Welcome to our Officials Pages.
This is the place to visit if you would like to find out more about our registered officials and to find out some information about how to take part in the formal training to become a registered club official.
A swimming club like Kingsbury Aquarius is built on a dedicated team of volunteers, officials, teachers and coaches. Our officials are parents, guardians, grandparents, senior swimmers and even parents whose children have long left the club!
Who are officials?
You may have noticed that there are always lots of people dressed in white (with rather important clipboards) at swimming meets. These are the officials. There are several levels of official, ranging from J1 upwards to the referees. The J1 officials are situated at both ends of the pool. If you are at the finish end of the pool, then your job is to time keep (using your stop watch and pressing the button which is attached to the timing system) and to check that the swimmer in your lane starts the race according to FINA rules. The J1 officials at the other end of the pool check that the turns (and the swimming leading up to the turns) are done according to the rules. That’s really it, in a nutshell.
Why do we need to have trained officials as part of our club?
All swim meets require a license. To obtain this license, each meet needs to have a specified number of qualified officials to cover the various roles. Each meet is required to have about 22 qualified officials (trainees don’t count in the licence numbers). As a club, we are asked to provide officials, ideally 1 for every 10 swimmers, when we compete at away meets, county and regional championships. I’m sure that you’ve realised by now, that our officials are vital for our swimmers to be able to put all their hard training into practice at our home and away meets.
How do I train to be an official?
If you are 15 years of age or older, we are very pleased to let you all know that it is now possible to train as a J1 official online. We are always in need of officials and we would like to encourage as many of you as possible to take advantage of this opportunity. We need officials for our own meets and it is a requirement that we provide a certain number of officials for other meets that we take part in - so it's really important. Many of our officials are the parents of older children, so we would really love it if some parents of younger children did the training. It doesn't take up too much time and of course it's now much easier with the online modules.
Before you commence your training you will need to register with the ASA via our membership secretary ([email protected]) and begin your individual DBS check.
Here's a quick summary of the training process:
- Complete the online training modules. Once you have completed the online training you will be given details of a tutor/mentor who will guide you through the practical phase of the training.
- Volunteer to officiate as a trainee at meets. Complete a minimum of 15 hours mentored poolside experience - trainees are allocated a mentor who will be able to share their experience with you and answer any questions that you will have. Don’t forget to take your training book with you to get your competencies signed off by the referee.
- Keep your mentor up to date with you progress so they can complete your final sign off once all your competencies are signed off.
- Upon completion of the course you will be issued with a certificate and you will need to send a photograph to ASA licensing before your license and log book can be issued.
Once completed you will receive a log book, a J1 training record and excerpts of relevant FINA rules.
You are now a qualified official!
Be assured that the club will support you every step of the way.
What are the benefits of becoming an official?
There are many bonuses of volunteering as an official, including the following:
- You learn more about your swimmer’s sport (imagine the technical conversations you can have over the dinner table!)
- You don’t have to pay to get into a swimming meet if you are officiating and you get ringside seats that the pool!
- If you are officiating for a whole day you often get your parking paid for, lunch and occasionally a bottle of wine!
- You get a sense of pride from helping support your swimmer and the club
- You meet lots of new people
- Plus, you get to operate a stop-watch and carry a clipboard (what's not to like?)
- You can add this impressive qualification and volunteering to your CV!
I'm interested but I have questions.....
Speak to Eleanor, our workforce co-ordinator if you have any questions about this new online course (her email address is: [email protected]) If you just want to know what it's like being an official, then ask any of the current officials - if you don't know who they are, just ask someone to point them out to you. They will be delighted to have a chat and answer any questions that you may have.
You can find lots of useful information on the British Swimming website.