We are excited you’ve decided to advance to the Starter position with Illinois Swimming. We hope you enjoy our new online learning program.

We’ve created a short checklist for you, with links, with everything you need to become a Starter.

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 A Starter

Before training as a starter, you must have been a certified Stroke and Turn official and have completed 20 sessions in that position after completing your training. You must also be a non-athlete member in good standing, including a background check, Athlete 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.

Register for Online Learning

Starter online learning takes roughly 2 and one-half hours. It is a live webinar hosted by an experience Illinois Swimming official who will walk you through being a starter, the rules and how to train on-deck. Select any webinar you can attend on the Training Information page.

Online Education Requirements

Before attending the online clinic, there is a self-directed series of educational videos. Shortly after registering for the online learning webinar, you will be sent a link to an online classroom hosted by EdPuzzle (click here for a "how-to" register for EdPuzzle). Once you create an account you will find 3 short videos (they total about 55 minutes in total length). Complete each of the units before you attend the training webinar.

Attend the Online Training Webinar

Whatever training webinar you signed up for, please log in and attend. During this webinar, a senior Illinois Swimming official will guide a conversation through the rules, judging, and certification. This will prepare you for your on-deck training. Bring your questions – they will be answered!

Download these materials prior to the webinar: 

Technical issues about attending a Zoom Meeting are covered HERE.

If you have any trouble with the webinar please email us ASAP.

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, available here online. You must pass with a score of 80% or better.

On-Deck Training

Prior to on-deck training, you must attend a short in-person clinic. These will be scheduled all across the state, and we will work with you to get this completed. You will have one-on-one time with the starter's equipment, under the instruction of an experienced starter, and have the opportunity to start swimmers prior to doing it at a meet. This portion of the training will be scheduled once the current restrictions on assembly are lifted.

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

On-deck training consists of 5 sessions (with a completed card for each) completed over 3 meets and with at least 2 different trainers who have been certified Starters for a minimum of 12 months. The sessions must be at least two hours in length, all four strokes must be contested and have 25 or more heats. Additionally, you personally must get 25 starts.

The complete guidelines are available at Illinois Swimming Officials Training and Certification Standards.

Submit Your Materials for Certification

Once your training sessions are complete and you’ve completed your online test, complete the 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 starter!


Questions for the Committee? Questions about Officiating? Contacts [email protected].

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