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Officials

Niagara LSC Officials Contact Info (updated 7-18-2014)

Right click the link above to download the PDF file.
 
The file is a password protected PDF file containing currently registered USA Swimming Officials in the Niagara LSC. It does not reflect whether a given Official has taken or passed the required background check. The list is sorted by City/Town to ease searching for people in your area. Current certifications, where available, are listed on the far right (ST = Stroke&Turn, SR=Starter, and MR, DR, and AR=Referee). Only registered USA Officials in the Niagara LSC may have access to the information contained in this file. If you require access, please contact the Niagara Officials Chair or the Clinic Director in your area for the password.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Niagara LSC Officials' Clinic Directors

Jim Stromski - Officials' Chair  315-652-7521
 
Rich Wisniewski - Binghamton  607-239-1530      
 
Fred Leff - Syracuse 315-468-4531 
 
Sharlene Ransford - Rochester 585-267-7445
 
June Mundt - Buffalo 716-835-8544
 
Matty Matuszewski - Buffalo 716-698-2893
 
Ann Masood - Fredonia 716-679-1867
 
Pete Warren - Elmira 607-737-6121​
 
 

USA Swimming Membership Verification

USA Swimming requires that all participants are members of their LSC and USA Swimming. It is a requirement that coaches and officials display their USA Swimming membership while on deck at swim meets. The responsibility for checking credentials is foremost that of the meet director, then the referee. It is also a requirement that those without proper credentials be excluded from participation and not allowed on deck.

  • Meet directors must verify that all participating officials are current members of United States Swimming regardless of certification. 
  • All officials are required to wear their USA Swimming membership card at all times while on deck. This should be USA Swimming membership, not national or national championship certification, and should be readily visible.
  • Coaches must display their USA Swimming membership card while on deck.
  • Meet referee must check membership and certification of all working officials.
  • Any official not displaying current USA Swimming membership shall not be allowed to officiate.
  • Referee must also determine that all coaches display current USA Swimming membership.
  • A complete list of all working officials should be prepared by the meet director and forwarded to the local officials' chairperson immediately after the meet.
 

USA Swimming Background Check

All Officials are Non-Athlete members of USA Swimming and must undergo a background check before membership is granted as a part of USA Swimming's 'Safe Sport' program. Click this link to initiate the background check process.
 
 

Officials Attire

Officials shall wear white tops and navy blue bottoms. Denim cotton sweats, and seriously faded blue bottoms are unacceptable. Footwear should be clean and white.  A neat, clean, professional appearance must be given at all times. Advertising should be restricted to the swimsuit limitations in article 102.9.3a.
 
 

Officials Google Group

A Google group has been created as a means of disseminating information to and amongst Niagara officials. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please do by following the instructions below. Please use the same email address that is associated with your USA Swimming membership. 

Note: Email addresses CANNOT be added to the group manually, a request from you to join is required.

You can subscribe to a group through the Google web interface or via email:

  • To subscribe to a group through the web interface, simply log in to your Google Account (Gmail), visit the group of your choice, and click the "Join this group" link on the right-hand side of the page under "About this group."
After joining the group, you will be able to browse previous postings and you will receive new communications via email.
 
 

Certification Overview and Policies

Officials certification in the Niagara LSC is good for 3 years and all certifications expire on Dec.31st of the third year. The recommended process for certification of new Stroke and Turn Officials and those wishing to advance to Starter or Referee is, in order: attend an appropriate clinic, take and pass the the required tests for the positions, and apprentice (shadow) a number of sessions for the position being certified for. Following are Officials Certification policies for the Niagara LSC:
  • It is recommended that a prospective Official or an Official wishing to advance then attend an appropriate Officials Clinic and then take and pass the position required tests through the USA Swimming website in that order. 
  • Once a prospective Official or an Official wishing to advance attends an Officials Clinic and passes the position tests, they will have 6 months to complete the other requirement and 1 full year to complete all of the requirements for certification or advancement. For example, if a person is certifying as a new Stroke and Turn Official and they pass their required tests in May, they would have until November to attend an Officials Clinic and until the following May to complete their apprentice session requirements. The 'clock' starts when prospective Official or an Official wishing to advance either completes the required tests or attends an Officials Clinic.
  • Officials wishing to advance to Starter or Referee, after having attended a clinic, completing the tests, and apprenticeship requirements, must be recommended for advancement by at least 2 of the Starters or Referees they have apprenticed with prior to the Officials Chair approving the advancement.
  • A prospective Official or an Official wishing to advance must attend an Officials Clinic that will cover the position they are certifying for or advancing to prior to beginning his/her apprentice sessions.
  • Apprentice sessions are those sessions worked under the supervision of an experienced Official certified for the position at a USA Swimming sanctioned meet. Approved meets, Observed meets, and sessions that consist solely of distance freestyle events (500, 1000, 1650, etc.) will not be recognized as apprentice sessions.
  • For new Stroke and Turn Officials only, USA Swimming rules allow this person to be on deck as an apprentice without having to be a registered USA Swimming member or possessing Official certification. 
  • The Officials Tracking System (OTS), available though the USA Swimming website, is the sole method of determining an Official's certification status and if an Official has met the requirements for advancement or recertification.
  • IMPORTANT! The Officials Tracking System (OTS) does NOT update certifications automatically! When you have met the requirements for certification or advancement (clinic, test(s), and apprentice sessions) you should contact the Officials Chair so that a new certification card can be issued to you.
Initial Certification
Administrative Official - 2 Year Certification Cycle
Min. Age 18
USA Swimming Membership Yes
Prior Certification None
Attend Clinic Yes
On Deck Sessions 4 Sessions (2013), 2 Sessions (2014)
Test - Min. Grade Timer, Clerk of Course, Timing Judge, and Certification - Administrative Official, 80% on all tests.
Time Limit to Certify 6 month window to attend clinic and complete tests. One year after attending clinic or completing test, whichever is done first, to complete apprentice requirement.
Stroke and Turn - 3 Year Certification Cycle
Min. Age 18
USA Swimming Membership Yes
Prior Certification None
Attend Clinic Yes
On Deck Sessions Four apprentice sessions
Test - Min. Grade Certification - Stroke and Turn/Timer - 85%
Time Limit to Certify 6 month window to attend clinic and complete tests. One year after attending clinic or completing test, whichever is done first, to complete apprentice requirement.
Starter - 3 Year Certification Cycle
Min. Age 18
USA Swimming Membership Yes
Prior Certification Stroke & Turn for two years
Attend Clinic Yes
On Deck Sessions Five apprentice sessions
Test - Min. Grade Recertification - Stroke and Turn/Timer, Clerk of Course, Timing Judge, Certification - Starter, 85% on all tests.
Time Limit to Certify 6 month window to attend clinic and complete tests. One year after attending clinic or completing test, whichever is done first, to complete apprentice requirement.
Referee - 3 Year Certification Cycle
Min. Age 21
USA Swimming Membership Yes
Prior Certification Starter for two years
Attend Clinic Yes
On Deck Sessions Six apprentice sessions
Test - Min. Grade Recertification - Stroke and Turn/Timer, Clerk of Course, Timing Judge, Re-Certification - Starter, Certification - Referee, Certification - Administrative Referee, 85% on all tests.
Time Limit to Certify 6 month window to attend clinic and complete tests. One year after attending clinic or completing test, whichever is done first, to complete apprentice requirement.
Recertification
Administrative Official
USA Swimming Membership Yes
Prior Certification Administrative Official
Attend Clinic Yes
On Deck Sessions Must have worked four sessions per year.
Test - Min. Grade Re-certification - Administrative Official, 80%
Time Limit to Certify 6 month window to attend clinic and complete test prior to certification expiration.
Stroke & Turn Judge
USA Swimming Membership Yes
Prior Certification Stroke & Turn
Attend Clinic Yes
On Deck Sessions Must have worked four sessions per year.
Test - Min. Grade Re-certification - Stroke and Turn, 85%
Time Limit to Certify 6 month window to attend clinic and complete test prior to certification expiration.
Starter
USA Swimming Membership Yes
Prior Certification Starter
Attend Clinic Yes
On Deck Sessions Must have worked four sessions per year with at least 2 sessions as Starter.
Test - Min. Grade Re-certification - Starter, 85%
Time Limit to Certify 6 month window to attend clinic and complete tests prior to certification expiration.
Referee
USA Swimming Membership Yes 
Prior Certification Referee
Attend Clinic Yes
On Deck Sessions Must have worked six sessions per year with at least 2 sessions as Referee.
Test - Min. Grade Re-certification - Referee, 85%
Time Limit to Certify 6 month window to attend clinic and complete tests prior to certification expiration.
Note: In exceptional circumstances, the Officials Chair reserves the right to modify prior certification requirements. These situations will be handled on a case by case basis.
 
 

Officials Tests

USA Swimming administers Officials testing through their website. Click You will need to create an account on the USA website in order to take the tests. 

1. The official's  test is an open book on-line test. The following tests must be completed  for each level:
     a. Stroke & Turn
          New  Official - stroke & turn and timer  tests
          Re certifying  - stroke & turn and timer recertifying  tests.


     b.  Starter
          New  Starter - starter, stroke & turn, timer, clerk of course and timing  judge  tests
          Re certifying  - starter, stroke & turn and timer recertifying  tests.


     c.  Referee 
          New  Referee - admin, referee, starter, stroke & turn & timer, timing judge and clerk of course  tests.
          Re certifying  - referee recertifying test

 

Click here to go to the test area on the USA Swimming website to begin your test(s).


2. Make sure that you select the appropriate answer and list the correct number of technical reference numbers.

3. Make sure you mark that you belong to the Niagara LSC (NI) so that a copy of the results go to the LSC's Officials' Chairperson.  The minimum score expected is 85% on both the letter answer and the references.

 

Certification Process for New USA Swimming Officials

First of all, thank you for ‘taking the plunge’ becoming more involved with the sport of competitive swimming and taking the first steps of the USA Swimming Officials certification process. Once certified, I hope that you find the officiating experience as fun and rewarding as I have over the years. The road to certification is a little more involved these days due to athlete protection policies implemented by USA Swimming, but it is not a difficult road and one on which you will learn a great deal and have a lot of fun along the way. Following is the certification process for new Officials along with some other useful information:

Step 1: Become a Non-Athlete Member of USA Swimming

Though not required, it is highly recommended that you become a non-athlete member of USA Swimming prior to attending an Officials Clinic. The reason is mainly administrative as an online ‘Officials Tracking System (OTS)’ is used to record the meets you work, clinics attended, and tests taken on the road to certification and beyond. If you are not entirely sure you want to become an Official, it is okay to delay this step to just prior to stepping on deck as a ‘live’ Official. There are three things that must be done to gain USA Swimming membership as a non-athlete:

  • Fill out the 2012 Non-Athlete Registration Application and give it to your club Registration person. The application form can found on the Niagara LSC website (http://niagaraswim.org) under ‘Swim Guide’ > ‘Membership Forms’ at the bottom of the page. The USA registration fee is $48 (2012), but a lot of clubs will cover this cost to show their appreciation for your time and efforts.
  • Initiate the USA Swimming required background check (link at the top of the page). All coaches and Officials must pass a Level 2 background check prior to membership in USA Swimming being granted. The cost is approximately $40 and, again, a lot of the local clubs will reimburse you the cost of the background check in appreciation for your time and efforts. You can initiate the background check from the USA Swimming website (http://usaswimming.org) and using the menu on the left to navigate to ‘Programs & Services’ > ‘Athlete Protection’ > ‘Background Checks’ and following the instructions.
  • View and pass the ‘Athlete Protection Course (APC)’. This is a free online educational presentation and quiz regarding child abuse that is required for USA Swimming membership. You can view the presentation beginning on the USA Swimming website (http://usaswimming.org) and using the menu on the left to navigate to ‘Programs & Services’ > ‘Athlete Protection’ and clicking the link in the ‘TAKE THE ONLINE ATHLETE PROTECTION COURSE’ section of the page.

Note:  In a Catch-22 like situation, you must be a member of USA Swimming before being able to view the APC. The process is that, once the Niagara LSC’s Registration person processes your membership application, he will contact your club Registrar that you are now able to take the APC. Your club Registrar should contact you and you can proceed.
When these steps have been completed, you will receive your 2012 USA Membership card in the mail.

Step 2: Attend an Officials Clinic

All new and recertifying Officials must attend a clinic. For new Officials, a DVD is played that introduces the technical rules of the strokes and relays and provides visual examples of both legal and illegal stroke technique. Clinics are also a great place to ask questions and get answers from other experienced Officials and are conducive to picking up knowledge outside of ‘book learning’. At the end of the clinic, you will receive a Certified Swimming Official's Apprentice card for use while you are completing your apprenticeship. The test and apprenticeship must be completed within one year from the clinic date.


Note:  There is a 6 month window in which you must complete the clinic-test combination. You must complete all certification requirements within 1 year of attending the clinic.


Step 3: Take and Pass the Online ‘Stroke & Turn/Timer’ Test

You must take the online ‘Stroke & Turn/Timer’ test and score a minimum of 85%. The test can be found on the USA Swimming website (http://usaswimming.org) and using the menu on the left to navigate to ‘Officials’ > ‘Testing and Certification’ > ‘Online Officials Test’. Pay particular attention to the ‘INSTRUCTIONS TO SIGN IN TO TAKE THE OFFICIALS TESTS’ information as it explains how the website account you will create is associated with your USA membership. Select the ‘Certification – Stroke & Turn/Timer’ test and begin.


Note: We are located in the ‘Niagara’ LSC.


Note:  There is a note stating that the tests are based on the 2011 rule book. There should not be any differences on the ‘Stroke & Turn/Timer’ test if all you have is the 2012 rule book.


Helpful Hint:  This is an ‘open rule book’ test and there is no time limit in which you have to complete it. You may find it easier to:

  • Start the test
  • Pause it
  • Print the test
  • Answer the questions at your leisure
  • Resume the test, entering your answers

 

Step 4: Apprentice at Four Swim Meet Sessions

The final requirement is to apprentice (or ‘shadow’) with experienced certified Officials during 4 meet sessions. When apprenticing, you will be on deck watching and learning in a ‘live’ environment. You won’t be able to make any calls, but your mentor will instruct you on proper positioning, give observation tips, and generally introduce you up close and personal to the world of officiating.
Note: Always make certain that you sign the Officials Work Chart when you work a meet so that you can be properly credited in the OTS. If you have a ‘blue card’ or ‘Apprentice Card’ during your shadow sessions, have the Referee sign the card after each session worked so it can be entered into the OTS.

Note:  At this point, if you have not yet done so, you must become a member of USA Swimming. Follow the process as detailed in Step 1.

 

Step 5: Obtain Your USA Swimming Official Certification Card

The final step, after all of the certification requirements have been met, is to notify the Officials Chair so that a certification card can be issued to you. The certification card must be worn (along with your USA membership card) at all times when on deck at a meet. Notifying the Officials Chair can be done by sending email to Jim Stromski (jrstromski@gmail.com) and attaching a copy of your signed Apprentice card to the email if needed. You should receive your certification card via email attachment within a day or two.

 

National Certification Program

The primary goal of USA Swimming's National Certification Program is to expand the education of officials though mentoring, participation and evaluation as well recognizing those officials who have demonstrated their knowledge of swim officiating at each level and position. The Niagara LSC is supportive of these goals and encourages Officials to seek National Certifications at the earliest opportunity in their Officiating career. Details of the National Certification Program can be found here.

 

YMCA Officials seeking USA Swimming Official Certification

The Niagara LSC will observe USA Swimming's guidelines for reciprocity as published on the USA Swimming website here.

 

US Masters Swimming

With some minor modifications, US Masters Swimming uses the same rule book as USA Swimming. Niagara District Masters Swimming sanctions several meets each year within the Niagara LSC and look to USA certified Officials to assist in the running of these meets. Working a Masters meet is an inspirational experience in and of its own. For USA Officials wishing to advance to Starter or Referee, Masters meets also provide an opportunity to experience what it's like to be a Starter or Referee, before attending a clinic and taking the required tests for USA certification, to see if the position is 'right' for you as you only need to be a USA Swimming certified S&T Judge to be a Starter or Referee for a Masters meet.
 
If you're interested, click here to view the Niagara District Masters Swimming meet calendar and contact Doug Matchett (dsmatchett@gmail.com) if you'd like to give it a go at one of the meets.

 

Resources

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Niagara LSC Admin Official Clinic Slides