David Wickerham is the Officials Coordinator for KC Blue Wave. Please contact him at email@example.com or by cell phone at 417-860-5158 if you have any questions related to your current status or if you are interested in becoming an official.
Officials provide a critical role in any successful swim meet. Every USA Swimming official is an ambassador for the sport. To host a USA Swimming meet the following officials are required: Meet Referee, Deck Referee, Starter, Chief Judges, and Stroke & Turn Judges. The more officials our team has, the more efficient swim meets will run. We need officials for both hosted meets as well as meets we attend as guests. Your work as a volunteer official goes towards your team volunteer requirement.
Five Reasons to Become an Official
- You’ll be working with the greatest group of volunteers in all sports.
- You’ll be close to the action. The bleachers aren’t comfortable anyway!
- High satisfaction; low pay.
- It’s a great way to meet future Olympians—unless you already have one in your home.
- Great food in hospitality, and you can’t beat the price!
How to Become an Official for USA Swimming
1. Attend a Stroke & Turn Judge training clinic through Missouri Valley Swimming.
2. Take the USA Swimming online Stroke & Turn Judge test using the online rulebook. You will need to create a free online My USA Swimming account.
3. Become a non-athlete member of USA Swimming via Missouri Valley's form.
4. Get a background check through USA Swimming.
5. Take the USA Swimming Athlete Protection Training Course.
6. Shadow (train) 6 swim meet sessions with a seasoned official.
For more information from Missouri Valley on becoming an official click here or call MVS office at 785-841-0999.
To watch some stroke and turn videos click here or purchase the Officiating Swimming video from USA Swimming.
DQ Slips - Click Here.
Stroke Briefing Click Here.
Breaststroke: Forward start. Swimmer permitted one full arm pull (beyond hipline) and one kick while submerged at start and after turns; head must surface by the widest part of the 2nd stroke (before hands turn inward). Arm pulls shall be in same horizontal plane (parallel to water surface). Hands shall be pushed forward from the breast on or under the water (elbows must remain in water except at turn or finish). Stroke cycle consists of one arm pull and one kick in that order; the head must break water surface at least once each cycle. Swimmer’s leg motions must be simultaneous; feet must be turned out in downward propulsive part of kick. No flutter or butterfly kick is allowed, except during the start and each turn when one downward butterfly kick may follow initial arm pull if followed immediately by a breaststroke kick. On the turn & finish, a simultaneous two-hand touch is required. On turn, shoulders must be past vertical toward the breast when swimmer leaves wall.
Common Violations: Two strokes or kicks underwater; alternating kick; scissors kick; butterfly kick; arms not moving in the same horizontal plane; break in stroke cycle; over-water recovery; non-simultaneous or one-hand touch.
Butterfly: Forward start. Swimmer is allowed one arm pull and as many kicks as desired at start and turn, but head must surface by the 15-meter mark. The first arm pull must bring the swimmer to the surface. Arms must pull and recover simultaneously, with forward arm motions over the water surface. Up and down movement of legs and feet must be simultaneous. Breaststroke or flutter kicks are not allowed. At the turns & finish, both hands must touch simultaneously, but do not have to be on the same level. At the turn, shoulders must be past vertical toward the breast when swimmer leaves the wall.
Common Violations: Submerged past the 15M mark; alternating kick; scissors kick; non-simultaneous arm stroke; underwater recovery; non-simultaneous or one-hand touch.
Backstroke: Backstroke start. Head must surface by 15-meter mark. Shoulders must be past vertical toward back throughout race except at turn. Shoulders may turn past vertical as part of a continuous turning action at the turn only. Continuous single or simultaneous double arm pull may be used to execute turn, any kicking or gliding must be part of the turning action. Swimmer must be past vertical toward back when he/she leaves the wall. Swimmer must remain on back and may not be completely submerged except at touch at finish.
Common Violations: Submerged past the 15M mark; getting artificial assistance (pulling on lane ropes or pushing off the sides); shoulders past vertical toward breast (not on back); non-continuous turn; independent kicks or pulls during the turn; no touch on the turn.
Freestyle: Forward start. Head must surface by 15-meter mark. Some part of swimmer must touch wall at turn and finish. No pulling on lane lines, walking or pushing forward off bottom of pool.
Common Violations: Submerged past the 15M mark; no touch on the turn; walking on or pushing off the bottom of the pool; getting artificial assistance (pulling on lane ropes or pushing off the sides).
Individual Medley: Butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle, in that order. Individual stroke rules apply to respective legs. When changing from one stroke to another, the touch must conform to the finish rules for the stroke just completed.
Common Violations: Stroke and turn infractions; transition infractions; swimming strokes out of order; swimming butterfly, backstroke, or breaststroke during the freestyle leg.
Relays: Freestyle (any stroke) and Medley (backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle, in that order). Individual stroke rules apply to respective legs. When changing from one stroke to another, the touch must conform to the finish rules for the stroke just completed. Swimmers cannot loose contact with the start block until the previous swimmer touches the wall. Swimmers must swim in the order listed on the entry card.
Common Violations: Stroke and turn infractions; transition infractions; swimming strokes out of order; swimming butterfly, backstroke, or breaststroke during the freestyle leg; early take-off; swimmers out of order.
Starts: The start is the most critical part of a swimmer's race. Most events use the forward start - swimmers start the race from the starting blocks, the deck, or in the water facing the racing course. When the Referee blows a series of short whistles, the signal to 'Get Ready!', swimmers should: be behind the blocks in their lane, remove all clothing except their suits, have their cap and goggles on, and be ready to race. When the Referee blows the long whistle, the signal to “Step Up!,” swimmers should step onto the starting block. When all swimmers have stepped up, the Referee turns the heat over to the Starter by extending his arm, closing the heat to further competitors. If a swimmer fails to show or fails to step up before the heat is closed, he/she will be disqualified for Delay of Meet, unless extenuating circumstances beyond their control prevented them from doing so. When the swimmers are ready, the Starter says "Take your mark". Swimmers will assume their starting position with at least one foot at the front of the block (or edge of the pool). Once the swimmers are stationary in their start positions, the Starter sounds the start signal and the swimmers dive into the water. A false start occurs when a swimmer is in motion (leaves his/her mark) prior to the start signal being sounded. The Starter notifies the Referee if he observes a false start. If the Referee also observed the infraction and concurs, the swimmer will be disqualified. These observations are done independently. Normally, the heat will be allowed to continue and the swimmer will be notified at the end of the race. If a fair start is not achieved, the Starter and/or Referee will recall the heat with the recall signal. If the heat is recalled, no false start can be attributed. Each swimmer is responsible for his/her start. If a swimmer moves prior to the start signal, the Starter may release the rest of heat by saying "Stand". Any swimmer who enters the water may be disqualified, unless the Starter determines he/she did so in reaction to the command. For backstroke events, the backstroke start is used - swimmers start in the water facing the starting end of the pool. The procedure is essentially the same, except the swimmers enter the water on the first long whistle and the Referee blows a second long whistle for the swimmers to place their feet in the start position. Swimmers must place both hands on the gutter or on the starting grips and feet below the water surface.
General: Swimmers may also be disqualified for:
· Unsportsmanlike or unsafe conduct
· Not starting or finishing in own lane
· Standing on the bottom during any stoke except freestyle and except during the turn after the touch
· Walking or pushing off the bottom of the pool
· Using lane lines or side of pool for forward assistance
· Interfering with another swimmer
· Entering the pool without permission of the referee
· Use of any device or substance to improve speed, pace, or buoyancy