2021-2022 Virginia Swimming Officials - TIDE Affiliated

Thank you for your interest in USA Swimming officiating. We have a great crew of parents on deck and are excited for you to join us.

Note: If you have officiated high school or summer league, certifying as a USA Swimming official will mean starting from scratch. If you have held an officiating position with another sanctioning body, please contact us as the process may be different for you.

Here is a shortcut of to-do's all officials must follow with more detailed information below.

New Officials

  1. Contact us at [email protected] to let us know you are interested in becoming an official.
  2. Sign up for a virtual training clinic courtesy of Virginia Swimming
  3. Register as a non-athlete on the USA Swimming website
    • Complete a USA Swimming background check
    • Complete the initial Athlete Protection Training
    • Complete Concussion Protocol Training
  4. Sign up for training at TIDE home or away meets
  5. Complete 7 on-deck training sessions to certify. Each session can range from 3-4 hours.
  6. Complete a final USA Swimming test for Stroke & Turn or Admin Official

Returning Officials

  1. Renew your USA Swimming background check as needed
  2. Complete renewal Athlete Protection Training as needed
  3. Complete 8 sessions per calendar year to maintain certification.

Returning Officials in New Positions

  1. Contact us at [email protected] to let us know you are interested in a new position.
  2. Sign up for a virtual training clinic courtesy of Virginia Swimming
  3. Renew your USA Swimming background check as needed
  4. Complete renewal Athlete Protection Training as needed
  5. Complete 7 on-deck training sessions to certify..
  6. Complete a final USA Swimming test for your new position as needed

New Officials

Register for a Training Clinic

Anyone who has not previously held a certification from USA Swimming will need to complete a virtual clinic courtesy of Virginia Swimming. All new officials ae required to participate in the entry positions clincs which are for Stroke & Turn or Admin Officials. Registration for the fall season is now available online.

Register for a Virginia Swimming Clinic

Upon completion of your clinic, you will receive a PDF training card. Please print it and have it with you for all on-deck trainings. Those cards will be filled out by a mentor who will provide training to you and will be submitted to Virginia Swimming once your training is complete.

Register as a non-athlete account

Once you have completed a clinic, you may register as a non-athlete official on the USA Swimming website. Please go to https://hub.usaswimming.org/ and create a parent account (if you haven't already). Once you have registered for a parent account, follow the unique link for TIDE (and only for TIDE parents) via the button below.

Register for a USA Swimming Officials Account

Make sure as you are filling out the form that you select Official and not Official Apprenticeship as the later expires after 60 days.

Athlete Protection Training

All USA Swimming officials and trainees must complete the online Athlete Protection Training course annually. The core course takes approximately 90 minutes to complete and is offered at no charge. The renewal course, offered in alternate years, is about 45 minutes long. When the course has been completed, the membership database is updated and Virginia Swimming is notified automatically.

Athlete Protection Training is provided through the Education > Course Catalog section of the USA Swimming website and is provided by the U.S. Center for Safe Sport. https://www.usaswimming.org/resource-center/athlete-protection-training

Concussion Protocol Training

All USA Swimming officials are required to complete an approved Concussion Protocol Training course to be eligible for a Non-Athlete membership. These courses are provided by third-parties.

Please complete one of the courses below and save a PDF of your completion. Your online account should reflect the completion, but if not, we will submit your certificate to the Virginia Swimming team.

USA Swimming approved concussion protocol training courses:



When you have registered, and completed your background check, APT and concussion training, please send me a screen shot so I can add it to our officials tracker. Please keep all receipts so that once you have completed your 8 sessions, TIDE can reimburse you for the registration fee and background check.

On Deck Training

As mentioned above, new officials will be provided a training card at the end of the clinic. The card breaks down the number of "walks" or sessions needed to certify as an official. Each trainee will complete a clinic and 7 sessions on deck before becoming a certified official. The clinic and all 7 sessions count toward your yearly certification requirements for USA Swimming.

For the beginning of your deck training, you will wear whatever clothes are comfortable to you. Keep in mind that Stroke & Turn officials do get wet and our first few home meets are outdoors at Princess Anne. Sun hats, sunscreen, raincoats are always allowed. If the weather is cool, we also allow jackets or sweatshirts.

For your training sessions, you will be assigned a mentor (one of our certified officials) who will work with you to begin to understand the rules and strokes, how to spot infractions, how to write DQ slips, and deck protocol. For Admin Officials, you will learn the systems we use to adjudicate times, how to interact with Meet Referees, Deck Referees, and Chief Judges, and the setup and tear down procedures of the equipment.

As you near the end of your training sessions, you will start to "walk in whites" meaning you'll start to wear the traditional officials uniform which consists of a white polo, navy blue shorts/skirt/pants, and white shoes. During this part of your training, you are still with a mentor, but are making your own calls and writing DQ slips, or running the computer and timing systems mostly on your own.

Upon completion of your training, Virginia Swimming will issue you a white polo and a name tag.

At the Meet

For each session you complete, your mentor will fill out your training card and provide feedback for you for the next session, At the end of your training, that form will be submitted to myself and Virginia Swimming. Please make sure to bring your training card to each session you work.

All Officials

Meet Signups

We maintain a list of all officials and trainees throughout the year. This is a transparent list that shows the number of sessions you've worked, whether any of your certifications are close to expiring, and the upcoming meets.

A few weeks before every meet, we will send out either a Google Sheet or Google Form to sign up for the meet. Depending on the length of the meet, the Google Sheet will have multiple tabs by day and session / age group.

If you are a certified official, sign up for the day(s)/session/position you would like to work. Please note, we will make every effort to place you in your preferred position but there will be times we need to shift you around to achieve the best coverage.

If you are in training, you will enter your name in the trainee section of any session you wish to work along with the session number you are on during your training.

If we send out a Google Form link, this will ask you for all of your contact information, what sessions you are available, and whether you are certified or training, and for what position. The differences between a Google Sheet vs. a Google Form are typically the preference of the Meet Referee.

The fun stuff

Being an official is fun. You have the best view on deck! In addition, here are some benefits to being an official:

  • Any official or trainee will receive hospitality at almost all meets and drinks throughout each session.
  • Ask questions! Our crew on deck is one of the best and we have a wealth of information. The goal is to get you comfortable on deck to make your own calls.
  • So long as an official maintains their 8 sessions per calendar year for USA Swimming certification, they are exempt from TIDE service hours. This includes trainees that complete training before the end of the TIDE season in August.
  • We have Virginia Swimming clip boards to hand out to all new officials. Please find us on deck if you need one.
  • Have fun. Officiating is a great way to involve yourself in the sport and support your swimmer(s). Sign up to work away meets as well. Our fellow teams in the South East District have great officials and we support their meets as they do ours. There is no limitation on whether you work a TIDE home meet or an away meet that TIDE is attending.

On behalf of Virginia Swimming and USA Swimming, welcome! If there are any questions we can answer for you, please don't hesitate to ask.

Todd Stowell
TIDE Swimming Officials Co-Chair
Kate Stowell
TIDE Swimming Officials Co-Chair
Admin Official, Timing System Operator, Recorder, Stroke & Turn Starter, Chief Judge, Stroke & Turn

Please also visit the Virginia Swimming's Officials webpage for an comprehensive information about becoming an official.

Last Updated: September 10th, 2023