U.S. Masters Swimming certifies swimming officials to work USMS-sanctioned meets. Officials certification is open to anyone 18 years of age or older. USMS also honors officiating certifications from other swimming bodies, currently including USA Swimming, NCAA, NFHS (high school), or YMCA. For open water safety and referee training information, please visit the Open Water Certification Programs page.

Membership in USMS is recommended and preferred, but not required, for certification as a USMS Stroke & Turn official or Starter. USMS membership is required to achieve and maintain certification as a USMS Referee.

We use the videos and online testing system created by USA Swimming for certification training and testing. You will need to create an account on the USA Swimming web site in order to take the certification test(s) although you do not need to be a member of USA Swimming. We are using another online testing site for the USMS Officials Supplemental Exam, required for Stroke & Turn and Referee certification and for Re-certification at all levels.

Please direct any questions or suggestions about USMS Officials Certification to the Officials Committee Chair.

How to Become an Official

Some LMSCs may recommend or require additional steps in the training of their officials. You may wish to contact your LMSC Officials Chair for further information.

Stroke & Turn Official
  1. Review the following six USA Swimming training videos:
    1. Freestyle
    2. Backstroke
    3. Breaststroke
    4. Butterfly
    5. Individual medley
    6. Relays
  2. Take and pass (with 80% correct) the “Certification – Stroke & Turn/Timer” online test. Test results are emailed by USA Swimming. Once received, forward to the USMS Officials Committee Chair.
  3. Take and pass (with 80% correct) the “USMS Officials Supplemental exam” online test. The test score is shown immediately but no email is sent. Note your score and include it in your email forwarding the Stroke & Turn test score.
  4. Credentials are emailed by the USMS Officials committee upon receipt of your test results.
  5. Certification expires on December 31st of the 4th year of certification.
Starter
  1. Previously be certified by USMS as a Stroke & Turn Official. There is no minimum length of time as a certified Stroke &Turn Official required before an individual can become a starter.
  2. Review "The Start: Philosophy and Protocol" training video
  3. Take and pass (with 80% correct) the “Certification – Starter” online test.
  4. Results are emailed by USA Swimming. Once received, forward them to the USMS Officials Committee Chair. Credentials are emailed by the USMS Officials committee upon receipt of your test results.
  5. Certification expires on December 31st of the 4th year of certification.

Note: Certification as a Starter automatically renews your certification as a Stroke & Turn Official.

Referee
  1. Previously certified by USMS as a Stroke & Turn and Starter.
  2. Minimum 4 Sessions as a Starter at USMS meets.
  3. Join and maintain USMS Membership.
  4. Review and study the USMS Referee Self-Training Guide
  5. Take and pass (with 80% correct) three tests:
    1. USA Swimming Referee online test
    2. USA Swimming Timing Judge online test
    3. USMS Supplemental test online test
  6. Referee and Timing Judge Test results are emailed by USA Swimming. Once received, forward them to the USMS Officials Committee Chair. Note: the USMS Supplemental test score is shown immediately but no email is sent. Note your score and include it in your email to the USMS Officials Committee Chair.
  7. Referee Novice Credentials are emailed from the USMS Officials Committee. Work with your LMSC Officials Chair for minimum 2 mentored Referee deck sessions at USMS meets. Once training is complete, the LMSC Officials Chair will request Referee Certification by contacting the USMS Officials Committee Chair. Based on prior experience, the Novice sessions requirement may be waived by the LMSC Officials Chair or the USMS Officials Committee.
  8. Credentials are emailed by the USMS Officials committee after recommendation is received.
  9. Certification expires on December 31st of the 4thnyear of certification.

Note: Certification as a Referee automatically renews your certification as Stroke & Turn and Starter.

Re-certification

All officials need to keep track of their sessions worked.

Stroke and Turn Official
  • Stroke & Turn Officials who have worked four or more sessions within their current certification period may take both the test “Re-certification – Stroke & Turn/Timer” on the USA Swimming website and the USMS Supplemental online test for re-certification.
  • Officials who have worked three or less sessions within the current certification period must take the “Certification – Stroke & Turn/Timer” and the USMS Supplemental online test for re-certification.
Starter
  • Starters who have worked 4 or more sessions within their current certification period (minimum of 1 as Starter) may take the tests “Recertification – Starter”, “Re-certification – Stroke &Turn/Timer” on the USA Swimming site and the USMS Supplemental online test for re-certification.
  • Starters who have worked 3 or less sessions within their current certification period must take the “Certification – Starter”, “Re-certification – Stroke & Turn/Timer” and the USMS Supplemental online test for re-certification.
Referee
  • Referees who have worked 4 or more sessions within their current certification period (minimum of 1 as Deck or Meet Referee) may take the tests “Recertification – Referee” on the USA Swimming site and the current USMS Supplemental online test.
  • Referees who have worked 3 or less sessions within their current certification period must take the “Certification – Referee”, “Re-certification – Timing Judge” tests on the USA Swimming site and the current USMS Supplemental online test for re-certification.

Note: Working 4 or more sessions at a National Championship meet and attending the briefings for each session will automatically renew your USMS Officiating credentials. Please direct any questions or suggestions about USMS Officials Certification to the Officials Committee Chair.

USMS Certifications for Current USA, YMCA, NCAA or NFHS Swimming Officials

USMS provides a simplified path for currently certified officials from USA, YMCA, NCAA, and NFHS to receive USMS Certification and Re-certification.

Stroke & Turn Official
  1. Take the USMS Supplemental online test. The test score is shown immediately but no email is sent to you. Note the score and email it to the USMS Officials Committee Chair. Include your current USA/YMCA/NCAA/NFHS Credentials and expiration dates.
  2. Credentials are emailed by the USMS Officials committee and expire on December 31st of the 4th year of certification.
     
Starter
  1. Take the USMS Supplemental online test. The test score is shown immediately but no email is sent to you. Note your score and email it to the USMS Officials Committee Chair. Include your current USA/YMCA/NCAA/NFHS Credentials and expiration dates.
  2. Credentials are emailed by the USMS Officials committee and expire on December 31st of the 4th year of certification.
 
Referee
  1. Take the USMS Supplemental online test. The test score is shown immediately but no email is sent to you. Note your score and email it to the USMS Officials Committee Chair. Include your current USA/YMCA/NCAA/NFHS Credentials and expiration dates.
  2. Join and maintain USMS Membership.
  3. Receive recommendation from your LMSC Officials Chair.
  4. Credentials are emailed by the USMS Officials committee and expire on December 31st of the 4th year of certification.
Re-certification
  1. Take the USMS Supplemental online test. The test score is shown immediately but no email is sent to you. Note your score and email it to the USMS Officials Committee Chair.
  2. Include a list of the USMS sanctioned meets worked since your last certification.
  3. Credentials are emailed by the USMS Officials committee and expire on December 31st of the 4th year of certification.