Talent Pool

By Claire Munro

Multi-talented Nicola has a new string to her bow: she’s just qualified as a level J2(S) swimming judge.

A few years ago it became apparent that her daughter was so brilliant at club swimming that Nicola was going to be spending a lot of time poolside. With typical pragmatism, she decided that she might as well do something useful while she was there.

The first step was to train as a timekeeper. According to British Swimming, “timing is the swimmer’s measure of performance. The role of timekeepers is to accurately determine the time it took each swimmer to cover the distance of the event. Final placement of the swimmers in each event is determined by their times and finish order. Therefore, precision and accuracy are important for timekeepers.”

I love the clarity of this briefing. It not only defines the job and the skills you need in order to do it, but also sets the context. It tells you what you need to do and why it’s important. I feel I’m in safe hands with British Swimming and the person who writes their briefing documents.

Never one to sit about when she could be doing something productive, Nicola soon embarked on the training to be a judge.

The judge’s role is lovely and clear too. Judges “should observe swimmers to verify conformity with the rules and report the infringement when the rules are broken … and ensure fair and equitable competition for all swimmers.” There it is again: detail set into the big picture. So essential for all of us, to be clear about what it is we’re trying to do and how it fits with the overall strategy. In a recent After Action Review, which we do after every project to check we’ve captured anything we can learn from it, we noticed that the bits people weren’t entirely sure about were the bits that could have gone better.

So in future I’ll be challenging myself and the team to make sure that our communications are as clear as British Swimming’s.  And when we’re not sure we’ll ask our resident judge!