Become an Official – SWAT NEEDS YOU! 

USA Swimming Officials are parent volunteers who are committed to supporting the sport of swimming by ensuring fair and equitable competition.  These officials are required in order to run “legal” sanctioned meets.

SWAT and Wisconsin Swimming are always looking for new volunteers to join the ranks.  Being an official is a great way to serve your club and support the sport of swimming.  NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY! Meets are a major source of SWAT's revenue and we simply cannot run meets without officials. Becoming an official is a great way to serve your club.  SWAT, like most clubs, relies on our own volunteers to provide the majority of officials to oversee our meets.

Interested?  See below for more information.

For questions or to register for a training class, contact Mike Mellock, [email protected]

 Frequently Asked Questions / Concerns

How do I become an official?

  • This is a role that takes training, but the certification process is not overly difficult.
  •  Attend a clinic, which includes classroom discussion, review of an officiating video, and a lot of questions and answers. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the USA Swimming Rulebook.
  • Take the online, open-book test, once you start can be saved so you can work on it a little at a time, if you wish.
  • Register to become a Non-Athlete Member, complete both a background check and an "Athlete Protection" online course and test that all Officials, Coaches and Meet Directors must take every two years.
  • Beyond that, the balance of the training is on-the-job through four apprentice sessions shadowing experienced officials during meets.

I am new to the sport of swimming and don’t know the rules – how can I be an official?

  • Don’t worry! USA and Wisconsin swimming have a good training program and a great cadre of experienced officials to help you learn the ropes.  Many officials have started just where you are.  You will become well-qualified in no time at all and will gain a better appreciation for the sport along the way.
  • For more information, see the WI Swimming Officials Webpage

When is the next officials’ clinic?

  • New officials clinics can be scheduled any time we have four, or more, interested recruits.  Let us know of your interest and we will schedule a clinic ASAP!

Does this count toward my volunteer requirements for the club?

  • Yes, sessions that you work at SWAT meets count toward your club volunteer requirements.

Will there be any cost to me?

  • There is a fee for the USA Swimming membership, the registration for the clinic and the for the background check, but these costs will all be reimbursed to you by SWAT.
  • The uniform is a blue slacks, skirt or shorts, a white polo (Wisconsin swimming and SWAT will each provide one shirt for free, and these are also given frequently as the “officials’ gift” at meets when you volunteer) and white shoes.  Other than the occasional free shirt, you will need to provide your own uniform.

Why do I need a background check done?

  • USA Swimming has instituted nationwide reforms with the purpose of ensuring the safety and well-being of the children in our care.  As part of that program, all coaches must now pass “enhanced” background checks and all Officials and Meet Directors must pass standard background checks.
  • Results are confidential – only the subject of the check sees the full results.  The officials chair is told only when a person has passed, and can only approve certification when (s)he received the “pass”. 
  • For more on background checks, see the link in the “Resources” section.

How big a time commitment is it?

  • Upfront:
    • The clinic is generally 3-4 hours in one session. 
    • Reading and test prep – 1 to 2 hours
    • On-line test – 1-2 hours.
    • On-line Athlete Protection course - 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • On-going
    • Commit to officiating a minimum of 4 sessions over two meets (6 sessions for starter/refs).
    • Attend a clinic every even year or take a recertification test.
    • For sessions you are working, be at the pool 45 minutes to an hour prior to the meet starting (show up at the athletes’ warm-up time).
    • Spend a little time staying current on rules and interpretations (maybe 1 hour per month)

Will I ever need to recertify?

  • Yes.  All officials in Wisconsin recertify every even numbered year.
  • To maintain your certification you must:
    • Attend a Wisconsin Swimming Recertification Clinic, take the USA Swimming on-line Recertification Test or participate in other alternatives provided by the Wisconsin Swimming Officials Committee.
    • Stroke/Turn Judges must officiate a minimum of four sessions, at two or more different Meets each year.
    • Starter/Referees must officiate a minimum of six sessions, at two or more different Meets each year.

Any other questions?  Mike Mellock, [email protected]