How do I become an AMS Official?

The process requires several steps to become a certified AMS Official:

  1. It is highly recommended that a prospective official attend one of the Officials Clinics geared toward new officials.
  2. In order to step on deck, an Apprentice Official must be either a USA Swimming non-athlete Official member (requiring a Level 2 Background Check and completion of the Athlete Protection training (APT) or must register with AMS as an Apprentice Official (a free registration that provides a 60-day window to train on deck. After the 60 days, an Apprentice Official must become a USAS non-athlete Official member.
  3. The Apprentice Official must complete a minimum of six (6) sessions on deck during an AMS-sanctioned meet. The Apprentice Official should have his/her training card signed by the Deck Referee at the end of each session. With prior permission of the AMS Officials Chair, an Apprentice Official can train at another LSC’s sanctioned meet. The Deck Referee must sign your training card. Training takes time. We allow only one (1) training session per day, and not more than two (2) sessions per meet. This is intended to give apprentices time to absorb and learn from different types of swim meets and give them a chance to work with several mentors. No more than two (2) training sessions from another LSC will count toward the minimum required sessions described above.

Prior to certification, the AMS Apprentice Official must take the USAS online Stroke & Turn/Timer test. A passing score is 90%.




How do I advance from one level to another?

The first thing to do before advancing is to be in touch with the AMS Officials Chair. (scott.pauley1@gmail.com). Advancement form one level to another within AMS depends on a few factors, including:

  1. Amount of experience at your current level;
  2. How comfortable and “aware of your surroundings” you are on deck
  3. Your desire to advance

Generally speaking, an AMS Official has to have completed one year as a Stroke & Turn Judge to train as either a Chief Judge and/or Starter. To advance to Referee, an AMS Official must be certified as a Stroke & Turn Judge, Chief Judge and Starter. The Official must have completed at least one year as a Starter and officiated a minimum of 6 sessions as a Starter in order to be considered for advancement to Referee. Also, an AMS Official may only begin training as a Referee with the permission of the AMS Officials Chair.

There is no substitute for deck experience. To advance, you must have a good command of USA Swimming rules and be comfortable on deck.

AMS strongly supports the national certification program of USA Swimming. To advance as an N2 Official, you must attend an Officials Qualifying Meet and be evaluated by a national evaluator. For more information, click here.