Date Posted
14th Mar 2019

Interested in becoming a synchro judge?

Tauranga Synchro are looking for people who may be interested in learning how to become synchro judges. Our club’s head judge, Sue Van Os, is keen to support a few beginner judges through this term and the next, to allow new judges the opportunity to judge at the North Island Championships.

The time commitment would be a couple of evenings during training for Sue to walk you through the basics, shadow judging at a Tauranga figures competition on a Saturday morning, and attendance at a FINA synchro judging clinic which will be a weekend in Auckland. Plus the possibility of judging at North Islands. 

What’s judging like, and what’s involved?

We asked Lorna, one of our synchro Mums, a bit about her experience as one of the club’s judges.


How long have you been a synchro judge?

I have been judging for 2-3 years. I started when my daughter did her second year of competition. I was looking for a way to contribute to the club that would fit with a busy weekly schedule. Judging is great as you can study at home and the courses are usually weekends/the day before competitions.

Why do we need judges?

Each club needs one judge for every six competitors at formal competitions. I would encourage parents to have a go at judging, because it is really important to keep recruiting new judges if all the girls are going to have the opportunity to compete. Don’t think it is only parents of senior girls or those who know a lot about synchro the can judge. You will get all the training you need even if you are brand new to the sport, like I was.

What’s the training like?

The training is great - very supportive for beginner judges, positive and professional, often with top level judges from NZ and overseas. There are videos online, a handbook, workshops, and practice sessions at the club. It doesn’t take long to get the basics. Sue Van Os is a great mentor to club judges and doing practice judging under her guidance at the club is a very relaxed way to have a go.

What happens at the competitions?

At competition time, there is always a meeting beforehand where all the judges get a quick refresher of what to look for and new judges get practice by shadow scoring (you judge but your scores are not counted). You find that you quickly become part of the “judging team” and the teamwork is really important because you are relying on each other to do a good job, avoid bias and be really fair to all the teams.

 I find judging at the competitions really draws you into the whole event, you see the progression of all the swimmers at different levels and you really appreciate all the skills on display; the technical skills, the artistic skills, the choreography, the team work.

What’s the best thing about judging?

I really strive to give the fairest scores I can, because you are giving credit to all the hard work the swimmers put in through the whole year. When you do a good job and see the best displays getting the scores they deserve, it feels great, and the swimmers really appreciate your hard work too.

Judging is a great way to learn about your child’s sport and to get to know swimming families from all over NZ.

If you are interested in giving judging a go, please contact us!