Pool Competition Guidelines


Masters SA still marshal at their events. 

Swimmers should report to the marshalling area when called & wait for the marshal’s to allocate them their heat & lane. 

Once the marshal has seated them in the appropriate heat the swimmer should remain in the marshalling area until instructed by the marshal to move to the pool deck for the start of their race. 

Swimmers who do not report to marshalling may be excluded from their event. 

Note: Even though heat seeded programs are provided we still marshal as there are occasions when changes have been made to the program or heats are combined.

Race Start

When swimmers arrive on pool deck from the marshalling area they should stand behind the time keepers in their designated lane. 

When the previous heat finishes the swimmer should move forward & stand adjacent to the starting blocks in their lane. 

The swimmer should now be ready to swim (i.e. have goggles & swim cap on) & wait for the referee’s whistle. 

On the referee’s long, two tone whistle, the swimmer should mount the blocks & take up their starting position with the toes of at least one foot over the front edge of the starting block. 

The starter then gives the command ‘Take your marks’ & when all swimmers are steady gives the starting signal. 

Note 1: Swimmers do not have to start from the blocks. They can start from the pool concourse or in the water. They need to take up their preferred starting position on the referee’s long whistle.

Note 2: In backstroke events, at the referee’s first long whistle the swimmer enters the water feet first and positions themselves for the start. The referee then blows a second long whistle & the starter starts the event in the normal manner.

Race Finish

After touching the wall at the end of the race the swimmer should move to a position on one of the lane ropes, 1metre from the wall. 

Swimmers should remain in their lane until all swimmers have finished the race unless instructed to leave the water by the referee. 

When the race is completed the referee will give two short blasts on his whistle which is the signal for the swimmers to clear the pool. 

DO NOT CLIMB OVER THE END OF THE POOL. (Especially if there are touch pads.) Swim to the side of the pool closest to you. 

Note: At meets with large entries it may be necessary to conduct over the top starts to save time. Swimmers will be advised if this is going to occur. This means that the next heat is started before you are asked to clear the pool. Just maintain your position on the lane rope until the next heat starts then move to the closest side & exit the pool. DO NOT GRAB THE END OF THE POOL IF TOUCH PADS ARE IN USE.


Start & finish are the same as individual events but there are some points to remember for the first three swimmers. 

Do not leave the blocks until your previous swimmer has touched the wall. 

When you have finished your leg exit the pool by the closest side without interfering with other teams swimmers. 

DO NOT GRAB THE END OF THE POOL IF TOUCH PADS ARE IN USE when leaving the pool as this will activate the AOE timing of your competitors. 

Be aware that most of the officials at Masters SA swim meets are also competitors which leave us with minimum officials on pool deck at times. 

Courtesy of Phil Beames, Technical Director, Masters Swimming SA