To learn more about joining RMSC's talented group of officials, please contact Board President Shannon Redden at [email protected].


Benefits of Becoming an Official

  1. Help support an excellent sport for children and promote a healthy lifestyle for children.
  2. Gain a more thorough understanding of swimming in particular, and sports in general.
  3. Fulfill volunteer obligations at Club Meets.
  4. Get closer to the action; know what’s happening on deck with the “best seat” in the pool.
  5. Get mentally and physically engaged during the Meet rather than merely “spectating.”
  6. Be cooler on deck than in the stands.
  7. Receive free admission and great hospitality during sessions officiated.

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

Step 1: Complete a Background check

As part of the USA Swimming Safe Sport Program, 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

The Level 2 background check will cost $39 and will take about 15 minutes to submit your application online. The Rockford Marlins Swim Club will reimburse you for the cost of the background check. Complete the Expense Report located on the Team Documents sections of the RMSC website, and turn it in to the club President, along with a copy of your receipt, to receive reimbursement. 

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 notification directly from USA Swimming within 72 hours of the completed check.

Step 2:  Register for a Training Clinic

  • Attend a “New Officials Training Clinic - Stroke and Turn Judge.” Available clinics and additional informaiton can be found on the Illinois Swimming Officials page. The Illinois Swimming Officials Committee conducts Clinics periodically in various locations. Clinics occur in a classroom setting and include a practical pool session.
  • Look for Clinics announced on the Illinois Swimming website and send in registration form in advance.
  • Participate in a Clinic that requires about six hours and includes discussions and a USA Swimming produced video on judging strokes, turns, and relay take exchanges.

NOTE: The Illinois Swimming Officials Committee provides a trainer and training materials, including a current Illinois Swimming Training Manual

Step 3: Become a USA Swimming Non-Athlete Member

Next, you must become a member of USA Swimming. Fill out the non-athlete registration application available here and mail to the Illinois Swimming office, and your USA Swimming fee. Once again, the Rockford Marlins will reimburse you for this fee.

Step 4: Complete your Athlete Protection Training

Once you are set up in the USA Swimming Database (assume two weeks from the date you send in Step 3), you will need to take the USA Swimming Athlete Protection Course for Coaches and Non-Athlete Members. This is a one-hour online 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 here

Step 5: Attend your Training Clinic

Attend the clinic you registered for. Remember to print out your clinic handouts and on deck evaluation cards. Both can be found under "Training Resources" at the bottom of the Illinois Swimming Officials page. For Stroke and Turn, you will need 4 evaluation forms. For Admin Official (Judge), you will need 3 forms.

The online USA Swimming Rulebook can be found here.

Step 6: Create a USA Swimming Account

Once you have completed the Athlete Protection course, you create an online account with USA Swimming, that will link to your registration records. This account will be used to track all of your activities with Illinois and USA Swimming in the Officials Tracking System (OTS). It will track meets you have attended, tests you have taken, evaluations you have completed and educational and mentoring events.

Step 7a: Online Test

Once you have completed your training clinic, in addition to on deck training sessions, you will need to take an online open book certification test. The test is designed to help you understand the rules, and know where they are located in the rule book. It will take about 100 minutes to complete. You will need to take either the Stroke and Turn Certification Test or the Clerk of Course, Timer, and Timing Judge (yes all 3) Certification Tests for Administrative Official (Judge). (NOTE: Do not take the Administrative Test.)

It is recommended that the test be taken prior to or in close proximity to your first or second training session. The test(s) can be found here

You will need to complete Step 6 before taking the test(s).

Step 7b: 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:

Position # Training Sessions Min # of Meets Min # of Trainers
Stroke and Turn 4 3 2
Administrative Official (Judge) 3 2 2

Before you begin your on deck training, you must have completed your background check, USA Swimming registration, and Athlete Protection Course. To document that you have completed these, please print your Certification Card from the USA Swimming Officials Tracking System.

To ensure that the meet will be staffed appropriately to train you, it is highly recommended that each trainee contact the Meet Referee one to two weeks in advance of a meet to let him/her know your training needs and the sessions you will attend. Contact information for the Meet Referee can be found in the meet packet, usually located on the host team’s website, the Illinois Swimming website ( or from your club’s head coach.

This is an important pre-meet contact. There have been cases where officials show up expecting to be trained and the deck is already oversubscribed with trainees, or qualified trainers are not available.

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 an on deck evaluation sheet (the ones you printed in Step 5). Complete the top portion of the form and give to your trainer to complete and add comments. The Meet Referee also must sign the form. 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 session, the Meet Referee will not record it.

Step 8: Certification

Once you have completed all of the steps above:

  1. Background Check
  2. USA Swimming Registration
  3. Athlete Protection Course
  4. Training Clinic
  5. USA Swimming Certification Test(s)
  6. On Deck Training Sessions

Send an email to [email protected] requesting a change from trainee to certified status. Please include scanned (or photographed) copies of your completed on deck training evaluation forms. (NOTE: please limit the size of the email to 5 MB or less; two emails are perfectly acceptable.)

The Officials Committee Certification Coordinator will review your request and review your records in OTS. Should everything be in order, your credential status will be changed from trainee (T) to certified (C). Allow seven-10 days for this review. All members of the Officials Committee are volunteers, with busy schedules in and out of the swimming world. You will receive an updated USA Swimming officials credential via email from the USA Swimming webmaster. (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 print the card directly from OTS. (See Appendix D)

Any questions or concerns about your certification request will be directed to you from a member of the Officials Committee seeking clarification as needed.

Step 9: 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 date of your background check, annual registration and status of your Athlete Protection Training. You also should carry your laminated USA Swimming membership card. Meet Referees will ask you to show both of these credentials when you first sign in to work a meet.

Other Expectations

  • Age: Minimum of 18 years
  • Attire: Solid navy blue skirt, shorts or pants, white collared shirt and white shoes.
  • Attitude: Positive attitude, willingness to volunteer, and dedication.