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Becoming an Official

How do I become an official?

YMCA Swim Official

Level 1 Certification​ - You will need to attend a YMCA official’s certification clinic. The course is designed to certify Swim Officials in the areas of Stroke and Turn Judge, Relay Take-off judge, Place Judge and Timer.  You will then need to take the test (online test with open rulebook) and get on deck as much as possible for experience, first as an apprentice. Recertify every three years (one year with minimum 8 sessions if you wish to progress to Level 2 certification).   Minimum age is 21 and you must be associated with a YMCA sponsored Swim Team.  Proof of sessions worked is required for recertification.

Level 2 Certification - You will need to attend a YMCA official Level 2 certification clinic.  The course is designed to certify Swim Officials in the areas of Chief Judge, Starter and Referee.  To become Level 2 certified you MUST have completed at least one year as a Level 1 certified official and officiated a minimum of 8 sessions as a certified YMCA Swim Official.  You will need to take the test (online test with open rulebook).  Recertify every three years.  Minimum number of sessions required for recertification is 12.  Proof of sessions worked is required.

MYM YMCA officials are expected to work a minimum of three dual meets a year and be available to work YMCA Invitational meets in which their swimmer is participating, including YMCA Championship Meets. 

MYM swimmers attend both YMCA meets and USA Swimming meets. Officials at YMCA meets are required to be certified YMCA officials and officials at USA Swimming are required to be USA Swimming certified. Although YMCA swimming adopted the USA Swimming technical rules on September 1, 2006 USA Swimming certified officials will not automatically become YMCA officials nor vice versa.  (See below for clarification)

Concurrent USA Certification - You can apply at the same time you are seeking YMCA Certification to become a USA Level 5 official – you do not need to take any additional classes, but do need to fill out an application, become a member of USA swimming, pass a background check and take an on-line Athlete Protection course.  It is important to tell your instructor that you are also certifying for USA and he/she will guide you. If you are taking the Level 1 certification clinic, you will need to apprentice for both Y meets and USA meets.  If you have been a YMCA Level 1 official for a year and have worked at least 8 meets, you can take the Level 2 certification clinic.  If you apply for USA certification at that time, you will not need to apprentice at USA meets and this may be the best route from a time-management point of view to becoming a USA official.  Note that the Y Certification Clinic must be one that is listed on the NJ Swimming website for concurrent USA Certification.

USA Swimming Official (if done independently of a Y Certification)

Prospective Stroke & Turn Judges (Level 5)

  • Attend a Stroke & Turn training clinic.  This can be a USA-S or YMCA course; however, only YMCA courses (Level 1 or 2) listed on the NJ Swim web site can be substituted for a USA-S course. 

  • You will need to take the test (online with open rulebook) for that position.  This can be either the YMCA or USA-S test so that duplication will not be required.  In addition if the Y test is taken in conjunction with a Y course, this course must be listed on the NJ Swim web site.

  • Be a member of USA Swimming

  • Be at least 18 years old

Upon completion of the above, a New Jersey Swimming apprentice official’s card will be issued.

The apprentice will be required to participate in a total of four (4) sessions in at least two (2) different meets at NJ Swimming sanctioned meets. Participation at championship meets will not count towards your apprenticeship qualification. Championship meets are defined as JO’s, Junior States and Holiday Classic. This participation will involve working with a certified stroke & turn judge or higher. The apprentice may not make calls or disqualifications but will accompany the experienced official during the meet as a training session. The referee should sign the back of the apprentice card for each complete session at which the apprentice worked.

Upon completion of the four apprentice sessions, send a photocopy of both side of the apprentice official’s card to the New Jersey Swimming Certification Coordinator. An updated New Jersey Swimming official’s certification card will be issued and sent along with a "New Jersey Swimming Official" patch.

Recertify every 3 years.

As a MYM official, you will be reimbursed for the following expenses:

  • Fees for YMCA and USA-S certification / recertification clinics.
  • USA-S membership needed to work as a USA-S certified official
  • Background check needed to work as a USA-S certified official.

  Please submit all your receipts to Paulo Madeira for reimbursement.

Need further information?  Contact Head Coach Paulo Madeira