Become An Official
Become an Official – SAND NEEDS YOU!
USA Swimming Officials are parent volunteers who are committed to supporting and observing swimming by ensuring fair and equitable competition.  These officials are required in order to have a “legal” sanctioned meet. A sanctioned meet a meet in which the swimmer’s time for their event is recognized by USA Swimming for meet qualifications such as Nevada State Championships, Winter Age Groups, Junior Olympic or any meet which requires a time standard for an event.
SANDPIPERS OF NEVADA and the Desert Committee are always looking for new volunteers to join the ranks.  Being an official is a great way to serve your club and support swimming in Las Vegas.  NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY! Swim meets are a major source of SAND's revenue and we cannot run a safe, fair and equitable meet without certified officials. Becoming a part of the SAND official’s team is a great way to serve the swimming community.   As most clubs, we rely on our own parents/guardians/volunteers to provide the majority of officials to oversee our meets. 
See below for more information about being a SAND official team member.  Questions contact Cheryl Pearson or Head Coach Ron Aitken

Frequently Asked Questions / Concerns
How do I become an official?
  • This is a role that takes training, but the certification process is not overly difficult.
  •  Attend a clinic once a year, which includes classroom discussion, review of an officiating video, and a lot of questions and answers. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the USA Swimming Rulebook available online at
  • Take the online, open-book test, once you start can be saved so you can work on it a little at a time, if you wish.
  • Register to become a Non-Athlete Member, complete both a background check and an "Athlete Protection" online course and test that all Officials, Coaches and Meet Directors must take every two years, will all be reimbursed to you by SAND.
  • Beyond that, the balance of the training is on-the-job through four apprentice sessions shadowing experienced officials during meets.
I am new to the sport of swimming and don’t know the rules – how can I be an official?
  • Don’t worry! USA and Southern California Swimming (SCS) have a good training program and a great cadre of experienced officials to help you learn the ropes.  Many officials have started just where you are.  You will become well-qualified in no time at all and will gain a better appreciation for the sport along the way.
  • For more information, see the website see tab labeled Officials.
When is the next officials’ clinic?
Clinics are scheduled once a year at a SCS (Los Angeles Area).  It is usually scheduled first weekend in October and attendance is mandatory or your will lose one level of certification.  SAND and other officials usually car pool to the clinic.
Does this count toward my volunteer requirements for the club?
Yes, sessions you work at SAND meets count toward your club volunteer requirements.
Will there be any cost to me?
  • There is a fee for the USA Swimming non-athlete membership, the registration for the clinic and for the background check, but these costs will all be reimbursed to you by SAND.
  • The uniform is a khaki slacks, skirt, skort or shorts, a white collared shirt and white tennis shoes. SAND will provide one shirt for free and these are also given frequently as an “officials’ gift” at meets when you volunteer.  Other than the occasional free shirt, you will need to provide your own uniform.
Why do I need a background check done?
  • USA Swimming has instituted nationwide reforms with the purpose of ensuring the safety and well-being of the children in our care.  As part of that program, all coaches must now pass “enhanced” background checks and all Officials and Meet Directors must pass standard background checks.
  • Results are confidential – only the subject of the check sees the full results.  The officials chair is told only when a person has passed, and can only approve certification when (s) he received the “pass”. 
  • For more on background checks, see the link in the “Programs and Services” section.
How big a time commitment is it?
  • Upfront:
    • The clinic is generally 3-4 hours in one session. 
    • Reading and test prep approximately 1-2 hours
    • On-line test approximately 1-2 hours.
    • On-line Athlete Protection course approximately 30 minutes - 1 hour
  • On-going
    • Commit to officiating a minimum of 4 sessions over two meets (6 sessions for starter/refs).
    • Attend a clinic every year.
    • For sessions you are working, be at the pool 45 minutes to an hour prior to the meet starting (show up at the athletes’ warm-up time).
    • Spend a little time staying current on rules and interpretations (maybe 1 hour per month)
Will I ever need to re-certify?
  • Yes.  All officials in SCS re-certify every year.
  • To maintain your certification you must:
    • Attend a SCS Officials Clinic and take the USA Swimming on-line Re-certification Test.
    • Stroke/Turn Judges must officiate a minimum of four sessions, at two or more different Meets each year.
    • Starter/Referees must officiate a minimum of six sessions, at two or more different Meets each year.
What are the benefits?
  • If your child is swimming in the meet, you are already there so you might as will help your team out
  • Time passes quicker
  • Best seat in the house