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Referee Certification

Certification Requirements

updated 09/2023

  1. Age - 21 years or older
  2. Prior to beginning training, have been a certified Stroke & Turn Judge or Starter for at least one year. Working a minimum of 7 sessions as a certified Starter and 7 sessions as a certified Chief Judge are required before an invitation will be issued or before an individual may apply. It is recommended that the candidate has worked a minimum of 25 sessions during the previous year (12 months) to be eligible.
  3. Receive an invitation by the Officials Committee with verification that the pre-referee requirements (listed above) have been met before invitation. Applicants may also apply to begin referee training (and the application will be considered at an Officials Committee meeting prior to a new referee training session).
  4. Register as a USA Swimming Official
    (must be a registered USA Swimming Official in good standing before beginning on-deck apprentice sessions)
  5. Attend a special PVS Officials Clinic for First Time Referees and a PVS Referee Clinic
  6. Serve on-deck as an apprentice with at least two different PVS certified Referees (each of whom has been certified for at least one year by PVS and worked a minimum of six deck referee sessions). Train at a minimum or six (6) different apprentice sessions at a minimum of three different PVS-sanctioned non-Officials Qualifying meets*. Up to two apprentice sessions may be at non-PVS USA-S meets but must train with a PVS mentor.
  7. If not already certified as a Hy-Tek Operator, Colorado Timing System Operator or Administrative Official, work at least two familiarization sessions in each of those positions. Note: if Hy-Tek certified, only two ETS observation sessions are required.
  8. Perform to the satisfaction of the Referee and have such performance reported to PVS on the PVS Referee Evaluation Form.
  9. Pass the USA Swimming officials tests for Certifying Referee, Administrative Referee, Clerk of Course and Timing Judge and Recertifying Stroke and Turn Judge with a combined grade of at least 90%.
  10. Be favorably observed at the last apprentice session by a designated PVS evaluator. Prior to setting up the evaluation session, the apprentice must submit the PVS Officials Evaluation Readiness Request Form to the PVS Certification Officer to ensure that all pre-evaluation requirements have been met and receive confirmation back. The evaluation must be performed at a session using radios. The evaluation will be recorded on the Referee Evaluation Form.
  11. Complete certification requirement within one year from the date of Referee clinic.
  12. Certification is good until the December 31 following two years after the date of issuance.

Recertification Requirements

  1. Previously certified by PVS, the YMCA or another USA Swimming Local Swim Committee (LSC) as a Referee
  2. 2.If from another LSC or the YMCA, fulfill all relevant requirements of the PVS Officials' Transfer Policy
  3. Work at least seven sessions per year at PVS-sanctioned meets, six as starter or referee with at least one session as a Referee, and at least one as a Stroke & Turn Judge. Of the total session worked per year in all positions, a minimum of four must be at PVS-sanctioned non-Officials Qualifying meets.
  4. Attend a PVS conducted Referee Clinic at least once every two years
  5. Pass once every two years the USA Swimming Referee and Stroke and Turn Judge Tests with a grade of at least 90%.
  6. Maintain valid USA Swimming registration
  7. Submit the online PVS Officials Recertification Request
  8. Recertification is good for two years after the date your prior certification expired. Recertification also renews SR, CJ, and S&T LSC certifications.

* Excludes observed and approved meets, such as high school, college, and masters competitions