Becoming a ISI Official

Once you have decided you want to become a Stroke and Turn Judge or an Administrative Judge, the following steps will help get you there.


Step 1: Background Check

As part of the USA-Swimming athlete protection act, all officials and trainees are required to undertake a criminal background check. You need to have this completed before we can process your application to attend the upcoming clinic.

For more information on the reason for the background check and to submit your background check, please go to the USA-Swimming website.

Background check information

The Level 2 background check will cost $39 and will take about 15 minutes to submit your application on-line. Once you complete the officials training this fee will be reinbursed fully by the Parent's Board.

You will receive an e-mail confirmation upon completion of the application and when the results are available (may take up to 2 weeks). Do not send these results to the Illinois Swimming office they will receive direct notification directly from USA Swimming within 72 hours of the completed check.


Step 2: Register for your Clinic

Go to the Illinois Swimming web site and register for the clinic of your choice.

As a new official, you will either register for the Stroke and Turn Clinic or the Administrative Judge Clinic (your choice)

Illinois Swimming Clinics 

Follow the steps to register. The site will ask you for detailed information on what you want to register for. 


Step 3: USA Swimming Non-Athlete Memberships

Next, you must become a member of USA Swimming. Fill out this application

USA swimming membership application

and mail into Illinois swimming with you $60 USA Swimming Fee and $30 Clinic Fee. Once again, the Parent's Board will cover these fees once you have completed training.

Step 4a: Attend Your Training Clinic

Attend the clinic you registered for.
Remember to print out your clinic workbook and evaluation cards. Both can be found at the bottom of:

Clinic workbook & training card

For Stroke and Turn, you will need 4 evaluation forms, For Admin Judge, you will need 2 forms.

The on-line rule book can be found at:

On-Line handbook


Step 4b: Athlete Protection

Once you are setup in the USA Swimming Database (assume 2 weeks from the date you send in Step 3), you will need to take the USA Swimming Athlete Protection Course. This is a one hour tutorial which can be taken before or after your training clinic but cannot be taken until you are registered with USA Swimming. The training and an explanation around why USA Swimming is offering this training can be found at:

Athlete Protection Course

Fill in your name and birth date, select Locate. If you are registered with USA Swimming, you will receive a response to your request, you will simply select your name from the list. If you are not in the list, please wait a few more days and try again. If you fail a second time, please contact the Illinois swimming office to check on your registration from Step 3.


Step 5: Create a USA Swimming Official Tracking Account (OTS)

Once you have completed the Athlete Protection course, you will want to create an account with USA Swimming. This account will be used to track all of your activities with Illinois and USA Swimming. It will track meets you have attended, tests you have taken, evaluations you have completed and many education events. In some cases, educations events may not be added by the clinician and you can add them yourself. Information on creating an account can be at USA Swimming.

USA Swimming

Please print your Certification Card and carry it with you on deck.


Step 6a: On-line Test

Once you have completed your training clinic, in addition to on deck training sessions, you will need to take an on-line open book test. The test is designed to help you understand the rules. It will take about 100 minutes to complete. You will either need to take the Stroke and Turn Test or the Clerk of Course, Timer, and Timing Judge (yes all 3) for Administrative Judge. (You do not need to take the Administrative Referee Test)

It is recommended that the test be taken prior to or in close proximity to your first or second training session. The test can be found at:

USA Swimming Test

You will need to complete Step 5 before taking the test.


Step 6b: On Deck Training

Once you have completed your training clinic, you will need to be mentored on deck during swim events. The requirements are below:


# Training Sessions

Min # of Meets

Min # of Trainers

Stroke and Turn




Administrative Judge





To ensure that the meet will be staffed appropriately to train each official, it is highly recommended that each trainee contact the Meet Referee one to two weeks in advance of a meet and let them know your training needs and the sessions you will attend. The meet packet contains the contact information for the meet referee and can usually be found on the host team’s web site or from your teams head coach. There have been cases where officials show up expecting to be trained and the deck is already oversubscribed with trainees.

Once accepted for training, please be on deck in appropriate attire one hour before the meet starts. Find the meet referee and introduce yourself. Find the sign-in sheet and sign in for the meet stating you want to be trained. Attend the officials meeting for your assignment and trainer.

At the end of the training session, you will be asked for your evaluation sheet (the ones you printed in Step 4a). Your trainer will fill in and add comments. The meet referee will sign. If you meet the requirements for the session, the Meet referee will enter your session in OTS (meaning pass). If you did not meet the requirements for the meet, the Meet Referee will not enter the event as if it did not happen.


Step 7: Certification

Once you have completed all of the steps above,

  1. 1)  Background Check

  2. 2)  USA Swimming Registration

  3. 3)  Athlete Protection

  4. 4)  On-deck training sessions

  5. 5)  USA Swimming Test

Send an email to [email protected] requesting a change from trainee to certified status. Please include a scanned copy of your training evaluation forms.

The officials committee will review your request and pull up your records on OTS. Should everything be in order, your credentials status will move from trainee to certified, and you will receive an updated USA-Swimming officials credential via email from USA Swimming (please make sure your email address is correct on your USA-Swimming account). If you do not receive the e-mail (it may be in your spam folder), you can always print the card from OTS. Any questions will be directed to you from a member of the officials committee seeking clarification as needed.


Step 8: Credentials

Once you are certified, please print out your certification card from OTS and carry it with you when on deck. This card shows your level of certification (or training) within Illinois Swimming and any certifications at the USA Swimming Level. It also shows the expiration of your background check, annual registration and status of you athlete protection training.


If you should have any other questions feel free to email [email protected]