Officials Qualifications & Training

England, Scotland and Wales are in alignment over the training of swimming officials. This means training is standardised across the UK. Read on for details of the demands of each level of training, and the forms to apply.

England, Scotland and Wales have been working towards common standards in the education and training of all swimming officials.

All three Home Countries now use FINA Technical Rules. As such, trained officials are listed as British Swimming Officials. Below is a description of the various training available.

Look at the bottom of this page for regional information on organising officials qualifications and training.

Timekeeper

This is an introduction into the world of the swimming official. It covers the practical aspects of what is required of a timekeeper by means of a short theory session followed by a practical assessment.

The minimum recommended age for candidates to undertake this training is 14 years, and all need to be registered members of a British Swimming affiliated club or member of the Institute of Swimming (IoS).

Judge Level 1

Monday 27th January 2020 saw the launch of the new online theory modules for the training of the pool Judge 1 technical officials.  This brings to a close a considerable amount of work in partnership with Swim England and the Institute of Swimming to ensure we are delivering a quality product to our volunteers.

Whilst the content of the training remains largely unchanged, the move to an online format is designed to allow volunteers to start the training at their own pace and to fit with all the other lifestyle commitments which we know our volunteers have.

Access to local support is available on request, with a dedicated new email address (swimmingofficials@swimming.org) to provide ongoing additional support as we seek to grow our number of qualified officials.

Once their theory training is complete and registered, candidates will be provided with local contacts to guide them through their practical assessments. Training resources have been updated, and clear guidance is now included on suggested timescales for completing each competence, with a time limit of 11 months being introduced.

Upon completion of all Judge 1 training individuals will automatically be issued with their first licence, which will be valid for 4 years, which then enable them to apply to volunteer at all events up to and including National level.

The course can be accessed at www.swimming.org/ios/course/3143

(If you have been provided with a voucher to access a closed course for your Region/County please ensure that you register using the link provided with the voucher and not the one above, which is for the national course.)

For details of changes to the course as it moves online please read our summary document here.

Judge Level 2

This is the second level of qualification. It encompasses the role and duties in relation to all aspects of judging and the theoretical role and duties of Starter.

The minimum age to start training is 16 years and candidates must a have already qualified as Judge Level 1. The training is made up of formal instruction mentored pool side training with a workbook, followed by a practical assessment.

When qualified, candidates will be attributed with the qualification Judge Level 2 on the British Swimming Database.

Judge Level 2S - Starter

Candidates wishing to qualify as a Starter will be required hold the Judge Level 2 qualification and have completed a minimum of 20 hours post qualification experience as Judge Level 2.

Training will consist of a prescribed number of practical experiences as a Starter before undertaking a formal practical assessment.

Successful candidates will be attributed with the Starter qualification: Judge Level 2.

Referee

The minimum age for training is 19 years providing the candidate is aged 20 years as at 30 November in the year of the theory examination.

This course contains theoretical instruction and specified practical experiences. It is followed by a formal examination in November after which successful candidates take a final poolside practical assessment leading to qualification as a British Swimming Referee.

Several months have been allocated between registration and the formal examination to enable candidates to undertake all the practical experience required to complete the course as well as the theoretical instruction.

Application forms must be submitted by 31 December of the previous year to allow sufficient time for completion of training in preparation for the November examination.

  • Saturday 2 May 2020 (resits only)
  • Saturday 7 November 2020

The new pre-requisites and application process for Referee training are available here: British Swimming Referee Training Process. Please ensure that you have familiarised yourself with them before applying for training.

The importance of insurance

All clubs, promoters and competition organisers are reminded that, for insurance purposes, all those officiating on poolside at any competition must be registered members of a British Swimming affiliated club or a member of the Institute of Swimming.