We Need YOU!

Greetings Barracuda Parents,

The team desperately needs parents to volunteer as officials. While the number of officials we have on our roster seems healthy, an analysis shows that the team has a looming problem.  We currently have twenty officials registered with the Barracudas.  However, eight no longer have a swimmer on the team; five are parents of children age 13 or older; only two officials have children under the age of ten.  While some of our childless officials continue to generously volunteer at times, we cannot expect them to continue to do so indefinitely.  Of the twelve officials who worked our Early Bird Meet, half did not have a child competing. Without their generous contribution of time and talents we could not have been able to hold that swim meet.

What does the looming shortage of officials mean for the team? It will be more difficult to hold swim meets in the future. Swim meets are a major source of revenue for the team.  Being able to host well-run meets that provide a predictable income stream for the club helps keep dues low.

In less than two years the number of officials with children swimming in 12 & under meet sessions will not be adequate to run the meet.  We will have to ask parents of older swimmers and our alumni officials to volunteer to work several sessions in which they have no swimmer competing.  While we always appreciate such generosity, it is not something that we can or should rely on.

In order to be proactive and maintain the officiating strength of our club, this is something we need to start addressing now.  It takes time to train as an entry-level official, such as a Stroke and Turn Judge. More time and experience is necessary to work up to higher positions such as Starter and Referee.  

The good news is that it is quick and easy to get started. No prior swimming experience is necessary. Simply go to the Barracuda website, click on the “Officials” tab at the top and follow the directions. The first steps to become an apprentice Stroke & Turn official will take an hour. After that you will have plenty of time to learn as an apprentice on deck with no pressure of making calls. Once certified, the team will reimburse you for your USA Swimming registration and online background check. 

Being an official is fun and you will be helping both the club and your child.

If you have any questions about becoming an official please contact Officials Coordinator Andy Slap at or 423.631.1601. Also feel free to approach any official or board member at practice.

Thank-you in advance for your support,

Andy Slap

BSC Officials Coordinator