Swimming officials

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 training available.

The importance of insurance

All clubs, promoters and competition organisers are reminded that, for insurance purposes, all those officiating on poolside at any competition must be registered members of a British Swimming affiliated club or a member of the Institute of Swimming.

Swim England Cambridgeshire

Swimming Officials Handbook

Contact: County Officials Coordinator 

FINA rules

The full version of the new rules for 2017 – 2021 covering all disciplines, including an explanation of the changes and associated interpretations for swimming is available.

Keep up to date

British Swimming interpretation of rules (14.01.2020)

Becoming a Swimming Technical Official

New Judge Level 1 Online Course for Swimming Technical Officials

British Swimming have announced from Monday 27 January 2020, the launch of the new online theory modules for the training of the pool Judge 1 technical officials. This brings to a close a considerable amount of work in partnership with British Swimming to ensure we are delivering a quality product to our volunteers.

Whilst the content of the training remains largely unchanged, the move to an online format will allow trainees to undertake the training at their own pace and to fit with all the other lifestyle commitments which we know our volunteers have.

Following a period of development and testing, supported by the Institute of Swimming, the course will form part of the British Swimming portfolio of officials’ training and will be delivered in the same format by all of the Home Countries, ensuring consistency of experience for all candidates.

Face to face delivery of the theory training will be replaced by access to individual support on request, with a dedicated new central email address being set up – swimmingofficials@swimming.org . Any queries that require local resolution will then be forwarded to the appropriate party.

Poolside training can only commence once all online modules have been completed, with the exception of the Timekeeper assessment which can be undertaken at any time after completion of the Timekeeper and Chief Timekeeper modules. Completion of these modules can be evidenced by a screenshot.

Upon completion of all online modules, candidates will be prompted to upload their certificate and a photograph onto swimmingresults.org, which will trigger the central despatch of the redesigned training resources. This will include a log book folder, a Judge 1 training record and a copy of the FINA Rules extracts. Notification will be sent to Regional and/or County Officials’ Coordinators to allow candidates to be provided with local contacts to guide them through their practical training.

Trainees will be required to undertake a minimum of 15 hours mentored poolside experience and in England this must include a minimum of three hours at Levels 1 or 2 AND a minimum of 3 hours at Levels 3 or 4. The remaining hours should be spread over a variety of levels of meet, which can include club training sessions. Guidance has been provided by British Swimming on suggested timescales for completing each competence, with an overall time limit of 11 months for completion being introduced.

Only a Technical Swimming Official qualified to at least Judge 1 level can carry out mentoring and only a licensed Referee can sign off the candidate as being competent or evidence them not being competent.

Judge 1 candidates will also need to complete the Contemporary Issues CPD course, either online or face to face.

Upon completion of all Judge 1 training, local organisers will need to notify their Regional Officials Coordinator, who will then verify that all elements have been completed. There will no longer be a final poolside assessment as trainees will have already been judged to be competent in all areas.

Following verification individuals will automatically be issued with a certificate, additional inserts for their logbook and their first licence, which will be valid for 4 years.

After qualifying as a Judge 1, individuals will be required carry out a MINIMUM of 20 hours in the role before progression onto Judge 2.


  1. Minimum age to commence training is still 15 years old.
  2. Upfront fee of £20 (training and licence fee combined) – various payment processes are available, subject to local agreement.
  3. Online theory modules must be completed in full prior to commencement of any poolside work (with the exception of the Timekeeper assessment which can be carried out after completion of the Timekeeper and Chief Timekeeper modules).
  4. Trainees must be a Swim England/Swim Wales/Scottish Swimming member before commencing work on poolside.
  5. Final Poolside Assessment has been removed.
  6. Local processes will need to be in place to ensure support of trainees and timely verification of completion of training.
  7. All trainees will become licensed officials at the end of the process.
  8. 11 months to complete the training from date of completion of online modules.

Professional development for swimming officials

Use this British Swimming guide to learn more about Officials Qualifications.

In order to ensure licenses remain valid and to meet the demands of continuing professional development (CPD), courses are run throughout the year for Technical Officials. For the latest opportunities read on.

The list of courses below has been created to assist Technical Officials in locating courses to meet the criteria required in association with their development, as well as maintaining the currency of their licence. The relevant courses are as follows:

  • Contemporary Issues: Officials Awareness Module – [M5]
  • FINA Rules update – [M6]
  • Disability: British Swimming Disability Course for Officials
  • Mentoring Course

Useful documents

Swim England technical rules, FINA rules and World Para Swimming rules can be accessed through the links below.  

Training opportunities 

Contemporary Issues: Officials Awareness module is now available online, as an alternative to a face to face workshop, to improve accessibility. This course is administered by the IoS and instructions on how to access it can be found here. This is an accredited CPD which, when completed, will count for renewal of your officials’ licence.

FINA update – November 2020 – venue tbc.

Swim England East Region run a variety of training opportunities for technical officials.