Getting Started

Thank you for your interest in becoming a USA Swimming official in North Texas! Officiating can be fun and is a great way to spend time with your swimmer. Officials are a vital part of USA Swimming—they help conduct the meets and ensure fair competition. North Texas (NT) Swimming has a large group of officials with a wide range of experience, and we're anxious to help you learn and develop as a swimming official.

Becoming a Stroke & Turn Judge is your first step in working on deck as an official. Follow these steps to get started:

1. Attend an Officials Clinic (pka Stroke and Turn Clinic)

You can find currently scheduled clinics on the Officials Calendar. If there isn't one scheduled soon, or if the scheduled clinics aren't convenient, contact your team's officials representative or the Officials Chair to get a new one scheduled.

At the Clinic, you'll receive an Apprentice Log, which you'll use to track your progress. Your instructor will explain how to use the Log throughout the certification process.

2. Complete a membership form

Which form you complete depends on whether you have definitively decided to become a certified official. If you're still unsure and simply want to try officiating for a short time, fill out the 2022 Apprentice Official Form. If you know for sure that you want to become a member, you can fill out the 2022 Non-Athlete Registration and if using this link, please have your form of payment ready.

Apprentice Official Form

An Apprentice Official membership is a free, temporary membership that gives you 60 days to complete the requirements of full membership. Once the Registration Chair has processed your temporary membership, you can then create a USA Swimming account to access the online requirements (see step 3). During this 60-day timeframe, you will be allowed on deck to work with a certified official. When you decide that you're ready to become a full member, submit the Member Official Form.

Member Official Form

The Member Official Form must be completed before you begin apprenticing on deck, unless you register for the Apprentice Official membership. A registration fee must also be paid when completing the Form. Check with your team's treasurer regarding this fee; in some cases, teams will pick up the cost of registration for their certified officials.  If your club cover this cost, they may choose to provide you with their own link to Non-Athlete Registration, in which case, use their link instead of the one above.

3. Sign up for a USA Swimming account

You can register for free on the USA Swimming website This should be done after the NT Registration Chair has processed your membership form. During account registration, be sure to choose "USA Swimming Member" as your USA Swimming Connection. If you already have a parent account, you can link that account to your new membership and change your Connection. To do so, log into your account, choose Edit, click Account Settings, and then follow the directions under "Link My Account."

4. Complete the Stroke & Turn Judge test

Log into your USA Swimming account and navigate to the Online Testing page. Scroll to the bottom and click "Start An Online Test." In the Start Test drop-down, choose "Certification–Stroke & Turn/Timer." We recommend that you print the test, research the questions by using the latest rulebook (the exam is open-book), and then log back in to submit the answers. You'll need a score of 80% or better to pass the exam. You should complete the test as soon as your registration is processed so that you can become familiar with the technical rules.

5. Start apprenticing on deck

You can start working as an apprentice as soon as you've attended the Stroke & Turn Judge Clinic and submitted your membership form. To find a meet to work, go to the Events page on the NT Swimming website. Bring your Apprentice Log to the meet, and sign in with the Meet Referee one hour prior to any session. The Meet Referee will assign you to one or more mentors for the session. See the Stroke & Turn Judge Requirements document for the minimum number of sessions that you'll need for certification.

6. Complete a criminal background check

Before you can become certified as a Stroke & Turn Judge, you'll need to complete a criminal background check through USA Swimming. Log into your USA Swimming account and navigate to the Background Checking Program page for details on initiating the new member background check. Note that there is a small cost associated with the background check. As with registration, some teams will pick up this cost for their certified officials; check with your team's treasurer regarding reimbursement.

7. Complete the Athlete Protection Training program

In addition to the criminal background check, you'll also need to complete USA Swimming's Athlete Protection Training program before you can be certified as a Stroke & Turn Judge. From within your USA Swimming account, navigate to Athlete Protection Training page, which has details on completing the free course.

8. Concussion protocol training

For USA Swimming membership, officials must successfully complete concussion and head injury education at least once.

Individual states may require annual or continuing education and officials must abide by the requirements of their home state or states in which they officiate. Submit your proof of training to your LSC registrar in order for it to show on your deck pass. FAQ's about this requirement can be found HERE

Need to take a concussion training course? Here are the links to popular courses - CDC CourseNFHS Course.

9. Apply for certification.

Once you've completed all items outlined in the Stroke & Turn Judge Requirements  and you feel that you're ready for certification, ask two Meet Referees for their recommendations. Have them sign your Apprentice Log and then submit the Log to the  Officials Committee . The Committee will review your application and, upon approval, the Officials Chair will enter your certification into USA Swimming's Officials Tracking System.

Thank you for joining a great team of professional volunteer officials! Without you, the fast-growing sport of swimming could not be successful!