Connecticut Swimming

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It’s more than three short words!

The Starter is, undoubtedly, one of the most important officials on the deck. The Starter is the only official who is in direct contact with the swimmers in such a manner that his/her actions can clearly affect the swimmer's performance. Starting is an art that can be perfected as long as someone is willing to accept and understand the protocol and philosophy of the position based on current practices and standards.  Accordingly, this is a position that cannot be taken casually. 



The Starter shall stand on the side of the pool within approximately five meters of the starting end of the pool and, upon signal from the Referee, shall assume control of the swimmers until a fair start has been achieved.

Optional Instructions

The Starter may:

  • Announce the event.
  • Advise the heat when a swimmer will be attempting to achieve a time at an initial distance.
  • For backstroke starts, give the command, "Place your feet."

Advancing to Starter

Starter Advancement Checklist (rev. Dec. 2019)

Starter Evaluation Checklist
Starter Evaluation Checklist


The Professional Starter


What is a False Start

Starter Situations & Resolutions 

Deck Protocol "Championship Meets"

Deck Referee and Starter Guidelines

Ethics of Swim Officiating

Relay Take Off Instructions