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Rules and Regulation


SW 2.1 Referee

SW 2.1.1 The referee shall have full control and authority over all officials, approve their assignments, and instruct them regarding all special features or regulations related to the competitions. He shall enforce all rules and decisions of FINA and shall decide all questions relating to the actual conduct of the meet, and event or the competition, the final settlement of which is not otherwise covered by the rules. 

SW 2.1.2 The referee may intervene in the competition at any stage to ensure that the FINA regulations are observed, and shall adjudicate all protests related to the competition in progress.

SW 2.1.3 When using finish judges without three (3) digital watches, the referee shall determine placing where necessary. Automatic Officiating Equipment, if available and operating shall be consulted as stated in SW 13.

SW 2.1.4 The referee shall ensure that all necessary officials are in their respective posts for the conduct of the competition. He may appoint substitutes for any who are absent, incapable of acting or found to be inefficient. He may appoint additional officials if considered necessary.

SW 2.1.5 At the commencement of each event, the referee shall signal to the swimmers by a short series of whistles inviting them to remove all clothing except for swimwear, followed by a long whistle indicating that they should take their positions on the starting platform (or for backstroke swimming and medley relays to immediately enter the water). A second long whistle shall bring the backstroke and medley relay swimmer immediately to the starting position. When the swimmers and officials are prepared for the start, the referee shall gesture to the starter with a stretched out arm, indicating that the swimmers are under the starter's control. The stretched out arm shall stay in that position until the start is given.

SW 2.1.6 A disqualification for starting before the starting signal must be observed and confirmed by both the starter and the referee.

SW 2.1.7 The referee shall disqualify any swimmer for any other violation of the rules that he personally observes. The referee may also disqualify any swimmer for any violation reported to him by other authorised officials. All disqualifications are subject to the decision of the referee. 

SW 2.2  Control-room Supervisor

SW 2.2.1 The supervisor shall supervise the automatic timing operation including the review of backup timing cameras.

SW 2.2.2 The supervisor is responsible for checking the results from computer printouts.

SW 2.2.3 The supervisor is responsible for checking the relay exchange printout and reporting any early takeoffs to the referee.

SW 2.2.4 The supervisor may review the video used for backup timing to confirm early takeoff.

SW 2.2.5 The supervisor shall control withdrawals after the heats or finals, enter results on official forms, list all new records established, and maintain scores where appropriate. 

SW 2.3 Starter

SW 2.3.1 The starter shall have full control of the swimmers from the time the referee turns the swimmers over to him (SW 2.1.5) until the race has commenced. The start shall be given in accordance with SW 4. 

SW 2.3.2 The starter shall report a swimmer to the referee for delaying the start, for wilfully disobeying an order or for any other misconduct taking place at the start, but only the referee may disqualify a swimmer for such delay, wilful disobedience or misconduct.

SW 2.3.3 The starter shall have power to decide whether the start is fair, subject only to the decision of the Referee.

SW 2.3.4 When starting an event, the starter shall stand on the side of the pool within approximately five metres of the starting edge of the pool where the timekeepers can see and or hear the starting signal and the swimmers can hear the signal. 

SW 2.4 Clerk of Course

SW 2.4.1 The clerk of course shall assemble swimmers prior to each event.

SW 2.4.2 The clerk of course shall report to the referee any violation noted in regard to advertising (GR 6) and if a swimmer is not present when called. 

SW 2.5 Chief Inspector of Turns

SW 2.5.1 The chief inspector of turns shall ensure that inspectors of turns fulfil their duties during the competition.

SW 2.5.2 The chief inspector of turns shall receive the reports from the inspectors of turns if any infringement occurs and shall present them to the referee immediately. 

SW 2.6  Inspectors of Turns

SW 2.6.1 One inspector of turns shall be assigned to each lane at each end of the pool.

SW 2.6.2 Each inspector of turns shall ensure that swimmers comply with the relevant rules for turning, commencing from the beginning of the last arm stroke before touching and ending with the completion of the first arm stroke after turning. The Inspector of Turns at the starting end of the pool, shall ensure that the swimmers comply with the relevant rules from the start and ending with completion of the first arm stroke. The inspectors of turns at the finish end shall also ensure that the swimmers finish their race according to the current rules.

SW 2.6.3 In individual events of 800 and 1500 metres, each inspector of turns at the start and turning end of the pool shall record the number of laps completed by the swimmer in his/her lane. The swimmers shall be informed of the remaining number of laps to be completed by displaying “lap cards” showing odd numbers at the turning end of the pool. Electronic equipment may be used, including under water display.

SW 2.6.4 Each inspector at the starting end shall give a warning signal when the swimmer in his lane has two lengths plus five (5) metres to swim to finish in individual events of 800 and 1500 metres. The signal may be repeated after the turn until the swimmer has reached the five (5) metres mark on the lane rope. The warning signal may be by whistle or bell. 

SW 2.6.5 Each inspector at the starting end shall determine, in relay events, whether the starting swimmer is in contact with the starting platform when the preceding swimmer touches the starting wall. When Automatic Equipment which judges relay take-offs is available, it shall be used in accordance with SW 13.1.

SW 2.6.6 Inspectors of turns shall report any violation on signed cards detailing the event, lane number, and the infringement delivered to the chief inspector of turns who shall immediately convey the report to the referee. 

SW 2.7 Judges of Stroke

SW 2.7.1 Judges of stroke shall be located on each side of the pool.

SW 2.7.2 Each judge of stroke shall ensure that the rules related to the style of swimming designated for the event are being observed, and shall observe the turns and the finishes to assist the inspectors of turns.

SW 2.7.3 Judges of stroke shall report any violation to the referee on signed cards detailing the event, lane number, and the infringement. 

SW 2.8 Chief Timekeeper

SW 2.8.1 The chief timekeeper shall assign the seating positions for all timekeepers and the lanes for which they are responsible. It is advisable that there shall be three (3) timekeepers for each lane. If Automatic Officiating Equipment is not used there shall be two (2) additional timekeepers designated, either of whom shall be directed to replace a timekeeper whose watch did not start or stopped during an event, or who for any other reason is not able to record the time. When using digital watches, final time and place is determined by time.

SW 2.8.2 When only one (1) timekeeper per lane is available, an extra timekeeper must be assigned in case of a malfunction of a stopwatch. In addition the Chief Timekeeper must always record the time of the winner of each heat.

SW 2.8.3 The chief timekeeper shall collect from the timekeepers in each lane a card showing the times recorded and, if necessary, inspect their watches.

SW 2.8.4 The chief timekeeper shall record or examine the official time on the card for each lane. 

SW 2.9 Timekeepers

SW 2.9.1 Each timekeeper shall take the time of the swimmers in the lane assigned to him in accordance with SW 11.3. The watches shall be certified correct to the satisfaction of the meet Management Committee.

SW 2.9.2 Each timekeeper shall start his watch at the starting signal, and shall stop it when the swimmer in his lane has completed the race. Timekeepers may be instructed by the chief timekeeper to record times at intermediate distances in races longer than 100 metres. 

SW 2.9.3 Promptly after the race, the timekeepers in each lane shall record the times of their watches on the card, give them to the chief timekeeper, and if requested present their watches for inspection. Their watches must be cleared at the short whistle of the Referee announcing the following race. 

SW 2.9.4 Unless a video backup system is used, it may be necessary to use the full complement of timekeepers even when Automatic Officiating Equipment is used. 

SW 2.10 Chief Finish Judge – if required

SW 2.10.1 The chief finish judge shall assign each finish judge his position and the placing to be determined.

SW 2.10.2 After the race, the chief finish judge shall collect signed result sheets from each finish judge and establish the result and placing which will be sent directly to the referee.

SW2.10.3 WhereAutomaticOfficiatingEquipmentisusedtojudgethefinishofarace,the chief finish judge must report the order of finish recorded by the Equipment after each race. 

SW 2.11 Finish Judges – if required

SW 2.11.1 Finish judges shall be positioned in elevated stands in line with the finish where they have at all times a clear view of the course and the finish line, unless they operate an Automatic Officiating device in their respective assigned lanes by depressing the "push- button" at the completion of the race.

SW 2.11.2 After each event the finish judges shall decide and report the placing of the swimmers according to the assignments given to them. Finish judges other than push- button operators shall not act as timekeepers in the same event. 

SW 2.12 Desk Control (other than for Olympic Games and World Championships)

SW 2.12.1 The chief recorder is responsible for checking results from computer printouts or from results of times and placing in each event received from the referee. The chief recorder shall witness the referee's signing the results.

SW 2.12.2 The recorders shall control withdrawals after the heats or finals, enter results on official forms, list all new records established, and maintain scores where appropriate. 

SW 2.13 Officials’ Decision Making

SW 2.13.1 Officials shall make their decision autonomously and independently of each other unless otherwise provided in the Swimming Rules.