British Swimming Officials

All Licenced swimming events require minimum numbers of qualified Officials in attendance.  A British Swimming Official is a voluntary role and we are always keen to recruit more Officials into the Club to ensure that we have enough Officials for our events remain Licenced - the importance of this being that any unlicensed swims will not be recorded with Swim England, so the swimmers' times cannot be used to enter certain competitions.

To become an Official, you do not need any prior experience, or swimming knowledge.  This page details the levels of qualification and extent of training required for each.  If you are interested in getting involved, or have any questions that are not answered below, do This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - please don't wait to be asked.

England, Scotland and Wales are in alignment over the training of swimming Officials. This means training is standardised across the UK.  All three Home Countries now use FINA Technical Rules and, as such, trained Officials are listed as British Swimming Officials.  Below is a description of the various training available.


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, which can be delivered face to face or undertaken online, followed by a demonstration of practical competence.

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

The minimum age to start the Judge Level 1 training is 15 years.  With the theory element of this training being online this allows volunteers to start the training at their own pace and to fit with all the other lifestyle commitments volunteers have. 

Once theory training is complete (around 6-8 hours) and registered, candidates will then start their poolside training and practical assessments. Training resources include suggested timescales for completing each competence, with a time limit of 11 months to complete the Judge Level 1 course.

Upon completion of all Judge 1 training, individuals will automatically be issued with their first licence, which will be valid for 4 years, which then enables them to apply to volunteer at all events up to and including National level.

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 a have already qualified as Judge Level 1 and undertaken a minimum of 20 hours post-qualification poolside work in the role of a Judge 1.  The training is made up of instruction on the theoretical aspects of the role and mentored pool side training with a workbook, which allows the candidate to demonstrate practical competence prior to qualification.

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 face-to-face theory session followed by 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 usually be submitted by 31 December of the previous year to allow sufficient time for completion of training in preparation for the November examination.