Why become an official?

  • You will gain a more thorough understanding of competitive swimming.
  • Get closer to the action; know what’s happening on deck with the “best seat” at the pool.
  • Get mentally and physically engaged during the meet rather than merely “spectating.”
  • Receive free admission and great hospitality during sessions officiated.

STEP 1: USA Swimming Registration

STEP 2:  USA Swimming Athlete Protection Policy

All Non-Athlete USA Swimming members, including Officials, must complete the following:

  • USA Swimming Criminal Background Check (regardless of any previous criminal background check you may have completed). There is a $39 fee for first-time officials (COOL will also reimburse this fee).
  • Take the Athlete Protection Module course. It takes about 20 minutes.
  • NOTE: Prior to getting taking your Athlete Protection Training (APT) you will need to set up an account on the USA Swimming Site. Simply click "Sign-In" in the upper right-hand part of the page. You will also need to have completed your registration as a non-athlete member. Please use the exact same name for registration, background check and APT.

STEP 3:  Start Your Training

Take your USA Swimming Test: Complete USA Swimming’s on-line, open book test, “Stroke and Turn Certification Test”.  A stroke and Turn official will need to take both the Timer and S&T Judge test. 

Attend a Training Clinic     

  • Attend a Stroke & Turn Training Clinic. These are conducted in various locations throughout the LSC. Check the Event page on the Missouri Valley website for dates, times, and locations.
  • You can filter the calendar by choosing ‘Officials’ in the event category.

Apprentice On-Deck

The Stroke & Turn is required to work with a full status official for a minimum of six meet sessions (not including Time Trials). In order to provide the trainee with the opportunity to work with a number of experienced officials, these six or more meet sessions must be worked at a minimum of TWO DIFFERENT MEETS. These work sessions shall be recorded in the Official’s Tracking System database via the USA Swimming official’s website by the meet referee.


USA Swimming Card – You can access your USA non-athlete card after you have registered AND successfully completed the Criminal Background Check and USA Swimming online Athlete Protection Training module.

  • Log into your USA Swimming account
  • Click "My Deck Pass" in the upper right-hand corner
  • Scroll down and click "My Membership Card"
  • You can click "Print Volunteer Card" if you wish to have a hard copy

Official Card – Once you have completed the training Clinic, USA Swimming on-line test, and the apprentice sessions, you will be able to print your Certification card on the USA Swimming website.


Contact the COOL Meet Director for more information or with questions.