How to Be a Ribbon Writer for a Swim Team

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 Known as the ribbon writer, the proper name is the Awards Official for the swim team. This article will give you the details that you need to do the position well.

Make the commitment to be at every swim meat and do the work required before or after the swim meet. You are an Official and the team needs your commitment to have a great season. While you have an easier job during the swim meet you will always be the last official at work. The last swimmers touch the wall, the timers write down the time, the automation officials enter it into the computer and print out the last batch of labels which you then put onto the ribbons.

Pack a bag with all of the equipment that you will need. The basics are 1. Rule book 2. container to store your teams ribbons and 3. Finisher ribbons. More on these two below. Additional supplies include scissors to cut pages of labels to split between you and the other ribbon writer, pens to write in any ribbons that do not have labels, tape in case a label gets torn. And then for you, sunscreen, water bottle and a snack.

Always read the Rule Book before the meet. Ribbons are awarded differently for each type of meet. A regular swim meet will probably have ribbons printed for places 1 through 6. Relay Rally might have medals for the placed 1 through 3 and then stop there. Divisionals may have medals for places 1 through 3 and ribbons for 4 through 6. Even if you are not hosting the meet, make sure you read the rules in case the host ribbon writer did not adjust the awards. You will be doing him/her a big favor so that they have enough awards to last the entire season.

Have a container for storing the ribbons. Talk to the coach and ask what the coaches preferences are for handing out the ribbons. If the coach wants to be able to pull out each child’s ribbons individually you will mostly use a 5×7 card box that is large enough to hold and entire meets ribbons. If the coach just wants it alphabetically an accordion file will do.

You will be the one to carry out the coaches wishes for handing out the ribbons. Never do this during the meet you will end up with a crush of kids while you are trying to wrap up the meet. Let the kids know when/where/who will be handing out the ribbons and then stick to it even though you will be asked a million times to bend the rules.

Six section container for holding the ribbons Preparing for a home meet. Some ribbon writers prefer to make an envelope labeled for each event and put the correct number of unlabeled ribbons into each envelop. Other ribbon writers get a plastic container from the Container Store or craft stores that can be divided into six sections the shape of the official ribbons. This requires less prep but some ribbon writers like the check and balance of having envelops for each event.

You are the last quality check to maker sure that the times have made it from pool side, into the computer, onto a label and onto a ribbon. Always get a program before the swim meet. After you have applied a batch of labels onto ribbons check them off in the program. If you are missing a label/ribbon for a swimmer, check it against the record of the event, the child may have scratched (missed the event) or disqualified themselves. If the child should have had a ribbon, ask the automation officials to print or hand write the label.

Swim Teams usually have to buy their own participation or “finisher” ribbons for those that come in after 6th place. Make sure you have enough to last the season.


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