Being a Swimming Technical Official (STO)
England, Scotland and Wales are in alignment over the training of swimming officials. This means training is standardised across the UK. Read on for details of the demands of each level of training, and the forms to apply.
England, Scotland and Wales have been working towards common standards in the education and training of all swimming officials.
All three Home Countries now use FINA Technical Rules. As such, trained officials are listed as British Swimming Officials. Below is a description of the various rolls:
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, and all need to be registered members of a British Swimming affiliated club or member of the Institute of Swimming (IoS).
Judge level 1
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. Candidates will be required to undertake some formal theory instruction and gain practical experience working on the poolside with a mentor. A course workbook is provided for completion after which there will be a practical assessment.
During the practical assessment, candidates will be required to answer questions orally. Upon qualification candidates will be attributed with the qualification Judge Level 1 on the British Swimming Database and will be encouraged to become a Licensed Official.
Judge level 2
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 ahave already qualified as Judge Level 1. The training follws 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: Judge Level 2S
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.