Click the following link to download, view and store the PDF version of the information on this page: How to become an official
Below are the seven easy steps to becoming a USA Swimming official in North Carolina. This document is intended walk a brand new official candidate through an overview of the process of becoming a North Carolina Swimming Official. Details are explained in the clinic and while apprenticing.
Benefits of Becoming a Swimming Official for North Carolina Swimming
- Help support an excellent sport and promote a healthy lifestyle for children.
- Gain a more thorough understanding of swimming in particular, and sports in general.
- Get closer to the action; know what’s happening on deck with the “best seat” in the pool.
- Get mentally and physically engaged during the meet rather than merely “spectating.”
- Meet volunteering obligations, make new friends and enjoy the FREE hospitality.
Once you have decided to be a Stroke & Turn Judge or an Administrative Official, follow these steps:
Step 1: Attend a NCS Stroke & Turn Clinic or Administrative Official Clinic
Clinics are held periodically across NC and schedules available on the NCS website https://swimnc.com/. They are FREE and with no obligation other than your time (typically two hours). In the clinic, the Steps 2-6 below will be reviewed in detail, as well as a thorough rule review. If you do not see a clinic offered, please contact either a referee from your club or the NCS Officials Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not attend a clinic in another state (LSC) without prior agreement from the Officials Chair from both states.
Step 2: Try it out on Deck (within the first 60 days after your clinic)
- At your clinic, you will be given an On Deck Training Record which you should always have with you
- We want you to come out to a meet and give this a test drive
- You will be allowed to be on deck as an apprentice for 2 sessions before registration
- There is no requirement to “BE AN EXPERT” after attending a clinic
- You will be assigned a mentor while on deck to review rules and the flow of activity on deck
- We know this can be intimidating, please remember, all officials started as apprentices
- Although not required, we recommend you notify the Meet Referee if you would like to attend a meet
- The Meet Referee’s contact information can be found in the sanctioned meet information
- Access https://swimnc.com/category/meets/ for info on sanctioned meets
- The recommended uniform is a white shirt, navy blue shorts, skort, skirt, or long pants, and white shoes
- Always check the meet information for any meet specific uniforms
Step 3: On Deck Training
You will need to be mentored on deck during swim sessions. The requirements are below:
|POSITION||# TRAINING SESSIONS||MIN # OF MEETS||MIN # OF TRAINERS|
|Stroke & Turn||6||2||2|
*Training must be with an AR or AO with more than 6 sessions in previous year
Before completing your training or within 60 days of your clinic – whichever is first, you must complete:
- (1) Registration
- (2) Background Check
- (3) Athlete Protection Course
- (4) Concussion Protocol Training
To document that you have completed these (highlighted), please print your Membership Card from the USA Swimming Officials Tracking System
(see step 6 below)
NOTE: Except for Concussion Protocol Training this info is available on the USA Swimming “DECK PASS” app.
Step 4A: USA Swimming Non‐Athlete Memberships
You must become a member of USA Swimming using the form from the NC Swimming Website.
- The Non-Athlete application form is located on https://swimnc.com/registration-forms-and-documents/
- Mail the completed form and payment to:
- Registrar, NC Swimming PO Box 30863 Charlotte, NC 28230
- OR…It can be sent to your club administrator
- NOTE: Several clubs reimburse for officials’ registration
Step 4B: Create a USA Swimming Account
- Once you have completed the Registration form process (4A), wait approximately two weeks
- Create a UNIQUE independent account for yourself with USA Swimming https://www.usaswimming.org/
- Use your OWN email not your swimmer. The account should be different from family/swimmer.
- Make sure you link this account to your registration records…as described below
- Please use the same e-mail that you indicated on your registration form (helpful & very important).
- This is used to track activities in NC Swimming and USA Swimming in the Officials Tracking System (OTS).
- The meets you attend, tests you take, evaluations you complete & educational and mentoring events.
- To begin, select SIGN IN. Then REGISTER by choosing the SIGN UP box right side of the screen.
Next – link your USA Swimming website ID to your USA Membership record. To do this: SIGN IN, choose MY ACCOUNT and Select ‘Link My Account to USA Swimming Membership’.
Step 4C: Background Check
As part of the USA Swimming Safe Sport Program, all officials and trainees are required to undertake a Level 2 background check using the https://www.usaswimming.org/background-checks website. You need to have this completed within 60 days of the completion of the clinic – it takes about 15 minutes. There is a cost to complete this step and it is required every 24 months. You will receive e‐mails of confirmation and results are available. Do not send these results to NCS – they will receive notification directly. Be aware, in the months of November & December, results may take longer. If you do not renew within 30 days of its expiration, you will need to complete a new member background check.
Step 4D: Complete your Athlete Protection Training
Once you are a non-athlete member of USA Swimming, you will need to take the FREE USA Swimming Athlete Protection Course for Coaches and Non‐Athlete Members. This one‐hour online tutorial can be taken before or after your on-deck training sessions, but cannot be taken until you are registered with USA Swimming. The explanation and training can be found on the USA Swimming Athlete Protection Training site: https://www.usaswimming.org/utility/landing-pages/safe-sport/apt . Fill in your name and birth date, select Locate. If you are registered with USA Swimming, you will receive a response to your request. If you are not in the list, please wait a few more days and try again. If you fail a second time, please contact NCS Registrar via e-mail at email@example.com to check on your registration.
Step 4E: Complete your Concussion Protocol Training
For USA Swimming membership, officials must successfully complete concussion and head injury education at least once. Individual states may require annual or continuing education and officials must abide by the requirements of their home state or states in which they officiate. Here are the links to popular courses
Once complete, a proof of training should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org in order for it to show on your deck pass. Q&A about this requirement can be found at:
Step 5: Online Test
In addition to on deck training sessions, you will need to take an online open book certification test. You can access the current year online rule book by going here: https://www.usaswimming.org/rulebook
The test is designed to help you understand the rules, and know where they are located in the rule book. It will some time to complete so be patient and use the book search capability. As a new official, you will need to take either the Certification ‐‐ Stroke and Turn/Timer test or the Certification – Administrative Official test. It is recommended that the test be taken prior to or in close proximity to your third and fourth training session. You will need to complete Steps 4A through 4D before taking the test.
The test(s) can be found at:
Read the instructions carefully. You can begin by choosing the START OR RESUME AN ONLINE TEST – CLICK HERE area at the bottom of the page. HINT: You can print your test (hard-copy) and save it. Then work on the test off line with the rule book. Once complete re-enter your test answers in your saved copy. There is not a time limit on taking the test.
Step 6: Credentials & Contact Training Coordinator
Once you complete Steps 4A through 4D AND Step 5, please e-mail the NCS Training Coordinator at email@example.com Inform the Coordinator you are a new apprenticing official and you have completed all of steps. The coordinator will create and update your new NCS Certification Card.
Go to https://www.usaswimming.org/deck-pass and you will your status and a selection to view/print your card. It is best to carry it with you when on deck – you can also use the (Apple or Android) DECK PASS app.
This card shows your level of certification (or training) within North Carolina Swimming and any certifications at the USA Swimming National level. It also shows the expiration date of your background check, annual USA Swimming registration, and status of your Athlete Protection Training. You will be asked to show your paper or APP credential when you first check-in to a meet.
Step 7: Certification
When you have completed all of the steps above: USA Swimming Registration – Background Check – Athlete Protection Course – Certification Test – On Deck Training Sessions
Please scan and e-mail your completed training form to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your current mailing address as you will receive a nametag in approximately 4 -6 weeks. You will also receive an email from USA Swimming stating your certification. Anytime your certifications, training, or expiration dates revise/update, you should reprint your card from your Deck Pass. It is acceptable to have access to your Deck pass via a smart device; however, some meets may expect the card to be displayed as verification to be on deck during sessions.