We are excited you’ve decided to add the Open Water Certification!

We’ve created a short checklist for you, with links, with everything you need to become an Open Water Judge or Referee.

The training is designed to work in steps, with each building on the last. It is best to do the training in the recommended order of steps to get the full benefit.

This page is the home of the details about each of those steps, and we suggest reading it before getting started.

Prerequisites for Being An Open Water Judge

Before training as an Open Water Judge, you must be a non-athlete member in good standing, including a background checkAthlete Protection Training, and certification of completion of either the National Federation of High Schools or the Center for Disease Control concussion webinars.

For a comprehensive overview of the requirements see the Illinois Swimming Officials Training and Certification Standards.

​To complete your certification process, you must submit:

  • Pass the Open Water Judge test with an 80% or above
  • Submit your Open Water event evaluation form
  • Submit your Open Water Checklist Form

​These documents must be submitted to the Officials Committee email [email protected] for certification processing.

Prerequisites for Being An Open Water Referee

Before training as an Open Water Referee, you must already be a USA Swimming/IL Swimming Referee and also be a non-athlete member in good standing, including a background checkAthlete Protection Training, and certification of completion of either the National Federation of High Schools or the Center for Disease Control concussion webinars.

For a comprehensive overview of the requirements see the Illinois Swimming Officials Training and Certification Standards.

​To complete your certification process, you must submit:

  • Pass the Open Water Referee test with an 80% or above
  • Submit your Open Water event evaluation forms - one for each race
  • Submit your Open Water Checklist Form 

​These documents must be submitted to the Officials Committee email [email protected] for certification processing.

Clinic Registration and Attendance Requirements

Open Water Officials (judge or referee) are required to complete two (2) Open Water clinics prior to certification.

  • Clinic #1: Open Water Introduction
  • Clinic #2: Deep Dive into the Open Water Event

Sign-up Links for Open Water Clinics

Three clinics have scheduled:

  • Open Water Officiating/Deep Dive into an Open Water Event (complete both clinic sessions with this sign-up!)– CZ Pleasant Prairie: Mondays, June 6 and 13, 7-9pm via ZOOM Sign-up here

  • Deep Dive into an Open Water Event – Lemont – Monday, June 20 5-7pm Sign-up here

  • Introduction to Open Water Officiating – TBD

One more clinic will be available for sign-up a bit later in the summer.

  • Deep Dive into an Open Water Event – Lake Manteno (TBD)

If you have any trouble with the webinar please email Steve Fidanze and Alex Abramovich.

Online Testing

To make sure everyone knows the rules, USA Swimming requires online testing. It is an open book test, and we recommend you print the test and then go back and re-enter the answers. Since it is linked to your USA Swimming online account, the test will be the same when you log back in. It is an open book test, requiring the current USA Swimming Rule Book. You must pass with a score of 80% or better.

Open Water Training

Once you’ve attended the clinic training(s) and registration requirements, you’re ready to start your Open Water training. You will need to bring a copy of the on-deck training form to be completed by your clinician. The forms are available online here.

Open Water training is based on the position you plan to be certified to officiate.

  • Open Water Judge:  Officiate at one (1) OW event and be evaluated at each position you are assigned. 
  • Open Water Referee:  Must officiate two (2) races during an event(s) as an assistant referee or boat observer (on boat on water). 

Submit Your Materials for Certification

Once your training sessions are complete and you’ve completed your online test, complete the Open Water Certification Requirements Checklist Form for your position and email all required documents/materials to [email protected]. Once processed, you’ll receive an email response when your certification is verified and complete in the system. Then your updated official card will be ready to print! You’re a Referee!

Questions?

Questions for the Committee? Questions about Officiating? Contact [email protected]

Please allow a few days for a response as the mailbox is staffed by volunteers.