Call for new judges as Welsh academy opens for action
Gary Baker on 24/06/2012
If sports did not have judges or referees, there would be no sport but many of those who officiate at events are unpaid volunteers.
Now the hunt is on for a new batch of these essential yet unsung heroes in the swimming arena after a new academy was launched in Wales.
The Young Officials Academy is there to train the next generation of judges and referees who can help out in meets and galas.
They are an essential part of swimming competition, and the new academy has been set up to support young volunteers, aged 14 -17, throughout Wales and develop the skills they need.
Not everyone can be an Olympian like Barry's David Davies or women's ace Jazz Carlin but, with a number of years experience, there is no reason why the new Welsh Academy could not produce officials that will go to future Olympics and Commonwealth Games.
Officials ensure that all events are swum fairly and within the rules of governing body, FINA.
So, as part of the programme, those young volunteers who want to try their hand will undertake an introductory programme to volunteering within aquatics based on the five officiating levels:
These are as a timekeeper, judge number one, judge number two, judge number two starter and referee.
The national academy is broken down into three regional training areas – in North Wales, South East Wales and South West Wales – which provide training, recognition awards and social links with other young people.
Leisa Forrest, Events and Volunteer Manager for Swim Wales, said: “All sports need volunteers to survive and swimming is no different. We thought that structured support for younger volunteers would help keep them in the sport and ensure our competitions are sustainable.
“All academy members are provided with the opportunity to volunteer at national, regional and local events, as well as representing Wales at UK events.
“The will also be provided with mentor support so they receive a high quality experience.”
No specific qualifications are needed to apply for the programme, although participants need to become a member of Swim Wales and make a commitment to attend at least two regional and three national events.
For more information on how to apply for a place at the Academy, please visit the Swim Wales website or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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