Becoming an Official


One of the best ways to support your children as they progress is to become an official. Swim Officials, like many volunteer positions, is critical to the functioning of a swim team. Some of the key reasons are:

  • Swim Officials are required for swimmers times to count - 

    For a swimmers times to be valid a swim meet must have sufficient officials
  • Swim Officials allow a club to host competitive meets - 

    A club ability to attract competitive teams is driven by our ability to host meets. This includes building a pipeline to having starters, Admin Officials and Referees on the team
  • Swim Officials help us get invited by other clubs - 

    We get invited to away meets because we are able to provide officials that can ensure a successful meet.

Benefits to me

There are a number of benefits of becoming an official that other volunteer positions do not offer. Here are some key highlights

  • Best View of the deck - As an official you are up close to the water and can see how swimmer in action without the crowds in the stands
  • Access to your swimmer - USA Swimming Safe-sport requirements require that parents are not allowed on deck. By being an official you are able to interact with your swimmer. 
  • Friendships - As an official you meet people from different backgrounds and experiences. Many new friendships are forged during the breaks.
  • Opportunity to work National meets - If your swimmer progresses to national level meets, as an official you have the opportunity to work a national deck (requires additional cerification). For some they enjoy the experience that they continue officiating long after their swimmers have left home and started their own families with the next generation of swimmers.

I am Sold, What next?

There are two paths within in USA Swimming ...

  • Officiating Positions - These include Stroke and Turn, Starter and Referee
  • Administrative Positions - Electronic Timing and Admin Official.

Officiating Positions

  • Stoke and Turn

The officiating path starts with becoming a Stroke and Turn Judge. A Stroke and Turn Judge is responsible for observing the swim and applying the USA Swimming rules. Violations of the rules, results in a Disqualification (DQ). A DQ is a critical tool for coaches to understand how to guide their swimmers to do there best.

  • Starter

After being a Stoke and Turn Judge, the next position is Starter. A Starter is responsible for getting swimmers off the blocks and into the water. The Starter works along side a Deck Referee who runs the pool.

  • Deck and Meet Referee

After having been a Stroke and Turn, a starter and develop sufficient experience, the next step is a Deck Referee. A Deck Referee manages the deck. They ensure that from the time swimmers get behind the blocks, until they finish their swim that the process was safe and equitable. In addition to Deck Referees, we have a Meet Referee. A meet referee is responsible for the overall meet (think of him as a CEO that delegates roles and responsibilities to all volunteers). In Oregon currently, we don't distinguish between Deck and Meet from a training perspective. Some referees do not take on the Meet Referee role.

Admin Roles

  • Electronic Timing

Electronic Timing position is responsible for managing and running the Timing for the meet. This role is multi-faceted. It includes running the timing console (captures swimmers times), timing resolution (making sure the times are correct) and Meet Manager (software used to record the official times).

  • ​Administrative Official (AO)

The AO is responsible for managing the ET crew and validating that the results are correct. They work very closely with Meet Referee to make sure that the meet runs smoothly. Essentially the AO is the auditor of the meet. To become an AO in Oregon requires having performed the duties of ET for a period of time.


What Steps do I need to take

The following steps need to be completed. Once steps are completed, you are ready to start your training.

Attend a Clinic

The 1st step is to attend a training clinic. These are held once a year by Oregon Swimming at its yearly convention and by clubs. You don't need to attend a session at your club.   Oregon Swimming often lists training opportunties. You can also contact [email protected] if you are interested.

Register with USA Swimming

The next step is to register with USA Swimming. It is important to ask your club for an official link so that you can be associated with the cliub your swimmer is at. It also allows us to communicate more effectively with you. When registering, you will indicate that you are an official (even if you are not complete with your training). Note: We will reimburse your membership fee to USA Swimming at the completion of your training.

Background Check

USA Swimming requires that you get a background check. This is required once every two years. Background Check

Concussion Training

For all officials, it is required to take concussion training. Once this is complete, the cerficate needs to be sent to oregon swimming alomng with your USAID [email protected]. The link for Concussion training is: CDC or nfhs

Athlete Protection Training

All officials, are required to take the APT. This can be accessed from your USASwimming account under Education.


Important Links


The following gives good information and resources on each training position