Entering competitions for the first time can be quite daunting for both the swimmer and as a parent. At Torquay Leander we are here to support you as much as possible so if you have any questions please do ask.

Here is a competition guide which provides a lot of information, expecially for new parents.


A referee initiates each swim heat and the final race.

The swimming referee uses a series of short blasts on a whistle to give signals to the swimmers.

At this point, competitors should remove all excess clothing except their competition swimwear.

How to Start a Swimming Race?

Swimmers take their places on the appropriate starting block or platform.

As a rule this would be on the deck or actually in the water for certain races. They then wait until they hear the sound of a long whistle. The referee will stretch out his arm. That signal means the swimmers are under the starter’s control.

Competitors must wait until they hear the starter’s command ‘take your mark’. That is the time to assume the starting position and wait for the starting signal.

As a rule that means one foot should be in front of the starting platform. Swimmers who are in the water must have one hand on the wall.

Strokes, Turns, and Finishes

There are four swimming styles recognized in Olympic Championships. They include breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke, and freestyle. In swimming terminology ‘stroke’ refers to how the swimmers perform the style.

For example, the backstroke style means the swimmer must push off on his back. He will then continue swimming on his back throughout the whole race.

The ‘turning’ rules govern how each individual negotiates the turnaround. That takes place at the end of each swim lap.

This follows the Amateur Swimming Association or ASA swimming rules and regulations UK. Their governance determines how the swimmer must ‘finish’ to end the race and win.

Rules of Swimming
Follow ‘The UK Rules’ for 2021 Updates