MADISON YMCA MARINERS SWIM OFFICIAL GENERAL INFORMATION
All Madison Mariner officials are volunteers. They are usually parents of present swimmers who work on deck at swim meets (mostly dual meets and tri-meets) to enforce the rules of swimming and ensure fairness. Officials must attend a training clinic, take and pass an open-book, online certification test, and participate in on-the-job mentoring as an apprentice. A swimming official can be anyone over 18 years of age.
No experience or prior knowledge of swimming is required!
What all officials have in common is a desire to work together for the betterment of the sport of swimming and a strong sense of fair play. Officials should be on deck for the swimmers, not for themselves.
In order for the Mariners to both run and participate in swim meets, the team is always looking to recruit new officials. This year, we are very short-handed on officials. Your participation is valued and needed by swimmers and coaches alike.
Level I YMCA officials are certified as stroke and turn judges, relay take-off judges, and place judges. These are the officials responsible for enforcing the stroke and turn rules, including starts, touches and finishes. A 3-4 hour course teaches the rules associated with each stroke and how you identify a disqualification based on those rules, how to judge a relay take-off, how to determine order of finish (as backup to the timing system), and timing (usually for championship meets). Successful completion of an open-book, online certification test is required. Certification expires after three years (during which you must have worked 12 sessions for renewal).
Level II YMCA officials are certified as referees, starters, and chief judges. These are the officials who are responsible for starting each race, judging that the start is fair (no false starts), and notifying the swimmers of any disqualifications. A 3-4 hour courses teaches the duties of these officials, as well as reviews the facilities and staffing requirements for meets, the rules for swimming the various strokes, swimmer eligibility, and the roles of other officials. Successful completion of an open-book, online certification test is required. Certification expires after three years (during which you must have worked 12 sessions for renewal). If you are a Level I official, you must have been certified for at least one year and worked at least eight sessions in order to become a Level II official.
All officials are on deck to ensure that everyone is following the rules so races are fair. You may be a little hesitant about the whole idea of disqualifying someone, but most coaches see officials as valuable assistants in the training process - swimmers may not take their coaches seriously about problems with a stroke or turn, but when they're disqualified for it, they usually start to pay attention. Also, being on deck is one of the best ways to get to know all the swimmers on the team, the other parents who volunteer as officials and timers, and the coaches.
So, think about becoming an official. If you do become an official, we would ask that you work as many dual meets and tri-meets as possible, but will not require you to work every meet. The more experience you get, the more comfortable you will become. Please contact the MPO Meet Operations Chair and Officials Coordinator, Jeanne Lukasavage at [email protected] or 201-486-2913 to start the process or if you have any questions. Check out when classes are offered here.
Why become an official?
- NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED!
- Officials are not only needed, but required, in order to conduct swim meets.
- Officials have the “best seat in the house!”
- You will be working with a great group of people.
- You get to know and understand the rules of swimming.
- You get to know parents on other teams.
- High satisfaction, no pay.
- A great way to keep in touch with your child and share their swim experience.
- Best of all, you get a free shirt!