Swimming Technical Officials

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

A number of roles exist within officiating, including: 

  • Timekeeper

  • Judge 1

  • Judge 2

  • Judge 2S

  • Recorder

  • Referee

  • Automatic Officiating Equipment (AOE) Operator

A swimming competition can not run successfully without STOs. In order for a meet to be formally accredited, the following minimum number of STOs are required in a 6 lane pool like Westhill: 

  • 19 Timekeepers

  • 15 Judges

  • 2 Recorders

  • 2 Referees

  • 1 Starter

  • 1 Automatic Officiating Equipment (AOE) Operator

If the meet is not accredited, swimmers will not achieve accredited times which will then restrict them entering subsequent meets in the future, thus capping their potential.

It is of a major concern to us that there is currently a shortage of officials in the club. As our older swimmers decide to move on due to other commitments it means that the number of qualified officials is falling. We must be proactive in replacing these officials especially in our competitive squads. We would therefore request that at least one parent from each family be qualified as a STO official or volunteer to help out when WDASC organise meets at the pool.

Your understanding and support in this matter is much appreciated as we endeavour to sustain our strong position within the North District and continue to progress the club for the benefit of both our current and future swimmers.

How to become a Technical Offical

If you are aged 14 years or over, with an interest in swimming - or the enthusiasm to learn! - then you have already taken the first step to becoming a Swimming Technical Official (STO).

First, you must be a member of Scottish Swimming so that you are insured to be an STO on the poolside. If you are not already a member of the club then please contact our Membership Secretary at membership@westhilldistrictasc.org.uk. Westhill District ASC will pay this annual subscription for as long as you continue to take an active role in the club.


The first step on the STO ladder is to become a Timekeeper. Regular Timekeeper training courses are held throughout the year and organised by our STO Coordinator (Steve Robertson). A minimum number of eight people are required for each course which consists of a lecture followed by practical experience/assessment of timekeeping on the poolside. The course only takes 3 hours to complete. Once the assessment is successfully completed you can officiate on the poolside at any event. To date nobody has ever failed!

Judge 1

Once you have reached the age of 16 you are then eligible to become a Judge 1. This again involves you applying to our STO Coordinator who will advise you of a course start date which will include workshop sessions. These again are held regularly throughout the year and consist of three 2 hour workshops and practical training on poolside with a mentor. There is no examination at the end of the course just a final assessment. Judge 1 qualifies you to be a Timekeeper and also a Turn Judge.

Judge 2

Once you have completed this you are then eligible to continue to Judge 2 which is completed in the same manner. Judge 2 qualifies you to judge Stroke and Finish.

Judge 2S

Once you have completed this you are then eligible to continue to Judge 2S (Starter) which is completed in the same manner. Judge 2S qualifies you to Start.


The Referee is the next step in the progress and you will be eligible once you are a certificated Starter. Training takes almost 1 year and at the end there is a written examination and a final assessment before you are certificated as a Referee.

Your qualifications achieved will allow you to officiate at events throughout Scotland, England and Wales as the courses are the same in all of the home countries.

Training is also available for a Recorder Examination and for AOE Operator which is by assessment.

Visit the Scottish Swimming website for more information or speak to any committee member.

Technical Official Documents & Dress Code

Some useful British Swimming STO Training documents are available here for downloading.

These documents and further documents can be accessed on the Scottish Swimming website in the downloads section.

STOs are required to wear the following poolside uniform for all competitive swimming events:


  • White open-necked short sleeved shirt

  • White trousers  NO SHORTS

  • White poolside shoes and white socks


  • White dress or white blouse and skirt or trousers

  • White poolside shoes