If you are interested in becoming a YMCA Swim Officia, please contact on of the traineirs listed on the chart below.


Welcome to the PSSA Officials Webpage!

The purpose of this page is to provide Puget Sound Swimming Association (PSSA) officials with resources that will help each official improve their skills, recruit officials for meets, and provide resources such as stroke training videos and meet forms.

Who are PSSA Officials?

PSSA officials are usually parents of children who are swimming as members of one of the YMCA’s teams that belong to PSSA.   These parents volunteer their time to learn the rules of swimming and then help run the various swim meets. 

PSSA is made-up of swim teams located at the following YMCAs:

  • North - Snohomish, Skagit Valley, and Whatcom.
  • Central - Greater Seattle Y teams (Auburn, West Seattle, Northshore) 
  • South - Gordon, Grays Harbor, Lakewood, Mel Korum, Morgan, Bremerton, Haselwood, Tom Taylor, and Briggs (South Sound.)

In addition to parents there are other people who become officials because they see the benefits that swimming offers children and who believe in the YMCA’s vision of “Youth Development, Health Living, and Social Responsibility.”

Key contacts for PSSA Officials





Dave Baer

PSSA League Official Commissioner

YMCA Swim Official Trainer

Rules on all league technical competitive questions.

Teaches all YMCA levels

[email protected]

Earl Long

Pacific NW YMCA Regional Officials coordinator & Trainer

Teaches all YMCA Levels

[email protected]

Linda Vicik

YMCA Swim Official Trainer

Teaches all YMCA levels

[email protected]

Chris Fako

YMCA Swim Official Trainer

Teaches all YMCA Levels

[email protected]

Jim Cornforth

YMCA Swim Official Trainer

Teaches all YMCA levels

[email protected]


Roster of officials = This is a list of all the PSSA Officials as of December 29, 2023.  The list is now three pages divided by the divisions as well as by Level 1, Level 2, and Adminiastrative Officials (AOs).  The list is located at:

Click here for the PDF Version

If you have any changes to your information on the Roster of Officials, please email those changes to Earl Long at [email protected]


There are a number of resources available that can help you become a better official.  These are:

National YMCA websiteThere are many resources on the National YMCA website. Here are several links that you should find particularly helpful:

Information for Officials – This link provides information on YMCA Swimming.

Training Levels – This link describes the three types of officials that are required for swim meets.  These are Level I (Stroke & Turn Judges), Level II (Starter and Referee), and Administrative Officials (ensures the results are accurate and complete).

Official uniform attire and dress code – YMCA officials should dress for swim meets according to the uniform standards described in (Hint - it’s a white polo shirt, navy blue bottoms, white socks, ad white shoes):

YMCA Swim Officials Shirts - vendor for purchasing white officials shirts

Officials Requirements for YMCA Meets – For all YMCA meets, at least two officials must be YMCA Certified including one certified as a Level II Official who acts as the Referee:

  • Dual Meets require at least three (3) officials including a Starter, a Referee and an Administrative Official. The Starter and Referee may also serve as Stroke & Turn judges, if necessary.
  • All other meets require at least four (4) officials including a Referee, a Starter (who may also act as a Stroke & Turn judge), a Stroke & Turn judge and an Administrative Official.
  • Any YMCA Level II Certified Official can function as the Administrative Official, but not in that role and another deck role (e.g. the Deck Referee cannot also serve as the Admin Official)
  • USA Swimming Certified Officials may assist with the officiating at such meets, provided that there are at least two YMCA Certified Officials, one of whom is YMCA Level II certified and acts as the Meet Referee. Here is the link to read the USA Swimming/YMCA reciprocal agreement regarding the assistance of USA Swimming officials at YMCA meet.

Record of Meet Experience - PSSA officials should keep a record of the sessions worked at meets.  Click here for the Official’s Meet Log Form.

  • IMPORTANT - In order to qualify to re-certify, an official must have worked at least twelve (12) sessions over the three-year certification period. (A session is defined as either a dual meet, or a session at an invitational or championship meet.) The Official’s Meet Log Form can be used to document the sessions worked. It should be completed for each session and signed by the Referee. It must then be presented to the instructor at the certification clinic.
  • This form will also serve to document sessions worked for purposes of a Level I official qualifying to take the Level II Certification Clinic.

USA Swimming Officials website.   PSSA follows the same rules of USA Swimming.  Here are some links to resources from the USA Swimming Officials Webpage:

New - 2023 USA Swimming Rule Book Except as otherwise noted, all provisions under Part One, Technical Rules, are effective beginning May 1, 2023, and until changed. All provisions under Parts Two through Seven are effective beginning January 1, 2023, unless otherwise indicated. Rules in effect on the first day of a meet shall govern throughout that meet.  These are the new changes explained in emails from USA Swimming:

Change in judging backstroke:

To: USA Swimming Board of Directors, General Chairs, Officials Chairs, Rules & Regulations Committee, USA Swimming Officials and USA Swimming Coaches,

I am writing to inform you of a change to the USA Swimming Rules to comply with World Aquatics Swimming Rule 6.3. Very recently World Aquatics changed their Swimming Rule 6.3 to allow athletes a greater distance within which they may resubmerge prior to a backstroke finish. Accordingly, effective immediately, we have amended our USA Swimming Rule 101.4.2 to include the additional language shown below in red.

USA Swimming Rule USA Swimming Rule 101.4.2 (pp 24) – To Comply with World Aquatics SW6.3

Stroke — The swimmer shall push off on his back and continue swimming on the back throughout the race. Some part of the swimmer must break the surface of the water throughout the race, except it is permissible for the swimmer to be completely submerged during the turn and for a distance of not more than 15 meters (16.4 yards) after the start and after each turn. By that point, the head must have broken the surface of the water.  Additionally, once some part of the head of the swimmer has passed the 5 meter mark (long course and short course meters) or 5 yard mark (short course yards) immediately prior to reaching the finish, the swimmer may be completely submerged prior to the touch.

Dissimilarly from the rules addressed in my communication earlier this week, you will not see this additional language in your physical 2023 Rulebook. Regardless, the entire verbiage shown above (both black and red ink) is now the effective USA Swimming Rule 101.4.2 and will be available on the USA Swimming website in a dedicated section entitled “Additional 2023 Rulebook Changes” on the Rules & Policies Page.

It has also been brought to my attention that our rules surrounding the Starter’s commands are slightly dissimilar to World Aquatics. Specifically, the “take your mark” command is “take your marks” throughout World Aquatics SW4. Accordingly, effective immediately, we have amended our rules to use the “take your marks” verbiage. This appears in several places in our rulebook and a separate communication is being sent to all officials to ensure consistent starting language across all our decks. For now, please simply expect to start hearing this command at our meets.

If you have any questions or concerns about either of these changes, please do not hesitate to reach out to your LSC Officials’ Chair, Matt Wilson, your USA Swimming Officials’ Chair, or me.

Thank you for your time and your dedication to our sport.

With best regards, Derek Paul, Chair, USA Swimming Rules & Regulations Committee

Update to start protocol:

Good afternoon. It has been brought to my attention that the USA Swimming Rulebook differs slightly in our stated starting procedures from World Aquatics. Of specific concern is our “take your mark” command.

Starting immediately, we are training all officials to use the command “take your marks”. This appears in the rulebook in several places. I believe the following list is exhaustive.

101.1.2C and D
105.3 Figure 1 C and E
105.3 Figure 2 D and F
Differences Between USA Swimming and USMS Rules – Forward Start

In all instances where the command “take your mark” has been used, Starters should now use the command “take your marks”. While a minimal change on paper, it’s likely this new language will take some getting used to. There will be no instruction on a correction for saying the command the old way. If you accidentally say take “your mark”, so long as the athletes assume their starting positions, you do not need to stand them up. Rather you should continue the starting sequence.

If you have any questions or concerns about this change, please do not hesitate to reach out to your LSC Officials’ Chair, Matt Wilson, your USA Swimming Officials’ Chair, or me.

Thank you for your time and your dedication to our sport.

With best regards, Derek Paul, Chair, USA Swimming Rules & Regulations Committee

USA Swimming Timing Policy manual - The purpose of this manual is to provide general guidance to the swimmers, coaches, and volunteers who will be providing or using the times data in the SWIMS system. Section 7.3 contains the section titled "Mutual Guidelines for YMCA Teams, AAU Teams, and USA Swimming Officers for SWIMS Database."

New as of January 2023, Stroke and Turn Briefing – A summary of the how to judge each stroke.

Other resources from USA Swimming that can help you as a Y Official.

Link to Novice Training Videos – This links contains videos of each of the strokes.  These are good training videos for all officials.  The videos are in MP4 format.

ATTENTION, the videos may automatically start or you might need to download the videos.  It will depend on your computer or internet settings.  

USA Swimming developed the following descriptions of each of the following positions:

Stroke & Turn

Chief Judge


Deck Referee

Admin Official/Referee

One last item! – Help  

If you even have a question about officiating you can send the question to our helpline email address at [email protected].


Good luck and we will see you soon on deck!