SwimMark Club

Officials - the people dressed in white...

Qualifications & Training

Officials are those people you see at poolside generally wearing white polo shirts carrying a combination of stopwatches, clipboards, pens, maybe a whistle, and sometimes a radio. If you feed them Haribo and boiled sweets, they're generally happy.

We jest, but galas can't happen without officials: not enough officials = no meet.

When we attend meets organised by other clubs, we're required to provide officials. And to be able to hold our own internal club championships, we ideally need to have enough officials without needing to rely on officials from other clubs helping us out.

Bottom line: a swimming club can never have enough officials, so if you're interested in becoming an official, we'd be delighted to hear from you!

An explanation of the different types of officials around a swimming pool can be found here: https://www.britishswimming.org/browse-sport/swimming/officials/officials-qualifications-training/

And the DQ codes can be found here: https://resources.fina.org/fina/document/2023/05/17/82b5dc84-c7a2-4ba3-aca2-9a70863c51dc/-Double-sided-Disqualification-Form_17052023.pdf

Please contact our Workforce CoOrdinator Sarah Cozens for more information [email protected] 


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, which can be delivered face to face or undertaken online, followed by a demonstration of practical competence.

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 ([email protected]) 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

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 and undertaken 20 hours post qualification poolside work in the role of a Judge 1. The training is made up of instruction on the theoretical aspects of the role and mentored pool side training with a workbook, which allows the candidate to demonstrate practical competence prior to qualification.

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.


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 usually be submitted by 31 December of the previous year to allow sufficient time for completion of training in preparation for the November examination. However to allow additional time for applicants to meet the pre-requisites, the closing date for application for training in 2023 will be 31 January 2023.