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“Swimming Rules exist for no other purpose than to regulate fair play. They are designed not only to keep the swimming strokes pure and correct, but also to ensure that all swimmers in a race are subject to the same restrictions and limitations.” – Extract from World Aquatics


Why do we need officials?

Officials are the key to successful swimming competitions. At every level, officials have a duty to contribute to consistent officiating by applying the following criteria. Officials should always:
  • Promote positive attitudes and impress upon athletes the need to maintain the highest standards of fair play.
  • Maintain honesty and integrity and make every effort to ensure that the rules are applied consistently and with absolute impartiality.
  • Encourage openness.
  • Display decisiveness.
  • Demonstrate a willingness to admit mistakes, but never express any criticism of athletes, coaches or fellow officials.
  • Acknowledge the use of good judgement.
  • Act in a ‘professional’ manner – be dressed smartly and appropriately.
  • Avoid the use of offensive or abusive language. Never drink alcohol before officiating.
  • Make a personal commitment to maintain a complete understanding of the rules and their application by expanding opportunities for further experience and training.


How many officials are needed?

Loads!!! It depends on the number of lanes in use at the venue. At an eight-lane pool such as Littledown each event needs at least 17 officials plus an announcer, and ideally there would be between 19 and 27 qualified officials. Over 70 officials will take part in our County events each year; we are one big family working together to help the swimmers to perform at their best. Having started to officiate in club and county you can, if you wish, officiate at open meets, and regional and national events. The more officials there are, the higher the standard and the fairer the competition for all swimmers taking part.


What makes a good Judge?

Swim meets are for swimmers and swimmers must be taken seriously. The swimmers, regardless of level, will have worked hard to excel and may be under a great deal of pressure.
Officials should be unobtrusive, inconspicuous, and not officious. Officials will gain the respect of swimmers and coaches by being approachable, responsible, knowledgeable and competent. However, it must be clearly understood that discussion with swimmers, parents and coaches during an event should only be undertaken by the Referee. Officials should not discuss rule infringements with anyone other than the Referee.
For competent stroke and turn judging, it is as important to learn what variations in strokes are legal, as not all variations are illegal. Everything should be reported to the Referee who makes the final decision.
Remember – the swimmer always get the benefit of the doubt.


Can Young Volunteers become officials?

Young Volunteers can become Timekeepers and the minimum age to undertake training is 14 years. Once the candidate is 15 years old, Timekeepers are welcome to extend their officials qualification and become a Judge Level One.


Which officials can work at which competitions?

Visit the explanation for officials requirement for licensed meets on the Swim England website.

How do I keep up to date?

Visit the British Swimming Officials web pages.


The link below goes directly to the Officials section on the British Swimming website where a variety of key documents may be found, including the latest version of the Disqualification report.