Officials Training and Development

Everyone working on poolside at all events organised by Swim England East Region are volunteers.  Officials for all of our sports are essential to well-run, high quality competitions for our athletes.

Volunteers make a huge contribution to aquatics in the Region. Everything that happens in our sport happens because of volunteers at some point.

We encourage athletes, parents and fans to get involved with our sport, not just as spectators but as volunteers with clubs, helping us run events with your technical expertise or by training to become an official.

Volunteering is a rewarding experience, benefiting everyone involved. It builds upon life skills, work skills, confidence and has a positive impact on both the sport and the volunteer.

Swim England has announced changes to Swimming Judge Level 1 training from January 2020, please read this document before you apply for a Judge Level 1 course.


March 2021 see the launch of a national diving judges course.

The Region runs an annual Judge Development Seminar to allow new judges to be trained.  The course involves a theoretical exam at the end and those that pass will then be added to the ‘B list’ of Regional officials and will be invited to officiate at Regional events.

The ‘A list’ comprises more experienced judges and referees. Officials can progress to the ‘A list’ at the discretion of the Official’s working group (a sub-group of the Regional Diving Committee).

Newly qualified judges will be mentored by other judges in the Region to ensure they are supported as they start their officiating journey. 

The Region also sends judges to the National Skills Finals, that are held annually, as a further development opportunity.

Interested in learning more about judging? Swim England Diving have launched and Introduction to Judging-Diving resource.


The scores achieved by each diver are recorded on software designed specifically for diving events.  Recorders’ courses are run on an ad-hoc basis and anyone interested in becoming a recorder should contact their club.

There are several different levels of open water officiating that could potentially lead to becoming an open water referee at an International event! 

Training courses in the Region can run with a minimum of three people at a location convenient to the participants. For the practical elements, many events (not all) will cover travel expenses to minimise the cost of training as an open water official.

Register your interest in training as an open water official, please complete the form below.  For updates on open water officiating, including officiating opportunities, please sign up to our mailing list.

Expression of Interest – Open Water Officiating

Judge Level 1 (OWJ1)
Age: 15 upwards
Training: Candidates must complete a theory course and practical assessment of duties (timekeeper, chief timekeeper, turn judge, feeding platform judge).

Judge Level 2 (OWJ2)
Age: 16 Upwards
Prerequisites: Already qualified as OWJ1 and have officiated at two or more events.
Training: Complete a theory course and practical assessment of duties (race judge, finish judge, course officer, clerk of the course, starter)

Open Water Referee
Age: 20 Upwards
Prerequisites: Already qualified as OWJ2 and have officiated at six or more events since completing OWJ2, one of which must have been in a different region or national venue. Candidates must be nominated by national or regional open water manager/officials co-ordinator.
Training: Mentored development, leading to completion of theory exam and practical assessment of duties.  Travel outside of home region to complete assessment will be required.

International Representation Pathway*
Prerequisites:  Qualified as a British Swimming Open Water Referee and have gained extensive experience as Referee and Chief Referee since qualifying at National and Regional events, with at least one preferably an open sea environment.  Must have received nomination from the sport governing body.
Training: Successfully complete FINA theory course and exam and receive offer to serve on the FINA list.

Swimming technical officials (STOs) are a central part of every swimming event and play an important role in ensuring the events run smoothly, safely and within the sport’s regulations.

Officials do not need to be experienced swimmers or have a competitive background. Everything that you need to know to work as an official is provided in the training programme. Training is standardised across the UK.

There are five levels of technical officials with each one a progression. For the latest information please visit the British Swimming Officials webpage.


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 followed by a practical assessment.

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).

Further details on how to enrol on a face to face timekeeper course please contact your local County Coordinator shown at the bottom of this section.

Timekeeper – Group Delivery (face to face/virtual) Updated July 21

The course costs £5.00 per person for up to a maximum of 15 candidates, with a minimum charge of £25 per course.

The club should contact the relevant County Coordinator to advise that they wish to run a group course.

Timekeeper Online Process (IOS)  £5 per person New Course

  1. Register or log in at
  2. Book course at 
  3. Upon completion download a copy of the certificate and then load it onto your profile at using the option Swimming Timekeeper Theory

If you have signed up to an IOS TK online course and are having problems getting into the course, you will need contact to the IoS direct. Please contact them by email –[email protected]

Judge Level 1 Course for Qualified Timekeepers (Inspector of Turns)

This online learning is the first step to achieving Judge 1 status for swimming technical officiating. It is accessible to anyone who wants to understand the FINA rules relating to swimming and the process of being a Judge Swimming Official. This course is designed for people who are already qualified as a Time Keeper. This course will show as no spaces available. To book this course, please contact Helen Akers who will provide you with a voucher code for £5.00 off the JL1 course fee [email protected] 

If you are not already qualified as a TimeKeeper please see Judge 1 below

Judge 1 Online Course (Inspector of Turns)

Monday 27th January 2020 saw 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 Swim England and the Institute of 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 is designed to allow volunteers to start the training at their own pace and to fit with all the other lifestyle commitments which we know our volunteers have.

Access to local support is available on request, with a dedicated new email address ([email protected]) to provide ongoing additional support as we seek to grow our number of qualified officials.

Once their theory training is complete and registered, candidates will be provided with local contacts to guide them through their practical assessments. Training resources have been updated, and clear guidance is now included on suggested timescales for completing each competence, with a time limit of 11 months being introduced.

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 enable them to apply to volunteer at all events up to and including National level.

  • The Judge One course (for non qualified timekeepers) can be accessed on the link below.
  • The Judge One course for officials already qualified as timekeeper can be accessed on the link below.

Click here for the links as described above

(If you have been provided with a voucher to access a closed course for your Region/County please ensure that you register using the link provided with the voucher and not the one above, which is for the national course.)

For details of changes to the course as it moves online please read our summary document here.If you have signed up to an IOS Judge Level 1 online course and are having problems getting into the course, you will need contact to the IoS direct. Please contact them by email –[email protected]

Swimming Official’s Regional Training Opportunities Judge Level 2/2S     Updated 15 April 2024 a Live Document

Counties within the Region are running a structured plan of virtual online training for all judge level 2/2S trainees, with planned dates throughout the year within the region. Training will be offered either by MS Teams or Zoom. The document below is a live document, it will be updated as and when new course dates become available.

Judge 2 (Stroke)

This is the second level of qualification. It encompasses the roles and duties of Judges of Stroke, FINA Laws of Stroke, the role and duties of Finish Judges. Practical experiences in relation to the judging of stroke and Finish 

The minimum age to start training is 16 years and candidates must have already qualified as Judge Level 1, with 20 hours post qualification experience as Judge 1 . The training follows a similar format to that of Judge level 1 with formal instruction and mentored pool side training. 

When qualified, candidates will be attributed with the qualification Judge Level 2 on the British Swimming Database.

Judge 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 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. There is no fee for this course as it was included in the Judge Level 2 application.

Refereeing Swimming – A Beginners Guide (online)


Refereeing Swimming – A Beginners Guide, has been designed to provide support and guidance for officials who may be requested to perform the duty of a Referee for small or local run competitions. 


It is important to note that completion of this module will not qualify you as a referee.

By completing this module, you will achieve the following learning outcomes –
Recognise and identify the duties of a referee at a swimming competition with regard to:
1.       The role of the referee
2.       The role of the referee with specific reference to Health and Safety
3.       Producing the race result (Manual and AOE)

The CPD is recognised by the IoS, you can book via the following link:     IoS Online Beginners Guide to Referring CPD.


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.

For more information concerning the BS Referee course which is administered by British Swimming click here 

Officials training is delivered through sub regions and counties, please contact your county co-ordinator for more information on local courses before applying.

David Metcalf is the Regional Swimming Officials’ Manager, David coordinates all applications for Timekeeper (TK) and Judge courses within the region. Once the applications have been processed with Swim England, the candidate’s details are forwarded onto the County Officials’ Coordinator to arrange a local course and contact the trainee. 

CountyCounty CoordinatorContact email address
BedfordshireLouise Mackie[email protected]
CambridgeshireSarah Nooteboom[email protected]
EssexJane Howell[email protected]
HertfordshireJonathan Pope[email protected]
NorfolkChris Galer[email protected]
SuffolkStephen (Podge) Christian[email protected]

In addition, you can access information on topics such as continuing professional development, officials’ licensing or additional qualifications from British Swimming.

Institute of Swimming

Online officials courses are now grouped together on the IoS at

British Para Swimming CPD for Technical Officials

The CPD is an introduction to officiating at events that include swimmers with a disability, aimed at swimming technical officials, Judge Level 1 or above. This CPD will give an overview of Functional Classification System, Terminology & Sport Class Overview including knowledge of World Para Swimming (WPS) rules and rule exceptions.

The CPD is free and attracts 3 points towards the renewal of the BS officials Licence.

If you want to find out more about becoming an artistic swimming judge, Swim England have released an Introduction to Judging – Artistic Swimming


There are three levels of judging for synchronised swimming.  Each requires attending a training course and passing an exam. 

Once qualified, judges must gain a year’s experience at that level before they can attend the course for the next level up.  Judges must also remain active by judging at a minimum of two grading days and/or competitions each year.  Judges must also attend a FINA update every four years.

The Region run Level 1 and Level 2 courses annually and there are multiple grading days and competitions in the region for judges to gain experience.


Competitions require multiple scorers to process marks awarded by the judges for both figures and routines.  Courses are run on an ad-hoc basis and anyone interested in becoming a scorer should contact their club.

Clerks and Callers 

These roles require no technical knowledge of synchronised swimming but are essential to the smooth running of competitions.  Clerks organise swimmers to ensure they enter the water in the correct order and Callers sit with scorers to read out the marks awarded by the judges.



There are six levels of referee in water polo. Each is a progression based on the experience of the referee from newly qualified to all the way through to international level.

Grade D courses are run over two days and once passed, referees will need to be mentored by qualified referees to then be signed off as a Grade D referee.

The Region run introductory opportunities for people to learn more about refereeing before committing to a course.  If you would like to find out more, please contact your club to express your interest in refereeing.

Table Officials

The role of a table official is to act as timekeeper and match secretary, keeping track of the score, time outs, possession time, etc.

The Region run ad-hoc courses for table officials and there are also opportunities to gain experience before you attend a course. Interested? Try the online Table Officials resource first!  If you are interested in becoming a table official, please express your interest to your club who will be able to find appropriate training for you. 

Contemporary Issues

The Institute of Swimming have introduced an on-line CPD for Contemporary Issues.

This is an online module aimed at technical officials from across Swimming, Water Polo, Synchronised Swimming, Diving and Open Water who would like to become a British Swimming Licensed official, or who would like to renew their license. Contemporary Issues is a condition of licensing and will up skill technical and educate technical officials in the following areas;

  1. Understand the need to abide by the British Swimming/Swim Englnad (ASA) Code of Ethics
  2. Identify procedures for safeguarding children
  3. Understand the meaning and embrace equality and diversity
  4. Understand health and safety considerations
  5. Raise awareness of the Aquatic structure and officiating pathways within each discipline.

Candidates will have to set themselves up a IOS account and login before completing the CPD.

The importance of Insurance

All clubs, promoters and competition organisers are reminded that, for insurance purposes, everyone on pool side, including all volunteers, team managers and coaches, must be registered members of an affiliated club or a member of the Institute of Swimming.