I was a little nervous having never been to a swimming meet let alone timed anything this important. But after my training I realized I had nothing to worry about, no one was depending on me!
Per NCAA guidelines, each lane (there are 8 lanes) has three back-up timers that are responsible for starting their stopwatch, then standing at the edge of the pool, stop their stopwatch AND an electronic timer (plunger). If the ‘pad’ under water that the swimmer hits doesn’t activate or malfunctions, then they average the ‘plunger’ times, and if the plunger times don’t work, THEN they use the average of the stopwatch times. So really, we’re just the third line of defense.
Because we are right on the edge of the pool watching for the swimmers hand to touch the ‘pad’ there tends to be some splashing. On the last heat of our volunteer shift, I got soaked, REALLY soaked!
The experience was great, saw some amazing races, and now I’m ready for my volunteer slot next week at the men’s championships.