Official Certification

THY swimmers attend both YMCA meets and USA Swimming meets during the course of the season (both short and long course seasons). Officials at YMCA meets are required to be certified YMCA officials and officials at USA Swimming sanctioned meets are required to be USA Swimming certified. Although YMCA swimming adopted the USA Swimming technical rules on September 1, 2006, USA Swimming certified officials do not automatically become YMCA officials, nor vice versa.  The following is a summary of the official’s certification requirements. THY is going to schedule a YMCA officials Clinic for the early fall 2014.  This clinic will count for both YMCA and USA clinics.


Certification Requirements

YMCA Official

To become a YMCA official, you must attend a YMCA officials’ certification clinic, take the open book test online, and gain on-deck experience. Recertification is every three years.  In the Early Fall THY is going to try and set up for an officials certification clinic to be held at THY.   

Expectations of YMCA Officials/Recertification

YMCA officials are expected to work a minimum of twelve (12) meets over a three (3) year period (more if needed) and be available to work invitational meets in which their swimmer is participating, including championship meets.

USA Official

To become a certified official one must complete the following:

  1. Attend a Stroke & Turn/Administrative Official clinic facilitated by a member of the Middle Atlantic Officials Committee (For information regarding local clinics go to the Middle Atlantic Swimming website ). 
  2. Complete the Coaches/Officials Background Check.  The Middle Atlantic Swimming Office will be notified of successful completion of the background check.  The fee for the background check will be reimbursed by Middle Atlantic Swimming upon completion of all of the requirements for certification (details available here). Please read the information on the USA Swimming Background Check Program page, including FAQs. Individuals associated with addresses in certain NY counties may be subject to additional fees (FAQ #10). (added 10/2/13
  1. Register with USA Swimming as a Non-Athlete Member.  Memberships run annually; anyone joining after September 1 will have a valid membership through the following calendar year.  Memberships cannot be processed until the Background Check is completed and accepted.

****One may begin as an apprentice judge at this point (Admin Official candidates must complete the online test - see steps 4 and 6 below - prior to apprentice sessions).  Both the Background Check and the USA Swimming non-athlete membership must be accepted prior to working on deck as an apprentice official.  The remainder of the steps may be completed during the apprentice period.***

  1. Create an online account with USA Swimming.  Click on "Sign In" at the upper right corner, then follow the links to "Create an Account."  This will allow you to complete the Athlete Protection Training and the online certification tests.  It will also allow you to track your activity and certification cards
  1. Complete the Athlete Protection Training Course. Your non-athlete membership must be processed before you will be able to access this online program.  The Middle Atlantic Swimming Office will be notified once you have completed the program
  1. Complete the USA Swimming online test: "Certification - Stroke & Turn/Timer" or "Certification - Administrative Official" any time between attending the clinic and completing the required apprentice sessions.  Additional instructions for completing the test may be found here.  You may initiate the test, save it, print it and return to the online version to input your responses at a later date (recommended.)  Results are automatically sent to MA Officials Committee Chair once test is completed.
  1. Apprentice with a certified official at six (6) sessions (Admin Officials - 2 sessions which may be at the same meet).  For Stroke & Turn judges these sessions may include up to two (2) dual meet and/or Mini meet sessions.  You may receive apprentice credit for up to two sessions per meet regardless of total number of sessions observed.  You will initially observe alongside another certified official, but you may be expected to report potential rules violations that you observe during your last two sessions. You do not need to complete the online test before beginning these sessions, but it is recommended that you do so.  **Please adhere to the MA Officials' Dress Code when observing as an apprentice.
  1. Mail completed apprentice card to: 
                           Fred Killian, MAS Officials Committee
                           1138 Elderon Drive
                          Wilmington, DE 19808
Interested in becoming a USA official?  Have questions?  Email [email protected]
Details of this certification process are available here.


Expectations of USA Officials/Recertification

USA officials are expected to work a minimum of twelve (12) sanctioned USA meets over a two (2) year period with at least 4 each year. It also recommended that one meet is a championship meet.


YMCA versus USA Swimming Certification

The THY swim team participates in both YMCA and USA Swimming meets. However, first and foremost, we are a YMCA swim team.  It is recommended that all THY officials first become YMCA certified.  In order to conduct our meet season, many officials are needed during the season and by providing officials at meets helps off set requirements for other meet workers like timers.  If you are already a YMCA official it is encouraged that you obtain your USA official certification.   If you are already a USA official, you only need to clinic class and pass the test to become a YMCA official. You will not need to gain on-deck experience as this would already have been obtained as a USA official.

CLICK HERE for an easy-to-reference chart detailing the certification and recertification process for MA swim officials, including the parallels with YMCA certifications.

Middle Atlantic Swimming Stroke & Turn Certification Procedure For Officials attending a YMCA clinic

  1. Officials that attend a YMCA Level 1 or Level 2 clinic may also obtain certification as a USA Swimming/Middle Atlantic official by the following procedure. Middle Atlantic Swimming is responsible for certifying officials in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and all of Delaware. The general requirements for certification are: (a) attend a clinic for new officials, (b) pass an online test for new ‘Stroke & Turn’ officials, and (c) work at a specified number of sanctioned meet sessions as an apprentice official.
  2. Middle Atlantic (MA) will recognize attendance at certain YMCA clinics in lieu of a MA clinic. Anyone attending such clinic should notify the MA Officials Coordinator giving the date, location and instructor for the YMCA clinic. This notification should be sent to: [email protected] , or mailed to the address or email at the bottom of the page.
  1. New officials may take the YMCA Level 1 or Level 2 test (in lieu of the USA Swimming test). They should send a copy of their test and/or test results to the MA Officials Coordinator. The YMCA and USA-S tests are based on the same technical rules questions; all questions are true/false or multiple choice. To take the USA Swimming test, go to: , and click the ‘Testing & Certification’ tab under the ‘Member Resources’ dropdown menu. Use ‘MA’ as the LSC - the results of the test will be sent to the MA Officials Chair. All participants are notified of the results of their test.
  1. All USA-S officials must be non-athlete members of USA Swimming. An application form can be found in the Forms section of Notify the Officials Coordinator when you send your application, or if you are already a member. Applications sent after September 1 will have membership valid through the following calendar year. All USA Swimming officials must complete a BackGround Check (BGC) and an Athlete Protection Training (APT) program. The BGC must be with the USA-S vendor; it can be initiated at any time by going to ; officials must take the Level 2 BGC. The initial cost of the BGC will be reimbursed by MA when an official completes the certification program. MA will be notified when you complete the BGC. You can iinitiate the BGC at any time. The APT is at There is no cost for the APT program, but you cannot take the APT until your membership application is processed – including completion of the BGC. Both these programs must be completed before a USA Swimming registration card is issued.
  1. New MA officials must work as an ‘apprentice’ Stroke & Turn Judge at six (6) sessions of USA-S swim meets. (Experienced Level 2 Y-officials may have to work only four (4) sessions toward certification.) The sessions may include no more than two (2) dual meet and/or Mini-meet sessions. A card to be signed by the Referee at each session will be sent to you. All training sessions must be with a MA certified Referee. During the last two sessions, you may be expected to observe and report any potential rules violations that you observe to the referee. Note: you must have completed the BGC before you will be given the card.
  1. Proper attire for all officials, including apprentice officials, is a white collared shirt with dark (Navy) blue slacks, skirt or shorts. Jeans, sweatshirts, sweat pants or T-shirts are NOT appropriate. White sneakers or deck shoes are required. Please report to the Referee at least thirty (30) minutes before the start of any session at which you intend to work – even if you have not contacted the referee prior to the meet.


If you have any further questions about becoming either a USA or YMCA official, contact Megan Swope at [email protected].