Preparing for big meets

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This time of year, many coaches start thinking about hosting their big Invitational meet, Conference meet, Regionals, Sectionals, Districts or even State meet. Hosting these meets is a big responsibility for the coaches and volunteers. Here are some tips for making sure your meet runs smoothly.

Check your hardware

At least one month before your big meet, test and clean all your hardware. If you have been running dual meets at your pool, you will have a pretty good idea of what is working and what isn’t. If you have items that aren’t working, call IST (800-835-2611) and get an RMA number. Then send it to us referencing that RMA number. We’ll get it repaired and back to you as quickly as we can.

If your hardware fails just before the meet, never fear! We often have items in exchange stock that we can send you. You can use that item while we repair yours, then send it back once your item is returned. We don’t have every item in exchange stock, but it’s worth a call. If we have it, we’ll get it to you.

Update your software

Make sure that your software is up to date and current. The current version of MEETWARE and TIMEWARE is 3.2 dated 12/8/2017. First, make sure to delete any old files from the folder on your computer where you plan to save the file. Then go to and click on the MEETWARE/TIMEWARE version. SAVE the file to your computer. DO NOT RUN, EXTRACT or UNZIP this file. Now open MEETWARE or TIMEWARE and go to Utilities>Update. Click BROWSE and select the file. Click OK, then click UPDATE and follow the instructions on the screen.

Double check the date when you re-open the MEETWARE or TIMEWARE software to make sure that the update went in properly. If you run into any trouble updating your system, give us a call at 800-835-2611.

Check the help files and videos

If it has been a while since you last ran a prelims/finals meet or a big invitational, it’s a good idea to review how to setup and run Championship style meets. You can find a Quick Reference Guide for Championship Meets and links to articles about setting up and running Championship Meets. In MEETWARE or TIMEWARE go to Help>Help and scroll down the left side to find Championship Meets – Quick Reference.
You can also watch our video help files about Championship Meets on our YouTube channel: .
If you have further questions or you would like someone to help you with setting up the meet, give us a call at 800-835-2611. We can walk you through it on the phone or set up a TeamViewer session so that we can see what is on your computer and walk you through the process.

Check your supplies

Make a list and check it twice. Do you have everything you need? Stopwatches, pencils, clip boards, extra touchpads and backup buttons, volunteer timers, food for the coaches, water for the swimmers, ice for injuries, first aid kit, chairs, tables, trash cans. The list is endless.

Get your volunteers

Make sure you have people who can run the timing computer (and Meet Manager computer if you are running TIMEWARE), people to be backup timers on the lane, take admission money, man the coaches hospitality table, be runners, etc. Lots of hands makes light work for a meet like this!

If you have parents that you trust, delegate the assigning of volunteer positions to them. They can take your list of positions and find people to help fill them, freeing you up to worry about other things.

Have a backup plan

What will you do if there is bad weather? What if a touchpad goes bad in the middle of the meet? What if someone spills water on your computer? If you have backup plans in place for every emergency, then you won’t need them.
Have a second computer loaded with MEETWARE or TIMEWARE. Make sure that one is updated too! Any time you make changes to your meet, whether it is setting it up, putting in entries or during a break in the action of the meet, you should make a backup. Go to Utilities>Backup>Backup. Click Browse to select the location, then click BACKUP to save the file. The backup file will save a System is your system name, like LITE or OHMEN. Make sure to save it to a thumb drive or network drive and not to the hard drive of your computer!

If the unthinkable happens and your main computer goes down, don’t panic! Boot up the back up computer, open up MEETWARE or TIMEWARE, go to Utilities>Backup>Restore, and restore the latest backup. You may lose a little bit of data, but it won’t be the end of the world and the meet will continue on.

Run a test

If you haven’t run a prelims/finals meet in a while, it’s a good idea to do a dry run. You can create a test system that will allow you to play around with the meet and its data without interfering with the actual meet.
Go to Utilities>System and select your system. Then click the COPY TO TEST button on the upper right of the screen. Answer the questions and your whole system will be copied into a TEST folder. You will be automatically logged in to the TEST system. You can tell by looking at the name in parenthesis at the top of the MEETWARE or TIMEWARE screen.

Check the DEMO check box on the screen under the system name, exit the system and go for it! You can run events with the touchpad simulator, watch how the scoring happens, review how to put award information up on the scoreboard and much more.

Once you are done playing with the meet, don’t forget to switch back to your original system!

Last minute items

  • Things to check before at least 24 hours before your meet starts:
  • Is your printer working? Do you have enough paper and ink?
  • Plug in your SWIMSTART to charge overnight. Make sure that the outlet that you plug it into has power running to it!
  • Double check your lists, are you missing anything?
  • Breathe – this is going to be fine!

If you start preparing for your big meet in advance, everything is going to run smoothly. We’ll be there to help along the way. If you have questions or you run into any issues give us a call at 800-835-2611 24/7 or e-mail us at

Visit IST at a Swim Clinic in 2018

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IST will be at several swim clinics in 2018.

Stop by our booth to visit with us, ask questions or play with our new Bluetooth enabled pace clocks. Don’t forget to enter the drawing to win a new pace clock while you’re there!

Pacific Swim Coaches Clinic
January 6 – 7, 2018
Napa, CA

CSCAA Conference
May 6 – 8, 2018
Evanston, IL

Central States Swim Clinic
May 18 -20, 2018
Oak Brook, IL

TISCA Clinic
September 13-16, 2018
Doubletree North
Austin, Texas

Eastern States Swim Clinic
October 5-7, 2018
Cherry Hill, NJ

Ohio Swimposium
October TBD
Columbus, OH

*tentative dates


FREE Training is Available from IST

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Coaching graphic  IST Offers FREE Training

Is your volunteer computer operator “graduating” soon? Do you have new parents who are eager to jump in and help?  Are you hosting your championship meet for the first time in 4 years? Do you just want to brush up on how to use certain aspects of the IST Software? Never fear, we’re here to help!

IST offers free 24/7 phone support if you need it, but we can also offer personalized on-line training sessions as well. All you need is a phone and the IST software loaded onto a computer with internet access.

First call 800-835-2611 or e-mail us at to schedule an appointment for your training session. Next, download the free version of TeamViewer ( onto the computer with the IST software, then give us a call at the appointed time. We’ll be able to log in to your computer and see what you see. We’ll then talk you through the steps, or take control and show you the steps. You can have a one-on-one session, or bring in your whole team to learn the software.

Would you prefer having us on site? We’ll do that too. The cost of a 3-hour training session at your pool is $240 plus travel expenses. Contact us at 800-835-2611 or to get a quote.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving!      Swimclock with Bluetooth

Are you looking for a Christmas gift for your coaching staff? Look no further than a Bluetooth enabled pace clock. IST’s SWIMCLOCKBT is our popular rugged pace clock with a Bluetooth connection built in. Download the app onto your Android or iPhone and program your pace clock. You can run in Timer mode, Game Clock Mode, EZ Mode or Workout Mode.

main screen on iphone

Clock mode runs allows you to stop, start and reset a continuous count clock or sound the horn at the touch of a button. Game Clock mode allows you to count up or down to a set time, then sounds the horn when the time is reached. You can also stop or reset the clock or sound the horn with the touch of a button. EZ Mode allows you to enter an amount of repetitions, a time and whether you want to count up or down. The horn will sound each time an interval starts, and at the end of the number of intervals the clock will go blank. You can stop or reset the clock or sound the horn with the touch of a button.

Workout mode on iphone


In Workout Mode you can enter sets with up to 99 repeats and an unlimited number of intervals. Run the set right from that screen, or save it and combine an unlimited number of sets into a workout. Run a workout continuously or set it up to wait between sets, giving you the option to talk to your athletes before sending them on to the next set. Your workouts are limited only by your imagination!

Do you already own an IST Clock? No need to replace it, just purchase the Bluetooth Adapter to plug into the existing connector and you are off and running.

Get WORKWARE for only $35!

WORKWARE set building screenAs a holiday bonus we are offering our WORKWARE software (MSRP $350) for only $35 when you purchase a Bluetooth clock or Bluetooth adapter. WORKWARE allows you to build sets and workouts on your computer, then download them to your phone to run on the Bluetooth pace clock. Purchase on our website or call us at 800-835-2611 to place your order today.



Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

Download the latest MEETWARE/TIMEWARE update

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There is a new MEETWARE/TIMEWARE update (v. 3.2) dated 11/13/17. You can download it here:

Remember to delete any old MWUPDATE.EXE files from the folder or desktop before downloading the latest one. Once you  have downloaded the update, go to UTILITIES>UPDATE. Select the downloaded file, click Update and follow the instructions to complete the update.

Our first Scoreboard turns 26 this month

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Our First Scoreboard is 26 years old and still working!

That’s right, our very first scoreboard has been in continuous use for 26 years in November. Pretty impressive, isn’t it?

Our Scoreboard Origin Story

When Eve Julian (our Sales and Support Specialist) was swimming in high school, the scoreboard at the high school pool caught on fire. Her dad Dick Farnsworth (President of IST) was on the committee to raise money for a replacement. In 1991, the only scoreboards on the market for swimming were the solenoid flipper boards. Dick was frustrated with the high price and lack of information on the available scoreboards. Fortunately, he owned an engineering company and had just finished up a project using a new product called LED’s. Working with his business partner, Dick designed and built the very first Alphanumeric scoreboard for swimming. It was the first one to be able to display both names and times. To make it easier for Eve’s swim coach to interface with the scoreboard he wrote a software package called SWIMWARE, which ran on a computer. SWIMWARE would later evolve into our current MEETWARE and TIMEWARE software packages.

The project was supposed to be a one-off, just for Ottawa Hills. However, a visiting team parent saw the scoreboard and said, “I must have one of those, where did you get it?” He talked Dick into producing more, and it became a second company. Both the industrial engineering company (Industrial Service Technology) and the swim timing company (International Sports Timing) are going strong today.

25 year old scoreboard

How do our scoreboards last so long?

Our scoreboards are designed to last. Industrial environments can be as harsh as pool environments, so Dick used his prior experience to build a product that would stand up to the environment. We use gold connectors whenever possible and we conformal coat the circuit and LED boards to keep the moisture off the components. The boards are designed so that you can still use the scoreboard, even if one panel is removed. That makes repairs easy. IST is committed to making a long-lasting product, and we work very hard to make sure that we don’t obsolete parts, especially for our scoreboards. Even if you have a component fail, we can repair it. Every few years, the 26-year-old board has one or two panels that don’t come on, but a quick fix and it is back up and running!

After a while, the environment can get to even the best electronic equipment. Our scoreboards are designed so that a lot of the repairs can be completed by a building maintenance person, or even a team parent. Replacing connectors and scoreboard panels is quick and easy to do, and if you get stuck help is only a phone call away! We’re also happy to come to you and do the repairs, if that is what you prefer.

The scoreboards last as long as they do because we know that a scoreboard is the biggest investment that you can make for your parents. A team with an already tight budget shouldn’t have to replace their scoreboard every 5 to 7 years. It should be a permanent fixture in your facility for years to come. Our scoreboards, and really all of our products, are designed that way on purpose.

Customer Testimonials

We are very fortunate to have some loyal and long-time customers. Often, we get to see them at the clinics that we go to. Sometimes that is the only time that we talk to them, they hardly ever call for help! When they do call, we get them back up and running in no time flat.

Some of our customers were nice enough to send us testimonials about our products, people and service. Check out the new testimonials page on our website.

If you would like to add your story to our testimonials page, please send your comments or videos to We would love to hear from you!

Used Equipment

Occasionally, a team upgrades their equipment or moves out of their facility and needs to sell equipment. When that happens, we list it on our Used Equipment page.  Do you have something you want to sell? Send a photo of the item, brief description, price, location and contact information to We’ll post your listing and have interested buyers contact you directly to arrange payment and pickup/shipping of the item.

Thinking of upgrading from a console to an IST system? We’ll list your existing equipment here too. You’d be surprised how many people are looking for a reliable backup console at a cheap price!

Used equipment page

Tips for Running Diving Events

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Free Training!

Do you need a refresher course on using MEETWARE or TIMEWARE? Is there a new parent volunteer who needs training? We can help with that. Check out our training videos on our YouTube channel, or schedule a personal on-line training session with Jane or Eve.  Call 800-835-2611 or e-mail to schedule an appointment. All you need is the computer you use for timing connected to the internet and to download TeamViewer ( At the appointed time, call the office at 800-835-2611. We’ll log in to your computer where we can either watch what you are doing or show you how. Whether you need a few questions answered or to be trained from the ground up, we can do that. Schedule a session today!


Tips and Tricks for Running Diving in MEETWARE and TIMEWARE

If you run diving at your pool, here are some helpful tips and tricks for setting up and running the event. These items are all available to MEETWARE users and TIMEWARE users who have the TMW-D Diving license, and some of them are available to everyone.  Not sure if you have the diving license? Go to HELP/ABOUT and see if Diving is enabled.  Got questions about diving? Give us a call at 800-835-2611 or send an e-mail to

Validating and sending dive sheets to anyone

6 Dive List

IST offers a FREE dive sheet generator on our website. This allows you to enter either a 6-dive or an 11-dive meet. Once the dives have been entered, you can validate the meet against the NFHS rules for 6 or 11 dives by clicking the VALIDATE button at the top of the page. Once you have a valid dive sheet, you can e-mail, print or download the sheet. There is also an option to print a blank sheet, in case other dive coaches need one.

Pre-entering the dives

Pre-loading the dive list.

If you have copies of the dive sheets prior to the diving event starting, you can pre-load the dives in for each diver. In TIMING (if you don’t mind seeing the 1st divers information on the scoreboard while you are working) or in OFFLINE SCORING (if you don’t want info on the scoreboard), select the diving event.

After you have the event set up (number of divers, dives and judges are all correct), RIGHT CLICK on a divers name. This will bring up a window with divers name on top, the round and the dive number. Enter the dive number for each round. Remember that you must enter the number and the position letter (i.e. 101C, 5211D). If a dive is not found in the database, it will turn red and you can correct it.

Once you are finished entering all the dives, click VALIDATE (for an 11-dive meet) or DONE. Now when you run the diving even the dives will appear automatically for each diver. If a diver wants to change a dive, you can change the dive during the event by swiping on the dive number and typing in the new (or correct) one.

Using the Failed and Balk Buttons

Fail and Balk buttons

If a diver fails a dive, rather than typing in 0 for all the judges, you can click the FAILED button to fail the dive and automatically move on.

If a diver balks, it is an automatic 2-point deduction. Usually the judges will just take the 2 points off the score they were going to give and report the reduced score. If you prefer, you can have them report their original score, then click the BALK button, then click OK to accept the dives. After clicking BALK the scores that are accepted will be 2 points lower than the original score. Either method is legal.


DQ’ing or Scratching a Diver

Diver Status list

Sometimes it becomes necessary to scratch a diver for injury or DQ a diver. Once a diver has failed 2 dives, they are disqualified from the rest of the event. IF you need to scratch or DQ a diver, click STOP to stop running diving for the moment. Click on the STATUS column to the right of the diver’s name, and select either DQ or OFF. Click START to return to where you left off. Any divers with a DQ or OFF status will remain in the list but will be skipped in the dive order as the event is run.

Fixing Scores

Edit Score Screen

Scores are occasionally entered incorrectly. Rather that stopping to fix it, you can make a note of it and fix it later. After diving has been run, but before you SCORE the event, click on the TOTSCOR column to the right of the diver’s name. This will bring up a grid with all the dives, the DD and the individual judges scores. Any of this information can be edited and saved. The total score will be corrected and updated automatically as the changes are made.

Printing Reports

Diving report example

Once diving is complete you can print the order of finish for the divers.  Select either ORDER, which prints the place and total scores ordered by diver number, or SCORE which prints the same information ordered by total score.


If you have any other questions about running diving events, please contact us at 800-835-2611 or We’re happy to answer any and all questions!

Equipment Damaged? Read this!

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If any of your equipment has been damaged by the recent severe weather or fire events, please contact us and we’ll help you get back in business as quickly as possible!   800-835-2611 |

6 Hidden Features of TIMEWARE/MEETWARE

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The IST timing software packages (TIMEWARE and MEETWARE) are designed to be easy to use and intuitive. Many people figure out the basics right away, but have you ever spent time exploring some of the other menu items outside of Meet Setup and Basic Timing? There are videos on our website that show some of the tips and tricks for MEETWARE, some of which are available in TIMEWARE too.  Here are a few menu items and tricks that you may not have been aware of.


reindex message box

Re-Index fixes corrupt data files.

Every once in a while, something will cause the software to crash. If there is a database open (usually in timing or seeding) this can cause a problem with the data. Especially if you must do a soft shutdown (CTRL-ALT-DEL) or a hard reset (reboot the computer). If this happens, or if you are seeing data that doesn’t look correct, you can do a re-index of the database.

From the main menu go to Utilities and select Reindex. A rectangular box will pop up on the screen and run through the databases. Very often this happens so quickly that you don’t even see it. When it is done you’ll see a message telling you that re-indexing is complete. That is all there is to it. You can do it any time, it doesn’t hurt to do it periodically to keep the databases healthy.

Break Timer

Break timer image

Break Timer displays on the scoreboard during breaks in the meet

If you have a scoreboard that you use with your system, you can put up a timer during breaks to let everyone know how long until the next event begins. You can access it from the timing screen by clicking on the “Break” button on the right side of the screen, or by going to Utilities/Break Timer. However you get there, it brings up a screen that allows you to select which lane and column you want the time to show on the scoreboard, how long the break is, and whether the clock should count up or down. If you have an Alphanumeric scoreboard, you can also include up to 5 characters of text that will display in front of the clock. Once you click the START button, the timer will display on the scoreboard and on the computer screen.

Time of Day Clock

Time of Day clock display

Time of Day Clock displays the computer time on the scoreboard

The Time of Day clock allows you to post the current time on your scoreboard. The time will be whatever time is on your computer and shows the hours, minutes and seconds. Like the break timer, you can select which lane and column you would like to display the time on. The Time of Day Clock can be accessed through the Utilities menu.

Center All Lines on the message board

message board centered

Quickly center all the text on each line

If you have an alphanumeric scoreboard, you have probably used the message function. Did you know that there is a shortcut to centering the text on all of the lines at once? After typing your message in to each line, right click on any line of text. You’ll see a pop-up menu that allows you to align just that line to the center (the red line down the middle indicates the center line), or center all lines.

Offline Scoring  

offline scoring screen

Edit and re-send heat/event data

Offline scoring allows you to go back and make corrections to events either before or after they have been run. It looks a lot like the timing screen, but none of the data will show up on the scoreboard. Go to Meets/Offline Scoring. Here you can check the race number and status of any heat. If you want to re-time the heat, just click the UnCheck to Time Again check box. Clicking the ADJUST button allows you to adjust finish times based on the NFHS rules for adjusting missed pad times. Here you can also add or delete heats, reprint heat results, change times or names and score the event.

If you are using GNET to send the results to Meet Manager, you can also come here to resend either individual races or the results from the whole meet. Click the Send All check box on the lower right quadrant of the screen, click Gnet Send and your results will be sent out to the folder assigned to GNET. You can also view the team scores for the meet from this screen.


Pad Stats  

pad stat report printout

See which touchpads aren’t working

Occasionally you will find that you seem to be having issues with your pads or buttons. The Pad Stat report give you an easy way to look for patterns that might indicate the failure of a certain piece of equipment. From the Main Menu, go to Meets/Diagnostics/Pad Stats. Select the meet and which type of report you want – matrix or summary. Click Analyze, then click Print to print the report.

This report gives you a much clearer view of whether the failures were confined to a single lane (signaling a problem with the equipment in that lane) or if they were more random and spread out (indicating possible human error – not hitting the pad or being too fast or slow on the backup button). This is also a great report to send to us when you do find you have a problem. It will help us narrow down the issues and get to the solution more quickly.


When you get a chance, explore the menus and see what your software can do. We’re here to make your life easier, so if you think of something that it doesn’t do but you’d like it to – send us a note!


How to Swim a Faster Backstroke, by Understanding Freestyle

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This is a guest post courtesy of Abbie Fish of RITTER Sports Performance. From qualifying for the Olympic Trials to working at USA Swimming’s headquarters, Abbie has been on all sides of swimming. Abbie is a stroke mechanics guru and believes anyone with the heart to train can benefit from technical advice! [CLICK HERE] for a FREE stroke technique lesson from Coach Abbie!

How to Swim a Faster Backstroke, by Understanding Freestyle:

Backstroke can be a challenging stroke, even for those swimmers who have already mastered freestyle. The backstroke stroke is often misleading to a Pro-freestyler due to the fact it’s VERY fundamentally similar to freestyle. Just because you’ve conquered freestyle, doesn’t mean backstroke will come easy. I plan to explain THREE ways these two strokes are fundamentally similar, what you can do to improve your backstroke using these similarities, and lastly, swim a faster backstroke, by understanding the freestyle fundamentals!


Let’s get started…


1.) Both Strokes are Long-Axis Strokes

Just like freestyle, backstroke is a long-axis stroke. Well, what does that mean exactly? Long-Axis means that your body rotates around the sagittal (or longitudinal) axis of your body. The sagittal axis splits the body in half—leaving your right arm and right leg on one side, and your left arm and left leg on the other side.

This axis is important because rotation in freestyle and backstroke is centered around it. Without proper rotation, or a strong core connection—your stroke will look floppy and disconnected while turning your body from side to side.


2.) The Horizontal Body Position

Another similarity between these two strokes, is the horizontal body position. When you swim either Free or Back, you want the swimmer’s body to be comfortably floating on the surface. Obviously, things get a little more complicated if you start rotating, pulling, and adding in a kick; BUT the ideal and best position a swimmer can be in is– floating right at the top of the surface with little or no body angle.

I’m sure if you’re a coach or a swimmer, you’ve been told to “put your head down” in freestyle. Well, that same reasoning is applied to backstroke by “tilting your head back.” The reason we like to change your head position in both of these strokes is because it affects your body line (as described above). If a straight line is the best position a swimmer can be in in the pool–then looking forward in freestyle, or looking at your feet in backstroke will ultimately change that positioning.


With my swimmers, I like to tell them to “lift their chin up.” This phrase gets away from strictly thinking about moving their head back. Instead, swimmers think about creating space between their chin and chest. I have seen better changes with this verbiage than the regular, “look up towards the sky”, or “lay your head back” phrases.


3. The Kick

The last and final way freestyle and backstroke are similar is due to the kick. Fundamentally, the kick movement is the same between both strokes—you’re just on your back for backstroke. Remember: the kick is initiated through the lower abs/hips and finishes out with a good flick from your feet/toes.

The more plantar flexibility you have, the faster your kick will be—in both of these strokes. One main difference with the kick in freestyle and backstroke is the fact your knees are closer to the water’s surface while backstroke kicking.

It becomes pretty evident if a swimmer is kicking using too much knee bend, because their knees will break through the surface while kicking on their back, if so.

Be sure to stay tuned next week where we discuss how to IMPROVE your backstroke stroke, using these similarities to your advantage!

Until Next Time,

A. Fish