As a ‘swimming parent’ you spend a lot of time attending your swimmer’s meets. Becoming an official not only gives you an insight into how swim meets work, but by participating you are giving all of our swimmers an opportunity to compete.  From the Club’s perspective, we need over 40 officials across the different levels of qualification to run just one meet. In Ontario, all swim official positions are filled by volunteers. We cannot run a meet without you!


In order to become an official, you will need attend clinics and received on-deck training, both of which are certified by Swim Ontario. Clinics are offered throughout the season.  The dates will be announced via Team Unify email by our club’s Officials Chair. You will be registered as an official when you attend the first introductory clinic.


  • Intro to Swimming Officiating (Level I) covers the timekeeper position on the deck.  You will learn about swimming, the official, the coach and the introductory information to be a timekeeper on the deck. 
  • Inspectors of Turns and Judge of Stroke (Level II) - you will learn all the rules of the swimming strokes, turns and finishes.  This clinic covers two positions on the deck: Inspector of Turn and Judge of Stroke.
  • Clerk of Course (Level II) - The Clerk of Course is responsible for making sure athletes are assigned heats and lanes and ensure swimmers arrive at their assigned lanes for their swims.  They are assisted by Marshals. 
  • Chief Timer (Level II) - In this clinic, you will learn the role of Chief Timer.  The Chief Timer is in charge of making sure that the timers are fulfilling their duties and also troubleshoots situations that occur with the timers.
  • Chief Finish Judge / Chief Judge Electronics (Level II) - These clinics are often given together as both of these roles have the responsibility of assigning official times to races. The Chief Judge Electronics (CJE) observes the operation and function of an automatic electronic timing system and approves the times produced by that system.  The Chief Finish Judge (CFJ) determines official times through the use of manual (stop watches) and semi-automatic (plunger) timing devices. 
  • Recorder / Scorer (Level II) - In this clinic, you will learn how to record and score results and placings for every swim.  Most meets now use some type of Meet Management software to help with this.  Swim meet experience is the best way to learn this position.
  • Meet Manager (Level II) - The meet manager makes sure that the swim meet runs smoothly from all aspect of the competition including but not limited to off-deck and office duties.  Mentoring is crucial in learning this position.  It is a demanding but very fulfilling position.
  • Starter (Level II) - The central point of the Starter’s role is to ensure a fair start for all swimmers.  The Starter and the Referee must work as a team to ensure fair and consistent starts throughout the session. 
  • Referee (Level III) - The Referee is in charge of all aspects of the “field of play”.  The Referee clinic should be taken once most Level III requirements are achieved (see certification process). The Clinic also touches on the role of the Competition Coordinator (meet referee).


You will notice swim officials on deck wearing Swim Ontario name badges with a maple leaf pin affixed to them.  There are 5 different coloured pins with represent the 5 levels of officiating.  To learn more on how to ‘move up the ladder’, click the link below.



If you have any questions regarding officiating, please email CAJ Club Official Chair at [email protected]