The summer swimming season is upon us. Summer swimming is where
most of our kids started with the sport; summer swimming is where most
us started as officials. It was nearly 20 years ago this summer that
my oldest started swimming. I remember watching in amazement that season
as she quickly learned the four strokes. It took a little longer for
her to master the art of diving into the pool, but by the end of the
summer she could start just like the big kids. That was also the summer
that one of the senior officials recruited me to be a timer. After my
initial resistance, I discovered that I genuinely enjoyed the experience.
The following season, another official invited me to attend the clinic
and become a deck official. That’s how it starts. Maybe you have
a similar story. Never forget that you are the best ambassador for our
ranks. You are the prime agent to recruit new officials. Make it a goal
to recruit at least one new official this summer.
The Relay Take-Off Judge
The Relay Take-Off Judge determines whether the swimmer in each
leg of a relay (other than the first) leaves the starting block before
the incoming swimmer touches the pad or the wall at the end of their
leg. A swimmer may be in motion before the touch of the in-coming competitor
as long as his/her feet have not completely left the starting platform
before the touch. A take-off violation only occurs if the incoming swimmer
touches after the departing swimmer has completely broken contact with
the starting platform. When judging take-offs, it’s important
to concentrate on the departing swimmer’s toes, not on
the incoming swimmer. When the departing swimmer completely leaves the
starting platform, glance down immediately. By refocusing the eyes in
this manner, if the hand of the incoming swimmer has not yet touched,
a early take-off has occurred. Whenever dual take-off judging is being
used, you should receive a form to record your decision. Mark the form
after each set of exchanges. Record a legal take-off by circling the
appropriate lane(s) and exchange number. Record an early exchange by
making an “X” in the same place on the form. When you observe
an early take-off, only make an appropriate mark on the form. Do not
raise your hand.
Clinics from several local summer swim leagues can be used as a USA
Swimming certification or re-certification clinic for the Stroke and
Turn Judge position. Dates for these clinics and links to the league
web sites can be found on the PVS
Olympic Swimming Trivia
At the 1900 Olympics in Paris, the most bizarre competition
to be held was Underwater Swimming. In this event, two points were awarded
for each meter swum underwater. In addition, one point was added to
the scoring of each individual for every second he (it was an event
for men only) stayed below the surface. France’s Charles deVenderville
won the event swimming 60 meters and staying submerged for 1:08.4. Denmark’s
Peder Lykkeberg stayed underwater for a longer period, nearly one and
a half minutes, but only managed to travel 28.5 meters. This was the
first and only time this event was held at the Olympics.
Top Ten Things a Referee Doesn’t
Want to Hear
- Does anyone know how to run the Colorado?
- I’m sure we have lap counters somewhere.
- We still don’t have enough timers.
- The lane-line just broke.
- Was that thunder?
- But my video shows that she didn’t do that.
- The heat sheets will be here soon.
- I left a few swimmers off the Meet Entry by mistake.
- What coach’s registration card?
- But, we told everyone there would be time trials.
Did You Know?
Tracy Caulkins is the only swimmer ever, man
or woman, to own American records in every stroke.
You Make the Call
The meet program includes an 11-12 Boys 400 Meter Freestyle Relay. A
coach comes up to you and says “I only have three 11-12 boys,
but I have a good 10-year old, he can ‘swim up’ in age in
a relay, can’t he?” What do you tell the coach?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.
Referee’s Safety Checklist
USA Swimming has recently published a Referee’s Safety
Checklist. All officials are encouraged to review it, and meet
referees are expected to use it as a resource for their meets. Here
is a direct
link to the form, which is found on the USA Swimming website under
Officials, Training Resources.
U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials
Several PVS athletes will be competing at the
U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha this summer. Three PVS officials will be
on deck for the meet. If you can’t make it to Omaha, you can watch
our country’s best swimmers on TV.
|Sunday, June 29
||8 - 9 pm
|Monday, June 30
||8 - 9 pm
|Tuesday, July 1
||8 - 9 pm
|Wednesday, July 2
||8 - 9 pm
|Thursday, July 3
||8 - 9 pm
|Friday, July 4
||8 - 9 pm
|Saturday, July 5
||8 - 9 pm
|Sunday, July 6
||8 - 9 pm
Don’t Assume . . .
- Don’t assume that because there are experienced swimmers
in your jurisdiction, they will always swim legally. Even Olympic
medalists DQ sometimes.
- Don’t assume that because you’ve already called
one violation you can skip the next one on that swimmer. The first
might be overturned and the second might have been upheld—had
it been called.
- Don’t assume that, because you’ve seen a hand
go up at the other end of the pool, the swimmer has already been disqualified.
It could be a different swimmer, a different violation, or a violation
that is ultimately overturned.
- Don’t assume that, if the referee or the chief judge
questions you about your call, he/she doesn’t believe you or
is trying to talk you out of it. This official likely did not see
the violation and needs to be able to describe the details to the
- Don’t assume that because you’ve raised your
hand you are obligated to make a call. Upon further thought, you might
realize that what you saw was not a violation of the rules.
More Olympic Swimming Trivia
Electronic timing was in its infancy at the
1960 Olympics, where it was used as a back-up timing system. For finishes,
three judges watched for 1st place, three for 2nd, etc. In the 100 meter
Freestyle, two of three 1st place judges called John Devitt of Australia
as the 1st place finisher, but two of the three 2nd place judges called
him as the 2nd place finisher! Three stopwatches used for each swimmer
showed Lance Larson of the U.S. with the faster time, 55.1, to Devitt’s
55.2. The electronic timing had Larsen at 55.10, Devitt at 55.16. The
head judge decided that Devitt won the gold medal, even though the decision
should have been based on the back-up timing system, as per the rules
at the time. Needless to say, it was a controversial decision.
Do you have a question about officiating or a tip you’d like to
share? Is there a rule that you’d like to have clarified? Do you
have a suggestion for a future item in this newsletter? If so, please
send your questions/comments to the newsletter editor, Jack
Cameras At the Pool
Did you know that video technology is now in place at major national
and international swim meets to assist with timing and judging?
Omega Swiss Timing has a system of overhead cameras used for
back-up timing. Each camera records two lanes at the rate of 100 frames
per second, coordinated with the start system. If there is a pad failure,
the admin referee can look at the video to see exactly when the swimmer
touched the wall, to the hundredth of a second. This kind of system
has been used at the Olympics since 1988, as well as at many major national
and international meets.
In recent years, the media have been questioning why swimming
is the only major Olympic sport that doesn’t take advantage of
video replay technology. This has caused FINA to begin testing underwater
camera systems. USA Swimming likewise began conducting its own experiment
with cameras during the 2007 National Championships in Indianapolis.
A total of 24 underwater cameras were used at the 3 meter, 9 meter and
15 meter marks at both start and turn ends. The experiment was designed
to address several questions:
- Just how well can the camera see underwater?
- Which types of violations should be reviewable – Stroke
violations? Turn violations? Which ones?
- Should the video replays be used to make, confirm, or overturn
- Should the video replays be used only when there is a formal
protest over a DQ?
Of course, the cost for such a video system is significant,
making it an option for major meets only. And many wonder how USA Swimming
will be able to write the rules for video use without “encouraging”
participation in the judging from parents sitting in the stands with
At this point, no final decisions have been made regarding
the use of video replay in judging by FINA or USA Swimming.
Resolution to ‘You Make
Your answer should be “No.” According to Article 205.2.4,
“A swimmer must compete in the age group events corresponding
to the swimmer’s age,” except in a few very specific situations.
If the event had originally been scheduled as a 12 & under relay,
the 10-year old would have been eligible.
June 29 - July 6
Beijing Olympic Games:
August 8 - 24
August 9 - 16