Teaching Tuesday: Officials

Did you know…

  • There are currently 279 certified Officials in the Georgia Swimming LSC. 
  • According to the Georgia Swimming Rules & Regulations, “A minimum of four officials are required in order for a Sanction to be granted. A referee, a starter, at least one Stroke & Turn official and an administrative official are required. The names of these officials must accompany the Sanction Application.”
  • Multiple meets within the Georgia Swimming LSC are hosted on the same weekend, increasing the need for more Officials.

A survey was recently sent out to help us, and you, understand who our Officials are and why we need more of them in the LSC. Here are the results:

62 Officials Responded (22% of our certified Officials)

Length of time officiating








Officials who currently have a child participating in a club









Officials who get paid to officiate









Officials with a background in competitive swimming









“I have officiated or coached sports all of my adult life and believe that swimming teaches more individual life skills than any other athletic activity. I cherish the opportunity to watch the development of swimmers from the 5-year-old struggling to swim the width of a neighborhood pool to the accomplished High School and College swimmers. By officiating I feel as though I help them in a small way to becoming well rounded individuals who possess the skills to be successful in whatever they choose to accomplish in their lives.”

Top 10 reasons for officiating according to Georgia Swimming Officials:

  1. For love of the sport.
  2. Opportunity to be involved in the same activity as my child.
  3. Being on deck with the kids - it’s more fun than sitting in the stands.
  4. Volunteering, giving back to the community/team, and paying it forward.
  5. Help maintain a healthy, organized athletic environment in a sport that finds a way to include swimmers of a broad range of abilities and skills.
  6. Paid high school and college meets help supplement family income.
  7. To learn more about the sport and strokes.
  8. There’s a need for officials.
  9. Enjoyment of watching swimming, getting to know parents, and officials from other teams. The free parking and food are a nice bonus!!
  10. It’s fun!

“My way of giving back to a sport I love and believe in for exercise. Every person needs to know how to swim for their own safety. The competitive part is an added bonus.”

20 pieces of advice for anyone considering officiating:

“Start when your athlete is young. It is a fun way to watch a meet.”

“Try it for a season; even if you don't continue with it, you'll have a much better understanding of the sport.”

“If your kids' swimming is that important to you, you better join in, you will get a deeper understanding and your “words of encouragements” to your kids would be professional as well as personal. Your kid would gain from both worlds.”

“Sign up. It is easy to criticize officials.”

“More fun than sitting in the bleachers. You will likely be in the sport a while if your swimmer is younger or you have multiple swimmers - have your time at the meets count for something.”

“Please consider, as this is a great opportunity to share with your child who is putting countless hours of effort into the sport. I feel like it sends a message to my child that anything that is important to him is important to me.”

“Do not quit. You may feel uncomfortable and intimidating in the beginning but if you continue to do what you suppose to be doing you can make a difference in swimmers learning and the progress.”

“Just do it! You don't need prior experience, the people are great, and having a role makes the meets more fun.”

“Anytime you can help in kids activities, it is a good thing.”

“It's rewarding and you get to have front row seat to all swims!”

“The meets cannot happen without the officials. Your kids need officials to run the meets and to keep it a fair playing field. The kids need to learn if they are doing things wrong so they can fix the problem. It is great for your kids to see that you are volunteering at their events - sets a good example! It is fun - not scary!”

“A great way to fulfill your volunteer obligations to your child's team. A great way to support your child's sport. A great way to enhance your own swim meet experience. A great way to stay out of your child's face, let the coaches coach, but be fugly engaged in their activity. Will work for food.”

“Don't let others intimidate you with their knowledge.”

“Give back to the sport. Officiating allows the individual an opportunity to meet individuals with your common interest. Officiating provides unique challenges which allows expansion of knowledge and the desire to continue to excel in this capacity to benefit the swimmers.”

“Volunteering as an official is the best way to help the sport, keep the sport open to as many families as possible, meet great people, and walk away knowing that you not only helped out your own child but many hundred others. And, personally speaking, my child learned a lot about what it took to run a swim meet and has a lot of respect for all the parents who have helped out over the years.”

“Take advantage of opportunities to work in a variety of venues with a variety of volunteers. Never pass up the experience to work in other LSCs. The opportunities in officiating are limitless, including making friends around the world.”

“If you travel with your children to away (actually any) meets, you get to write off $.14 per mile, room, meals, airfare, and other things. This doesn't get all the money back, but you are going anyway...why not get the tax benefits.”

“Most difficult thing is disqualifying your own child the first time. Need to be fair and consistent. Well worth the effort.”

“It is rewarding and fun. However, don't overdo it or feel obligated to the point where you get burned out.”

“Please consider it. If your child is swimming, you may want to help on deck. Your child's meets are run better with full participation of parents and volunteers, especially officials.”

Additional Reading: 7 Things Every Swim Official Wants Coaches, Swimmers & Parents to Know from SwimSwam