Judge level 1

Judge level 1

This is the first level of British qualification for which the minimum age is 15. The Judge Level 1 (J1) role encompasses:


You record the time the swimmer takes to complete the race using a stopwatch and record it on the heat sheets.  If the meet is working with Automatic Officiating Equipment (AOE) i.e. electronics then there will also be a secondary ‘back-up’ button that you need to push when the swimmer completes the race.  If the meet is using manual times the Chief Timekeeper will collect the time sheets for each event.

Chief Timekeeper

to ensure the timekeepers perform their role. If the meet is manual (i.e. not electronic – AOE) they collect the time sheets from the timekeeper after each event and work out the finishing times for the swimmers based on the order of the finish in agreement with the referee.

Inspector of Turns

As a J1 you are also expected to be responsible for looking at the swimmers turns and finishes.  Do not worry – you cannot disqualify a swimmer, all you do is report an infringement if you see it to the Referee or Chief Inspector of Turns. The only person who can disqualify a swimmer is the Referee.  If you only “think” you saw an infringement then you must give the swimmer the benefit of doubt. This part of J1 requires knowledge of the rules relating to the turn and finish for each stroke but this is where the mentoring will help since you will be attending meets and placed with more experienced officials who will ask questions and explain what you should be looking for.

Chief Inspector of Turns

Is the link between the Inspector of Turns (J1) and the Referee.  Takes the report from the time keeper to the referee.

Relay take-Off Judge

Another role that J1s are expected to do is to watch the take-over when the incoming swimmer touches and the swimmer on the blocks dives in. If you see an infringement you report it to the Chief Inspector of Turns/Referee. Again, training is given in the rules operating for this element of the race.

If you are keen to volunteer for any of these roles or require more information please contact Thelma Hawkings at thelmah@wcpsc.org.uk


At any swimming meet there are a range of different people involved in running the competition. A key distinction is between technical and non-technical officials. Technical official are the people in white who are responsible for ensuring that the rules of swimming are upheld and that all swimmers have the opportunity to compete fairly in whatever events they swim.  At any meet there are a range of different officials including referee(s), starter, judges (stroke, finish and turns) and timekeepers. We need at least 20 officials across the different levels of qualification to run a meet!


As a ‘swimming parent’ you spend a lot of time attending swimming meets. Becoming an official gives you an insight into how swimming meets work, provides you with something to do when son/daughter isn’t swimming and is a great source of free sweeties. From the Club’s perspective, we need a pool of officials inside the club so that we can run our own meets. You do not have to officiate at other club’s meets if you don’t want to. But to become a fully qualified official you will need to have attended at least a couple of other meets (that can be when your child is swimming) to gain a full range of experience.


In order to become an official, you need to attend an induction session and then complete a series of practical sessions (at meets /galas when your child is competing), record experience in a workbook – focusing upon the duties associated with the qualification being worked towards. Apart from the Referee course there are no written exams.

There are 4 grades of officials as follows:

(a) Judge level 1

(b) Judge level 2

(c) Judge level 2 & starter

(d) Referee

No prior knowledge of swimming rules is assumed at the start of training to become an official. All you need is a clipboard, a stopwatch, a pen and an enthusiasm for swimming. You will be mentored during you first few times as an official so you will fully be supported until you are confident in the role. If you are interested we can arrange for you to work shadow an official at an event to see if you would like to volunteer as an official.