SBA is in need of Officials!

Why be an Official?


  • Free monthly dues*

    • Most meets are 2 sessions (Saturday/Sunday); SBA officials earn 1 credit for each session officiated.  2 credits equals one month of fees.  Credits can build throughout the month to potentially cover swim meet fees as well.

  • Best view of the pool

    • You get to see your swimmer up close from the pool deck; coverage can be requested as well so you can watch your child swim during their events.

  • Helping SBA

    • Teams entering meets are required to provide a certain number of officials depending on the number of swimmers entered.  Fines are levied against teams that do not provide enough officials.  We would rather invest in our officials than pay fines that do not promote the positive swim culture we enjoy. 

  •  Free food and drink during the meets and between multiple session days.

    • Host teams often provide hospitality to the coaches and officials (breakfast/lunch/snacks).

  • Fulfills volunteering duties

    • Any session you officiate, your family are excused from any other volunteer duites. 

  • Preferential parking at some swim meets

    • Some host teams provide reserved parking for officials working the meet.  This is quite convenient because parking at some meets can be difficult. 


What does it mean to be an Official

Officials are those standing along the edges of the pool deck dressed in white evaluating each swim.  Meets cannot happen without a minimum number of officials per session.  

What does an official do?  Most USA swim officials are stroke and turn officials.  You are responsible to make sure the swimmers start, perform strokes, turn, and stop using legal movements.  For instance, false starts (twitching before the start), touching the wall with one hand on breast and butterfly, etc. These are rules you will learn, observe and enforce.  There is a process to learning that will help you along the way.  Keep in mind, the goal is to never make a call.  You must "see" an illegal movement in order to make a call.  And others will verify your call prior to enforcing the call.  

The swim meet experience for an official- Each team in our LSC (local swim committee) must provide 1 official for every 25 swimmers entered in each session any given meet.  For instance, ABC Meet has 71 swimmers in the Saturday session and 50 in the Sunday session.  SBA is required to send 3 officials Saturday and 2 on Sunday to avoid being fined, and to ensure the meet happens.  Most sessions are 2-4 hours in length.  Meets generally have a Saturday and Sunday session.  Assuming there are enough officials available, each official will rotate positions followed by a break.  At most meets, there is a hospitality tent/room for food and rest for the officials and coaches.  You are free to enjoy what they have to offer.  You are obligated to stay for the entire session once committed.  The head official will make session time decisions about staffing officials as needed. 

How do I balance managing my swimmer while officiating?  This is the tricky part. While officiating, you are responsible to officiate while on duty.  You can check on your swimmer during your break but cannot expect to be pulled from duty to manage your swimmer.  It works best with a 2 parent situation, a responsible swimmer trusted to show up on the blocks independently or if you officiate in a session your swimmer is not swimming. We understand the complexity of parenting weekend events and will accommodate as much as possible, but officiating is a commitment that requires more than typical swim meet attendance.  

 Steps to Becoming an Official

How do I get started?  There are 2 immediate steps. Register with USA Swimming as an official and initiate the background check.

Click the link and follow the steps to register yourself as an official.  Chances are, you already have an account that you created to add your swimmer; by following the link again, you are now registering for yourself.

From the USA Swimming page, you can initiate the background check and take most of the required courses to get the process started. 

Officials need the following:

  • Registration - $80 (reimbursed*)
  • Background Check - $38 (reimbursed*)
  • Athlete Protection Training Course - Free (annually)
  • Concussion Protocol Course - Free (one time)
  • CANRA (mandatory reporting for CA) - Free (annually for now)
  • Officials courses listed in detail below; Stroke & Turn is the minimum course required
  • 6 Shadow sessions prior to independent certification (should be completed within 6 months of starting the process)
  • Attend an introductory officials clinic
Rule books:  2023 book 2022 book

How do officials get trained? 

The costs associated with becoming an official are reimbursed once you have become an official and completed your first independent certified official session.  

Your USA Swimming accounts tracks your certifications, classes and meets attended. 

There are different online tests to take to become an official; the link below is where they will be found/taken.

Once your online training is complete, you will be eligible to start your shadow training.  You must complete 6 shadow sessions to become a certified official.  There are stroke and turn clinics offered by the LSC.  We encourage you to participate in the clinics when possible.

Here are a few good sites to help answer your questions:

USA Swimming site:

SI-Swimming (San Diego/Imperial- our LSC)

What we need from you? 

SBA needs officials covering all age groups; most of the current officials have swimmers 13 and older. SBA is in need of not only senior swimmer officials, but greatly need officials for our 12 and younger swimmers as well.  Official's availability and flexibility decreases as their swimmers age up.  We need a good mix of younger, older, beginner and experienced swimmer families officiating for us so we can staff our meets appropriately.

The goal is to have at least 10 officials trained and available so the burden doesn't fall onto only a few resulting in burnout.  

Please take the time to invest in your swimmer, our team and the local swim culture. The SBA family is strong, loyal and dedicated.  We need you!  And remember:

Free Food!!!!!