Welcome to the world of swim officiating! This page contains all the information you need to become an entry-level swim official. If you have any questions or for more information, please contact Dave Wicklund.


Why Be An Official?

There are lots of great reasons to become a swim official…

  • We need you! It may look like there are plenty of officials on deck, but the fact is that at most meets we have about half the number of officials we need to officiate effectively.

  • Contribute meaningfully to the sport. Becoming an official demonstrates to your swimmer(s) the kind of parent you are --- caring and active.

  • You are right there at the point of the action.

  • Hospitality – At most swim meets, the host team makes sure you have plenty to eat and drink.

  • Camaraderie– Meet and make friends with other officials from all over your area and the state, and enjoy the energy and spirit of the officials' group.

  • Unlike many sports, we pay for professional coaching and rely on volunteer officials.


What do ‘Stroke and Turn Judges’ do?

The officials help the coaches and swimmers by maintaining a fair competitive environment. Stroke and Turn Judges (S/T) will observe the swimmers after the start and report any violations of the stroke and turn rules to the Referee. Officials should never incorrectly report a violation of the rules, as it is expected that all reports are based on 100% certainty that what is reported as disqualification is a violation of the rules. The swimmers ALWAYS get the benefit of the doubt!



Swimming officials are divided into several levels, and once you have become an S/T judge, you can choose to progress to additional levels if you wish. No level is more important than the Stroke and Turn level, but you learn additional skills at each level. The additional levels are:

• Starter

• Deck Referee

• Meet Referee

How To Become An Official

Certification at each level requires formal instruction (a clinic), testing, and supervised experience on deck. For Starters and Referees, experience at the preceding level is also required.

6 steps to becoming an ARSI Swim Official:

Step 1: Attend a New Stroke & Turn Officials Clinic

The New Officials clinic provides introductory information on how to officiate each stroke and it provides detail on the USA Swimming requirements for officiating.

Step 2: Register as a Non-Athlete member of USA Swimming. 

The application and instructions are available on the Arkansas Swimming Website.  Applications are also handed out during a New Officials Clinic.  There is a charge associated with the membership but is typically covered by the Swim Team you are associated with, please ask your team about reimbursements.

Step 3: Complete a Background Check through the USA Swimming website.

Background Check Link - there is a charge for the Background check which you have to pay at the time of submission.  Most Swim Clubs reimburse you once you complete certification.  Please check with your team on their policy.   

Step 4: Complete Athlete Protection Training and Concussion Protocol Training through the USA Swimming website.  One of our main goals as Officials is to help provide a safe environment for our athletes.  One of the ways this is accomplished is by ensuring all our Officials take Athlete Protection training annually.  The training is taken through the USA Swimming website and is free.  Here is the link for the training: Athlete Protection Training Link and Concussion Protocol Training.

Step 5: Work 6 Sessions as an Apprentice Official. 

Step 6: Complete the Official Stroke and Turn test via the USA Swimming website. Officials Online Testing Link   there is no charge for any testing

If you have any questions about these steps please reach out to the ASI Officials Chair Joe Potts at [email protected]


ARSI Official's Website