Each season, Region of Waterloo (ROW) swim club hosts several Swim Ontario sanctioned meets as well as internal ROW series meets for our younger swimmers.  To have our meets sanctioned by Swim Ontario, ROW must have registered and qualified officials.  Participating in officiating activities at swim meets is also a fun and rewarding experience.  You get to be up close with your children on deck and watch them perform.  You meet other parents from our club and from other clubs while helping ROW to host a successful swim meet.

Expectations of ROW Parents

As part of the registration process, parents of ROW competitive swimmer are expected to:

  • Register as Official with Swim Canada
  • Attend necessary swimming officiating clinics
  • Help out at ROW meets if your swimmer is in the meet.

Swimming Official Education and Training

Swimming official education and training starts with taking officiating clinics.  After taking the clinics, you perform those officiating positions at sanctioned meets to practice and to gain valuable on deck experiences.   Once you feel confident at performing an officiating position, you can request an on deck evaluation.  Two successful on deck evaluations at a position are required for your progress up the 5 Levels of Officiating Ladder.

ROW “Up the Ladder” Official Development Plan


Figure 1:  The five officiating levels.

As your swimmer progresses to higher levels within the club and to ensure the club eligibility to host sanctioned meets for your swimmer, you are expected to progress up the Officiating Ladder.  ROW official development plan specifies the clinics and the Officiating level to be completed by one or both parents of the swimmer.  They are as follow:

  • All parents of competitive swimmers (i.e., TOP level and above) must take Introduction to Swimming Officiating, and Stroke & Turn/Head Lane Timer clinics.  In addition to taking clinics, you must gain on deck experiences and attempt to get two successful evaluations at each of the above officiating positions.

Note:  To be a certified Level I official, you must have two successful evaluations as a Timekeeper which is covered in the Introduction to Swimming Officiating clinic.

  • When your swimmer progresses from Bronze to Gold levels, you must take other officiating clinics, gain the necessary on deck experiences and achieve successful evaluations at these positions.  The additional officiating clinics/positions are: Clerk of Course, Recorder Scorer, Chief Timekeeper, Chief Finish Judge & Chief Judge Electronics, Meet Manager and Starter.

Note:  To be a certified Level II official, you must be a certified Level I official, have two successful evaluations at Stroke & Turn/Head Lane Time position, and have two successful evaluations at one more position (i.e., Clerk of Course, Chief Timekeeper, Chief Finish Judge, Chief Judge Electronics, Meet Manager or Starter).

  • When your swimmer is at Gold or higher levels in the club, you should be working toward completing your Level III and move beyond.  To be a certified Level III official, you must be a certified Level II official and obtain two successful evaluations for each remaining officiating positions.  You must also take the Referee clinic.

Officiating Clinics

Throughout the swimming season, officiating clinics will be offered by the Club or by the Western Region.  Announcement of these clinics will be emailed out to all ROW parents.

Bottom Line

The club needs its membership to take an active role in moving Up the Officiating Ladder so please do what you can to be involved.  While the process may seem daunting at first, it is really fun and not difficult to move up the officiating ladder.  If you need further clarification or have a special request, do not hesitate to contact Angus Cunningham ( or Tam Nguyen (