Posted on Wednesday 31st October, 2018

Technical Courses

Technical officials are those hard working ladies and gentlemen who ensure that all our sanctioned swim meets and competitions are run fairly and according to the Rules.

Please contact your Branch to find out when/where the next Technical course will be conducted or to arrange a course at your club.

All MSA technical courses are sanctioned by the MSA National Office and conducted in accordance with the approved curricula. The theory section of each course is presented by the Course Presenter, who is an official with current experience in the position and adult education experience. To strive for national consistency in their delivery, there are Presenter Notes for each course, which are available from the Branch and National Offices. If your club or group wishes to conduct a technical course, complete the Application Form to Conduct a Masters Swimming Australia Technical Course.

There are seven Technical Courses offered by MSA, as outlined below.


Timekeepers operate the timing devices that record the time of the swimmer in the lane assigned to them. Every competitor should complete this basic but most essential of all courses.

After becoming accredited as a Timekeeper you may then proceed to any of the following five courses.
It is preferable to complete each course before starting another.
Before enrolling in any of these courses, you will be required to read the first three modules of the General Principles of Officiating, plus  sign an Officials Code of Conduct form.

These, and other course specific documents, may be downloaded from our Technical Courses Resources page.

Chief Timekeeper

The Chief Timekeeper oversees the timekeepers at MSA, Branch and club events.

Marshal / Check Starter / Clerk of Course

The Marshals, Check Starters, and Clerks of Course assemble swimmers prior to each event, check their names and allocate swimmers to heats and lanes if the event is not already seeded into heats.

Inspector of Turns

The Inspector of Turns ensures that, when starting, turning, doing relay changeovers and finishing, swimmers comply with the relevant rules.

Judge of Stroke

The Judge of Stroke ensure that the rules relating to the swimming strokes are observed.


The starter gives the signal to start swimming. He/she has full control of the swimmers from the time the Referee turns the swimmers over to him until the race has commenced.  In order to complete the Starter course you must have completed the Timekeeper Course.

After being accredited in all of the above positions you may then apply to train as a Referee.


Candidates must have completed all other MSA Technical courses before enrolling in a Referee Course.

There are two major roles for referees:

  • The Meet Referee has overriding control of the Meet (competition).
  • The Event Referee has control of the event in progress.


Officials who have a current accreditation must renew their accreditation every 4 years. Refer to Cross Accreditation and Re-accreditation.

If an official is accused of not performing their duties, lack of competence or misconduct Branches shall refer to Officials who are not meeting the performance criteria.

Other Positions

There are also a number of positions that do not currently require accreditation. They include:

  • Meet Director: Supervises the organisation of a competition and all matters of its conduct that are not under the direct control of the Referee.
    See Guidelines for Meet Directors and Clubs.
  • IoT Runner: Collects Infraction Reports from the Chief Inspectors of Turns and Judges of Strokes and takes them to the Event Referee.
  • Runner: Collects all times from the Timekeepers and takes them to the Recorder.
  • Recorder: Records all times recorded at the meet and usually keeps a record of points scored by both individuals and teams. Notifies the Meet Referee of any records that are broken or set. The person(s) in this role needs to understand the system being used to record the results and must be able to handle any potential issues.
  • Control Room Supervisor: supervises the automatic timing operations, checks the results from computer printouts, checks the relay exchange printout and reports any early take offs to the Event Referee.
  • Announcer: Keeps spectators and swimmers advised regarding the event in progress. Advises competitors when they are required to report to the Marshal. Ensures he/she is not disrupting the start of races