This is a great article for both new and experienced Masters Swimmers to Pool competition - written by the MSNSW Technical Director himself. A good reminder before any carnival.
POOL COMPETITION TIPS
Are you new to Masters swimming pool competitions?
As a referee it is apparent to me that we are seeing many swimmers who are relatively new to Masters swimming competitions. Some may have competed at school or the local swim club under slightly different rules but have not swum in a competition run to the rules of Masters Swimming Australia (MSA).
I will try to cover the most important things you need to know starting with getting your gear ready for the competition.
MSA follows the FINA rules for swimwear (costumes, caps, goggles and jewellery). Make sure your swim costume conforms to these rules. If you are not sure ask your coach or a referee. No removable jewellery allowed, so this means NO WATCHES can be worn. You cannot use any device that can help you pace yourself .
Getting ready to race.
Ask someone, who is familiar with the procedure, what you need to do before your heat of your first race is announced. Will you be marshaled or do you need to stand yourself behind your lane in the right heat?
Now the START.
In Freestyle, Breaststroke, Butterfly and Individual Medley races,
You will be standing behind or beside your starting platform when the Referee will blow a whistle.
This is the signal for you to do one of three things depending on how you wish to start. You must either:
- step onto the starting platform with either one foot at the front edge of the platform if you are going to do a “track start” with the other foot further back;
both feet at the front edge of the platform if you are going to do a conventional dive start.
- Alternatively you can move to the edge of the pool deck and remain there with one or two feet on the edge of the pool deck;
- you must immediately enter the water and remain with one hand in contact with the pool end or the backstroke starting grips.
When all swimmers have taken up their starting positions the Starter will give the command "Take your marks". When all swimmers are stationary, the Starter will give the starting signal (almost always a hooter).
In Backstroke and Medley Relay races
When the Referee sounds a long whistle you must immediately enter the water (feet first).
The Referee will then give a second long whistle. You must then take up your starting position with both hands on the pool end or the backstroke starting grips.
When all swimmers are ready, the Starter will give the command "Take your marks". When all swimmers are stationary, the Starter will give the starting signal.
All swimmers please note an existing rule is about to be changed to require you to have your swim cap and goggles in place when the Referee blows their first whistle. Failure to do so may result in your not being allowed to swim in that event.
During the race
You must must swim and finish in your own lane. You must not swim across another lane or otherwise interfere with another swimmer.
If you are the next person to swim in a relay team you must be standing on the starting platform, or the edge of the pool deck, or in the water with one hand in contact with the pool end or the backstroke starting grips, immediately prior to your start. Running starts are not allowed.
The Finish in individual events
Swimmers in individual events shall remain in the water in their lane until all swimmers in the race have finished. The Referee may tell you to leave the water before then, but remember you must not interfere with another swimmer even when you have finished your race.
The Referee may allow you to remain in the water while the next heat starts to enable you to recover before leaving the water.
Over the top starts
To save time you may be asked to stay in the water until the next race has started. Check before your race whether the races will be “started over the top”. If this is being done, after you have touched at the end of your race move about one metre down your lane and take up a vertical position holding onto the lane rope.
Your finish in a relay event.
After you have finished your swim in a relay event you must leave the pool as soon as possible without obstructing any other swimmer who has not yet finished his leg. The last swimmer should stay in the water as if it was an individual event.
IF YOU DON’T KNOW ASK
Finally, the officials are there to help you. If you are not sure what you should be doing ask an official. If they don’t know they will ask someone who does for you.
Gary Stutsel, MSNSW Technical Director.