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?
STEP 1: TIMEKEEPER. Minimum age 14
Firstly, all officials must be a member of Scottish Swimming so that they are insured for their 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 newly qualified timekeepers can officiate on the poolside at any event.
STEP 2: JUDGE 1. Minimum age 16
Candidates over the age of 16 are eligible to become a Judge 1. This involves applying to District STO Convenor who will advise potential candidates of a course start date which will include workshop dates. Material for the course is in the form of a workbook. 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 the holder to be a Timekeeper and be a Turn Judge.
STEP 3: JUDGE 2.
Those who have completed the previous steps are eligible to continue to Judge 2. Judge 2 qualifies the candidate to Judge stroke and finish. The candidates who have completed the training and have done 20 hours post qualification as a Judge 2 are eligible to continue to Judge 2S (Starter) which is completed in the same manner. Judge 2S qualifies you to start.
STEP 4: REFEREE
The Referee is the next step in the progression and the candidattes will be eligible once they have achieved the qualification of certificated Starter. The candidate 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. The qualifications achieved will allow the candidates 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 via