CCSC need volunteers to become officials (the people in white!).......

At licensed open events and galas, each competing club has an obligation to provide officials to ensure the meet runs to the required Swim England standards of excellence fairness and safety. Without enough officials, club entries can be refused; and clubs can also be fined if they do not provide enough officials ( £50 per club for the NASL gala) so as you can see, we really depend on everyone to help make these great opportunities for our swimmers possible. In addition we cannot licence our own Club Championships or Summer Sprints  (@ 20 officials required) or even think about running our own Open Meet (a great source of funds) without our own officials.  The club pay for your training and membership of Swim England but we do have an expectation that you will then officiate when required - the more we have the less onerous the tasks!


As a ‘swimming parent’ you spend a lot of time attending swimming meets. Becoming an official gives you an insight into how swimming meets work, provides you with something to do when son/daughter isn’t swimming and is a great source of free sweets; free entry to galas; no queuing; occasionally lunch and a bottle of wine – oh and the opportunity to look very fetching in all white – or not!


In order to become an official you need to attend an induction session and then complete a series of practical sessions, recorded in a workbook, focusing upon the duties associated with the qualification being worked towards. Apart from the Referee course there are no written exams. There are 5 grades of officials as follows:- Timekeeper; Judge level 1; Judge level 2; Judge level 2 & starter and referee. No prior knowledge of swimming rules is assumed at the start of training to become an official. All you need is a clipboard, a stopwatch, a pen and an enthusiasm for swimming.


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 ( about three hours in total).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).


This is the first level of British qualification for which the minimum age is 15. It encompasses the role and duties of a Timekeeper, Chief Timekeeper and Inspector of Turns.

Timekeeper - You record the time the swimmer takes to complete the race using a stopwatch and record it on the heat sheets. If the meet is working with Automatic Officiating Equipment (AOE) ie electronics then there will also be a secondary ‘back-up’ button that you need to push when the swimmer completes the race. If the meet is using manual times the Chief Timekeeper will collect the time sheets for each event.

Chief Timekeeper – to ensure the timekeepers perform their role. If the meet is manual (ie not electronic - AOE) they collect the time sheets from the timekeeper after each event and work out the finishing times for the swimmers based on the order of the finish in agreement with the referee.

Inspector of Turns – as a J1 you are also expected to be responsible for looking at the swimmers turns and finishes. Do not worry - you cannot disqualify a swimmer, all you do is report an infringement if you see it to the Referee or Chief Inspector of Turns. The only person who can disqualify a swimmer is the Referee. If you "think" you saw an infringement then you must give the swimmer the benefit of doubt. This part of J1 requires knowledge of the rules relating to the turn and finish for each stroke but this is where the mentoring will help since you will be attending meets and placed with more experienced officials who will ask questions and explain what you should be looking for.

Chief Inspector of Turns – is the link between the Inspector of Turns (J1) and the Referee. Takes the report from the time keeper to the referee.

Relay take-Off Judge – another role that J1s are expected to do is to watch the take-over when the incoming swimmer touches and the swimmer on the blocks dives in. If you see an infringement you report it to the Chief Inspector of Turns/Referee. Again training is given in the rules operating for this element of the race.


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. This is based around a workshop session followed by practical sessions with an experienced official and a final practical session.

Judges of stroke: J2 officials are responsible for ensuring that all stroke rules are complied with. As with J1 Stroke judges do not disqualify swimmers. Rather they report observed infringements to the Referee who will disqualify the swimmer.

Finish judge: writes the lane order of swimmers as they finish and passes these to the Referee. An important role even in the meets with electronics as sometimes these systems fail!


This role is the most visible and easiest to understand role. The starter’s role is to ensure that the start is fair for all swimmers. As with J2 this is based around a workshop session followed by practical sessions with an experienced official and a final assessed practical session.


This role is the highest level of qualification in British Swimming and combines several theory sessions, an exam and assessed practical sessions. The Referee is in overall control of all aspects of the meet and is responsible for health and safety as well as ensuring that the competition is fair. It to the Referee that judges report observed infringements and who decides whether these will be accepted.


Contact Nicola Long ccscmembers@gmail.com for more details, informal discussion and she will point you in the right direction and guide you through the process and take a look at the requirements for each level here: https://www.sussexswimming.org/get-involved/volunteer-training/




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