STOs are a central part of every swimming event and plays an important role in ensuring the events run smoothly, safely and within the sport's regulations.
There are a number of roles within the officiating world, including timekeeper, recorder, Judge 1, Judge 2, Judge 2S, Referee and Automatic Officiating Equipment (AOE) Operator.
Your club currently has a number of parents officiating but as both the club and the sport continues to grow we need to continually look to get more parents involved in this area of their child’s chosen sport!
So, how do you become a Swimming Technical Official? If you are aged 14 years or over, with an interest in swimming - or the enthusiasm to learn, then you have taken the first step to becoming a Swimming Technical Official! Firstly, you must be a member of Scottish Swimming so you are insured for your activity on poolside.
The first step on the ladder of officiating is to become a Timekeeper. Our Club training coordinator regularly organises Timekeeper’s workshops and assessments through the District STO Convenor. This requires eight people and consists of a lecture followed by practical experience/assessment of timekeeping on the poolside. Once the assessment is successfully completed you can officiate on the poolside at any event.
Once you have reached the age of 16 then you are eligible to become a Judge 1. This again involves you applying to your District STO Convenor who will advise you of a course start date which will include workshop dates. Material for the course is in the form of a workbook and your Course leader will advise you how this is obtained. The course is in the form of workshops and practical training on poolside with a mentor only with no examination at the end of the course just a final assessment. Judge 1 qualifies you to be a Timekeeper and be a Turn Judge.
Once you have completed this you are then eligible to continue to Judge 2 which is completed in the same manner. Judge 2 qualifies you to Judge stroke and finish. Once you have completed this and have done 20 hours post qualification as a Judge 2 you are then eligible to continue to Judge 2S (Starter) which is completed in the same manner. Judge 2S qualifies you to start.
The Referee is the next step in the progress and you will be eligible once you are a certificated Starter. You Must be a Starter for at least 1 year with a minimum of 10 hours post qualification experience in that role at the time of application.
Training takes almost 1 year and at the end there is a written examination and a final assessment before you are certificated as a Referee. Your qualifications achieved will allow you to officiate at events throughout Scotland, England and Wales as the courses are the same in all of the home countries.
Training is also available for a Recorder Examination and for AOE Operator which is by assessment. If you would like to find out more information about becoming a swimming technical official, please get in touch with our STO training coordinator.