Swimming technical officials

Technical officials are required to control all swimming competitions.
Officials ensure a fair and level playing field for all athletes’ in the sport from club level right through to international competition. 
England, Scotland and Wales are in alignment over the training of swimming officials. This means training is standardised across the UK. Competitions are run under British Swimming Technical Rules. As such, trained officials are listed as British Swimming Officials.
We have developed an Officials Handbook to ensure uniformity of presentation at county events.
For general officials enquiries email Jonathan Pope, Swimming Technical Officials Coordinator.

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 a member of a club affiliated to Swim England, Scottish Swimming or Swim Wales.


Swimming Technical Officials Newsletter signup

Our Swimming Technical Officials Newsletter includes regular updates on rules, invitations to officiate at galas and opportunities to update your skills. 

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Officials training 

Below you will find all the information you need to learn about becoming a technical official on the poolside. Use this guide to learn more about the Officials Pathway.

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. Every candidate needs to be a registered member of a British Swimming affiliated club and a member of the Institute of Swimming (IoS).

The Timekeeper Course is now online.

Candidates must then be signed off as competent and load the letter from the referee signing them off onto their membership portal.

Candidates will then be confirmed as a Timekeeper.

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.

The Judge Level 1 Course is now online.

Once the theory training has been completed candidates must upload their certificate of completion onto the membership portal. This will trigger your workbook being sent out to you.

Once you receive the workbook you will need to do the following:

  1. Non Timekeepers – attend a swimming gala and achieve sign off of being a competent Timekeeper. You will be provided a letter detailing this and this must be uploaded onto the membership portal.
  2. Undertake mentoring and get signed off for the competencies in the workbook.
  3. Attend two mentored session at a Level 1 or Level 2 meet.
  4. Complete a Contemporary Issues Course.  
  5. Once you have all competencies signed off email the County Co-ordinator – Jonathan Pope.

You will need a picture on your membership portal for your licence to be issued.

You must have completed steps 1 through 5 within 11 months of completing the theory online.

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

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.

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.