Frequently Asked Questions
2017 - 2018
- I don't have any swimming or diving experience or any background in swimming or diving. Can I still join GISOA?
Though GISOA always welcomes new members, we require a minimum standard of competence in swimming or diving due to the highly competitve nature of high school swimming and diving. We do offer training, but you need to at least have some familiarity with competitive swimming and/or diving. If you don't possess any experience at all, we recommend you reach out to a local summer or recreation league and volunteer as an official.
- How often/how many meets do officials normally work during the school swim season?
We work around your schedule. Some officials work one meet a week, others every day or somewhere in between. We often have meets 6 days a week from November through mid-February.
- A friend mentioned that high school officials cannot officiate at meets where the official's child is swimming or diving. Is that the case for middle school meets also (I have two children- one in high school and one in middle school)?
Correct. Though that practice is accepted in US Swimming meets because you often only have the parents there to officiate the same is not true in high school sports. Middle schools also use high school rules. Parents act as school volunteer timers or other workers but never as officials. Parents of swimmers and divers, however, are members of our association and work meets in which their children are not involved.
- Do officials let you know their preference for days of officiating (is it the same day each week)?
Again we work around your schedule. Some people can never work on Tuesdays because of school, Girl Scouts, etc. Others give us specific dates that they cannot work. We have college students who have semester schedule changes in the middle of the season and we work with them to accommodate their schedules. Scheduling is always easier when we know all of your conflicts and special requests.
- Can officials just officiate at middle school or just at high school meets?
I've never had that request before. Sometimes a school's middle school meet is held in conjunction with the high school meet. The first 4 events would look like this:
Middle School Boys 200 Medley Relay
Middle School Girls 200 Medley Relay
Varsity Boys 200 Medley Relay
Varsity Girls 200 Medley Relay
Obviously in situations like this we could not have different officials for each level.
- How far away do officials travel for meets during the week? One official friend of mine who lives in Columbus, GA told me that she has been sent to high school meets in Valdosta before.
Traditionally we have covered the Atlanta toll-free dialing area, which is the largest in the country! Normally I do not ask you to drive across Atlanta but, because we get paid travel, occasionally I do have to. We always take into consideration where you live and work and the nature of Atlanta traffic - congestion!
- Are middle school/high school officials paid for their time officiating at meets?
Yes, we are professionals providing a service. The current fee, set by the Georgia High School Association, is $49 per meet plus $2 for each extra heat (Heat 1 of every event is included in the base pay). Invitationals and championships are $24.50 per hour. The pay is usually distributed at the end of the season. The aforementioned travel is based on the distance you travel for each meet, calculated from your home address. You have to claim wages over $600 on the next year's taxes because we are independent contractors and have to file with the IRS. However if you itemize your income taxes you get to deduct dues, uniforms, equipment, mileage to a 2nd job, etc. 10% of your pay is a booking fee paid to the booking secretary for all of the time associated with keeping the master schedule up-to-date and working with schools and officials.
- Is there any other information along these lines that would be helpful to know in advance?
Basically we take you at whatever experience level you come with, continue to train you and pay you for your time. We are here for the student-athletes. It is our job to enforce the rules but not our job to be the show.
You will be required to have the following:
Uniform: white shirt, khaki (tan) pants or skirt, white shoes and socks - supplied by you
Whistle - supplied by you
Headset radio - supplied by you
Rulebook - supplied by us / included in your dues
Writing utensil - supplied by you
You will have to pay yearly dues to GISOA. The 2017-2018 dues for officials are $75. This includes:
Georgia High School Association required dues
Georgia Athletic Officials Association dues
ArbiterSports fees (our scheduling software)
Background check fees
GISOA dues for postage, tax preparation and accounting, website expenses, incorporation expenses, etc.