Swimming Technical Officials

Swimming Technical Officials (STOs) are a central part of every swimming event and they play an important role in ensuring that the events run smoothly, safely and within the sport’s regulations. The STO's are parent volunteers or volunteers who give of their time freely to support the running of events your swimmer participates in.  If you are involved as a STO at a North District event Meet information can be accessed on SASA North District. This information contains event listings, conditions and applications.  STO job details for specific events should be emailed separately prior to the event.  The rule of thumb though is, if you have a swimmer attending, come prepared to help at the event.

A number of roles exist within officiating, including: 


Judge 1

Judge 2

Judge 2S



Automatic Officiating Equipment (AOE) Operator

Information on the courses can be found at: Officials Qualifications & Training | British Swimming


A swimming competition cannot run successfully without STOs.


If the meet is not accredited, swimmers will not achieve accredited times which will then restrict them entering subsequent meets in the future, thus capping their potential. Remember, everyone you see in an Official position is a volunteer and give their time so your swimmer can participate in Club activities, from training to competing.


We are greatly encouraged recently to see parents volunteering to be officials in the club. As our older swimmers decide to move on due to other commitments it means that the number of qualified officials have been falling. We have been proactive in replacing these officials especially in our competitive squads. We would therefore request that at least one parent from each family be qualified as a STO official or volunteer to help out when WDASC organise meets at the pool. Parents who are progressing and have progressed recently from Timekeeping have stated they find the Inspector of Turns role to be "much more interesting". Why not ask them how they feel about the move?

Your understanding and support in this matter is much appreciated as we endeavour to sustain our strong position within the North District and continue to progress the club for the benefit of both our current and future swimmers.


How to become a Technical Offical

If you are aged 14 years or over, with an interest in swimming - or the enthusiasm to learn! - then you have already taken the first step to becoming a Swimming Technical Official (STO).

First, you must be a member of Scottish Swimming so that you are insured to be an STO on the poolside. If you are not already a member of the club then please contact our Membership Secretary at [email protected]. Westhill District ASC will pay this annual subscription for as long as you continue to take an active role in the club.


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 an affiliated club.

Judge 1

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

The minimum age to start training is 15 years. Candidates will be required to undertake an online instruction and assessment module, and gain practical experience working on the poolside with a mentor. A course workbook is provided for completion.

There is no final assessment or examination. Upon qualification candidates will be attributed with the qualification Judge Level 1 on the British Swimming Database and will be enrolled as a Licensed Official.

Judge 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 have already qualified as Judge Level 1. The training follows a similar format to that of Judge level 1 with formal instruction and mentored pool side training with workbook.

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

Judge 2S

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.

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


YouTube Videos from USA Swimming

If you are interested in developing your STO capacity, British Swimming and Scottish Swimming use training videos from USA Swiming to support your understanding of what you should see in the water from an official's perspective.  Please find here the link to the backstroke video: How to officiate backstroke - YouTube

The others can be found from there.


The basic information about swimming disqualifications can be found at: General Resources | British Swimming



The minimum age for training is 19yrs providing the candidate is aged 20yrs as at 30thNovember in the year of the theory examination. In addition candidates must have proven poolside experience at Judge Level 1 and Judge Level 2 and must also have been qualified as Judge Level 2S for at least 1 year with a minimum of 10 hours post qualification experience in that role at the time of application.

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.

Examinations are normally held in May and November.  

Training is also available for a Recorder Examination and for AOE Operator which is by assessment.

Visit the Scottish Swimming website for more information or speak to any committee member.


Technical Official Documents & Dress Code

Some useful British Swimming STO Training documents are available here for downloading.(Swimming Technical Officials | Scottish Swimming

STO's are required to wear the following poolside uniform for all competitive swimming events:


White open-necked short sleeved shirt

White trousers  NO SHORTS

White poolside shoes and white socks



White dress or white blouse and skirt or trousers

White poolside shoes