hazardous situations or conditions must not be allowed in the swimming pool area or team environment. It is the duty of all adults to be observant and responsible enough to curtail any type of potentially dangerous or hazardous activity.

  1. All small children are to be supervised by their adult at all times. They must be kept at arms reach at all times.
  2. No running on deck. You may run on the grassy areas only.
  3. No swimmers or spectators are allowed in the wading pool, in the diving pool, on the diving board, or on the slide during swim meets.
  4. Obey the directions of the Coach, Lifeguards and Parents.
  5. Never push, shove, or throw anybody into the pool, including Coaches.
  6. Never bring glass containers into the pool area during practice or a meet.
  7. No alcoholic beverages are allowed at the swim meets.
  8. Walk bikes into the Club and park them in the back area away from where people will trip on them.
  9. Keep all hands and feet out of the pool as it may interfere with the races.
  10. Keep the area behind the starting blocks clear.
  11. Stay clear of the starter's area
  12. Stay clear of the scorer's table.
  13. Obey all posted Club rules.

Parental Responsibility

The swimmers are the core of the team, however, the smooth operation of the team also depends on the coach's ability to teach the swimmers and the parents support of the efforts of the coaches and swimmers.

Parent volunteers are needed for all activities to help organize and participate, and all parents are expected to pitch in and help. The directory of Swim Team Parent Volunteers indicates some of the people who are in charge of various aspects of the team. There may be some areas that can use a chairperson or volunteer help. Please contact the Team President if there is an area for which you would like to help.

At all meets, parental help is a MUST. Most of the jobs are very simple and still allow you to enjoy the races. They also broaden your knowledge and appreciation for the sport and the athletes. A sign-up sheet is always posted up on the bulletin board the week prior to a meet. Each job is divided into positions and shifts. Below is a listing of the various jobs and their descriptions.

Clerk of the Course 11 and Up
This person passes out the event cards to the swimmers before each race for the older kids (11 and up group).

Clerk of the Course 10 and Under
For the younger kids, these volunteers are responsible for writing down the event numbers and lane numbers that the swimmer is in. They are in charge of gathering the younger swimmers at the starting end of the pool when needed and are responsible for helping the coaches organize the relays and placing them in the appropriate lane. The coaches rely on these volunteers so they can be free to watch the swimmers race.

The starter is in charge of beginning all races and taking care of the starting system during the season. A good starter makes the races fair and keeps the meet moving so that we finish on time. The EBSL requires that the starter attend a mandatory starter's clinic at the beginning of each season.

The announcer is the "voice" of the meet. They call the races to the starting area and give the names of the swimmers in the water. They keep people posted on the scores and make any other necessary announcements.

Head Timer
This person is in charge of keeping the watches in working condition and oversees any timing problems at the meet.

Three timers are posted at each lane with watches to determine the outcome of the race. Results are based on the swimmer's time. There is a section on Timing Tips in this handbook.

There is one recorder in each lane to write down the swimmer's times on their cards after each race.

A runner picks up the cards after each race and delivers them to the scorer's desk.

The scorers transfer the times to the Meet Results Sheet and add up the running score as the meet progresses.

Ribbon Writers
The swimmers who have placed in the top 8 of their event receive a ribbon. These must be filled out after each event. They are then filed in the appropriate folder with the swimmer's name for later distribution.

Set-up and Clean-up
A group of dedicated volunteers is needed to help set up the equipment for home meets. This includes blocks, lane lines, chairs, tables, backstroke flags, etc. Sometimes this can be done on the Friday night before the race after the Club is closed to regular members if it has not been rented out for the night. If it has been rented, then the volunteers will need to get there early before the meet and set up.

Clean-up after a meet whether at home or away is the responsibility of all the swimmers and parents. It has been our experience that the more people help in the clean-up process, the faster we can all leave.


Swim Team Board

The Team Board is a very informal group of parents whose function is to help organize the team activities and see that they run smoothly. This allows the coaches to coach and the swimmers to swim. Without this organization, nothing would ever get accomplished.

There is always a need for assistance, if not on the board, then one of the many chairs.

Executive Committee

  • President - oversees the operations of the team and the coaching staff.
  • Vice-President - assists the president with the tasks necessary to keep the team running.
  • Secretary - takes care of the team correspondence and keeps the minutes of the board meetings.
  • Treasurer - maintains the books, pays the bills and coaches salaries.
  • League Representative - represents the team at all of the EBSL meetings.
  • Director at Large - helps to coordinate committees and activities for the team President.
  • Swim Team Liaison - keeps the lines of communication open between the Club and the Team. This person also holds dual board positions with the Club and the team.

Chair Positions

  • Meet Director - oversees the set-up of meets and handles any disputes regarding rules.
  • Clerk of the Course - helps the coach at all meets. Organizes swimmers and passes out the event cards.
  • Score Keeper - in charge of official score sheet. Records times and tallies points at all dual meets.
  • Desk/Ribbons - organizes crew to run desk and write ribbons at all meets.
  • Head Timer - in charge of all timers and recorders for the meets. Sees that all rules are followed.
  • Meet Announcer - master of ceremonies at all home meets.
  • Starter - responsible for starting all of the home races and care of the equipment.
  • Snack Bar - maintains the stock and organizes crew for all home meets.
  • Team Photographer - takes pictures of our team throughout the season.
  • Fundraising - organizes all of the fundraising activities.
  • Sleep-over / Raging Waters / Pasta Push / Shave Down / Practice Meet / 50-50 raffle - parents are needed to help organize these fun-time, morale building events.
  • Swimsuits - coordinates swimsuit ordering and accessories with the supplier.
  • Trophies/Awards - assists the coach and president with the ordering of trophies and awards for the end of the season.
  • Awards Night Dinner - makes the reservations and organizes the pot luck.
  • Computer - prepare meet entry lists and event cards, record swim times in team database, track swimmer stats., prepare coach's reports, set up Championship Meet computer disk.
  • Webmaster - maintain Southgate Penguins web site.

Tips for Timers and Recorders

  • Watches should be checked at the beginning of the meet to make sure the batteries are good. If there is a problem with a watch, see the Head Timer.
  • Carry your watch on the lanyard to avoid dropping it.
  • There should always be 3 timers per lane.
  • Timers should remain seated except when catching the finish of the race.
  • Recorders should remain seated at all times.
  • Start the watch when you see the flash of the strobe, not the sound. Light travels faster than sound.
  • When starting or stopping your watch, use your index finger to depress the button and hold the watch steady. The watch does not need to be jerked or swung to push the button. The thumb or other fingers are slower to react than the index finger.
  • At the finish of the race, timers must stand at the end of the pool looking down the solid wall. The instant that any part of the swimmer's body touches the wall (head, hand, arm, back, foot, . . .) the watch must be stopped. Do not hesitate if the swimmer does an illegal touch in Fly or Breast. Timers are to time the race, not judge the swimmers. This is the coaches responsibility.
  • When the race is finished, return to your chair, report your time to the recorder in full, see that it is recorded properly, and be seated for the start of the next race.
  • Times are to be recorded to the nearest 1-100th. If the time is 27.40 do not write as 27.4. Make sure the minutes are also recorded properly, i.e.: 2:15.36.
  • Wait for the whistle for the start of the next race before clearing your watch.

Official Time Rules (done at the desk)

  • If 2 or more watches show the exact same time, then that is the official time.
  • If all 3 watches show different times, then the middle time is the official time.
  • If only 2 watches catch the finish, then the average of the two times is the official time, rounded to the slowest 1-100th. Example: Watch #1 = 38.62; Watch #2 = 38.65; Average = 38.64. All times must be recorded to the 1-100th place.

Failure in starting the watch
Call for the Head Timer immediately to take your place. If the Head Timer is not available, look for a lane with no swimmers and ask on of those timers to take your place. Every timer should start their watch for every race in case they are needed.

Failure in stopping the watch
If you do not catch the finish of the race properly, do not record the estimated time of arrival. Instead, record NO TIME and use the other watches to figure the official time. Hopefully, we won't have an occurrence of all three timers missing the race.

As a timer, it is okay to watch the race, but you must only watch the finish of the swimmer in your lane. If your child is swimming a race and you want to watch, please get a replacement to time that race.

Relay Start Judging should only be the concern of the coaches and the Starter.


Starter's Responsibilities

  • The starter will call the swimmers to the blocks.
  • When given the signal by the Head Timer, a whistle should be blown to call attention to the start of the race.
  • The race is started with the commands: Timer's Ready, Take Your Mark. The next sound heard should be the sound of the buzzer.
  • If the swimmers do not come to a complete stop after the Take Your Mark command, then tell them to stand up and try again.
  • If, in your opinion, a swimmer started before you sounded the buzzer, immediately hold the start button down to stop the race.
  • Try to avoid the above situation with the younger swimmers. If need be, a heat may be swum out of order to allow swimmers to catch their breath.
  • Watch relay starts and if, in your opinion, a very obvious false start occurred on the relay exchange, then notify the coaches and indicate the swimmer involved. The coaches have the responsibility of disqualifying a relay.


Head Timer's Responsibilities

  • Make sure that timers are assigned to lanes as required by the league rules.
  • Watch to see if any timers missed the start so that you or someone else can fill in.
  • If a timer or recorder is having major problems and a delay is being caused, then they should be replaced.
  • Hold up the card and make sure the card is collected by the runner after each heat.


Meet Director

In order to alleviate any problems during a meet, the meet director is the first authority. If there is a difference that must be worked out by both teams, then a representative from each team will meet with the meet director and consult the League Rules to make a decision.


Penguins Home Page
Committee Page