Belonging to ROW means that swimmers can participate in a variety of swim meets. ROW hosts at least five Swim Ontario sanctioned meets every year, as well as several ROW series meets for younger swimmers. In order to continue to have ROW’s meets sanctioned by Swim Ontario, ROW is required to have specific numbers of trained officials in the club. Participating in officiating activities at swim meets is also a fun and rewarding experience. You get to be up close with your children on deck and watch them perform. You meet other parents from our club and from other clubs while helping the club to host a successful swim meet. As part of the registration process, all families are required to follow through on a certain level of officiating education and training as outlined below.

Upcoming Officiating Clinics (2013-2014)

…….coming soon: We will be posting the upcoming officiating clinic soon, please check back…..

Up The Ladder

Officiating education includes taking clinics, and performing the officiating tasks learned in those clinics at sanctioned meets several times prior to get a deck evaluation sign-off. As the swimmer progresses to higher levels within the club, the parent of the swimmer must also advance up the official ladder. The Up the Ladder process is the movement of officials through the 5 experience levels of Swim Ontario. This process is very important since to host a sanctioned swim meet, the club must have the necessary experienced officials to properly staff the meet. The required experience levels are dependent on the size of the club. Since ROW is considered a large club, we are required to have the following experience levels in our family membership:

  • Option 1 – 5 level II’s, 1 level III, 2 level IV or V,
  • Option 2 – 5 level II’s, 2 level III’s, 1 level IV or V,
  • Option 3 – 7 level II’s, 0 level III’s, 2 level IV or V.

Experience is gained by taking offered clinics on the various officiating positions and performing those positions at ROW meets as well as at meets hosted by other clubs. On deck experience is something that can’t be taught in a clinic. Working at other clubs’ meets is a great way to meet officials from other clubs and experience situations that you likely won’t run into at ROW meets. Each pool has its own individual oddities and each club has their unique way of running the meet.


Clinics are offered in two formats – either face to face clinics or online clinics. The advantage of the face to face clinic is that it is interactive and you can question the presenter and relate issues to actual events that the presenter or others have experienced. Immediate feedback is provided for questions. The online clinics are a little more flexible in that you can take them from any computer at a time of your choosing. While the online clinics are convenient, they are not a complete substitution for face to face clinics.

Online clinics are provided by Swim Ontario at You must contact the Club Officials Chairperson, Angus Cunningham (moc.noretnirp|mahgninnuca#moc.noretnirp|mahgninnuca), for the “keys” to take the online clinics. Face to face clinics are provided either through the club with a level IV or V official presenting the particular clinic, or through the Western Region Officials Association. The Western Region Officials Association usually hosts two one day sessions where multiple clinics are presented. Notice of these clinics will be posted on the ROW website. These regional clinics are a great way to be exposed to lots of experience and to meet lots of officials from other clubs. Notices for all ROW hosted clinics will be sent to families via email and postings on the ROW website.

After completing the clinic, you must perform the position several times at sanctioned meets. To obtain an on-deck evaluation, you must ask at the beginning of a meet to have a senior official (Level IV or V) to review your performance on the position. You will receive a signoff for a satisfactory on-deck evaluation as determined by the senior official. The on-deck evaluation can occur either at ROW meets or meets hosted by other clubs.

ROW “Up the Ladder” Official Development Plan

To ensure the club’s ability to host meets for your swimmers, ROW’s official development plan specifies the courses and the certification level needed to be completed by one or both parents of swimmers at each level. They are as follows:

TOP Level (or 1st year Swimmer with the club)

Parents of TOP level swimmers or parents of any 1st year swimmer with the club must take the Timekeeper/Safety Marshall clinic. Once completed, the parents will be Certified Level I. Also, this will prepare the parents for their participation during Swim Ontario sanctioned meets including ROW hosted meets. These parents should try to obtain two successful on-deck evaluations at the Timekeeper position at sanctioned meets. For new members, after the 1st year, the parents should try to work toward the respective officiating requirements of the swimmer’s level.

Bronze Level

At Bronze level, one or both parents should be Certified Level I and received two successful on-deck evaluations at the Timekeeper position. At Bronze level, the parent must enroll in Stroke & Turn Judge/Head Lane Timer, Recorder Scorer, and Clerk of Course clinics. These three clinics will provide a sound understanding of swim meets and the technical aspects of all swimming strokes, starts, and turns. As the swimmer progresses through the Bronze program, parents should try to obtain successful on-deck evaluations at these positions.

Silver Level

As the swimmer enters the Silver level, the parents must have Level I Certification and achieve several successful on-deck evaluations at Timekeeper, Stroke & Turn, Recorder Scorer and Clerk of Course positions. For the Silver level, the development plan requires one or both parents to achieve Level II certification. The parents must enrol in at least three of the following Level II clinics; Chief Timer, Chief Finish Judge, Chief Judge Electronics, Starter and Meet Manager. To receive Level II certification, the parents must be Certified Level I, completion of clinics and 2 deck evaluations in any 2 positions, one of which must be Stroke & Turn Judge/Head Lane Timer.

Gold and Senior Levels

Once the swimmer reaches the Gold or Senior levels, one or both parents should be a certified Level II official. The goal now is to work toward Level III certification and beyond. To achieve this goal, the parent must attend all remaining Level II official clinics, participate in home and away meets and have all remaining Level II positions sign off. To achieve Level III certification, the parent must be Certified Level II, complete all Level 2 clinics, have 2 successful on deck evaluations in any 3 remaining Level II positions, and conduct a clinic.

Bottom Line

The club needs its membership to take an active role in moving Up The Ladder, so please do what you can to be involved. While the process may seem daunting at first, it is really fun and not difficult to move up the officiating ladder. If you need help with something, or have a special request, please do not hesitate to contact your Club Officials Chairperson, Angus Cunningham (moc.noretnirp|mahgninnuca#moc.noretnirp|mahgninnuca).


Officiating and home meet commitment for TOP parents
Officiating and home meet commitment for Bronze parents
Officiating and home meet commitment for Silver parents
Officiating and home meet commitment for Gold and Senior parents
Ontario Swimming Officials Up the Ladder (PDF)
Swim Ontario Officials Development Plan (PDF)


Ontario Swimming Officials Association
About Online clinics

Current Level II or Higher Officials at the ROW Swim Club

Level V
Angus Cunningham

Level III
Doug MacKenzie
Tam Nguyen
Gary Shearer
Tracy Judges - alumnus
Brian Hughes - alumnus
John Kendall - alumnus

Level II
Randy Coloumbe
Jo-Anne Cunningham
Doug Dawdy
Kim Gross
Graeme Jones
Chris Maher
Helen Parrott
Peter Pavlinich
Leanne Shearer

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