to the New Season!
The kids are back in school, and a new season of swimming is
upon us. Hopefully, you’re ready to dive in for another season
of officiating. Volunteer officials are the lifeblood of Potomac Valley
Swimming. The number of swimmers always spikes the year immediately
following the Summer Olympics, and many of those swimmers are looking
forward to several early-season meets. Check the schedule below and
contact the official-in-charge if you can help. We hope to see you at
one of the many PVS Officials’ clinics during the month of October.
And we look forward to seeing you on deck throughout the 2008-09 season!
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“How Can You DQ a 10
Maybe you’ve heard it before: the official who says “I
can’t DQ those cute little 10 & under swimmers.” People
who take this position often rationalize it by saying they don’t
want to cause “mental trauma” to a youngster. They often
go on to say they have no problems “socking it to a 13 & older.”
While this may sound good, it is grounded in some clearly erroneous
and extraneous beliefs. First, it views the judge’s role as punitive
— and that’s completely wrong. Rather, a disqualification
should be viewed as protecting the other athletes in the competition,
and as educating the athlete who commits the infraction so he/she won’t
do it again. Secondly, it assumes that everyone in the identified age
group is a beginner while those in the older age groups are experienced
and, therefore, should be held to a stricter standard. Yet, this is
also often erroneous. Athletes enter the sport at various ages, and
some 8 year olds are far more experienced than some teenagers who are
just entering the sport. In any event, experience is irrelevant. Finally,
the idea that disqualifying a 10 & under will “traumatize
the child’s psyche” is ludicrous. It clearly ignores the
fact that youngsters are constantly being corrected during their formative
years; it’s one of the ways they learn.
The Fall schedule of PVS
Officials’ clinics has been posted on the website. There are
clinics in both Maryland and Virginia for Stroke & Turn Judges,
Starters, Referees, Timing System Operators, and Hy-Tek Operators during
the month of October. Pre-Registration for the clinics is encouraged,
but not required. You can just show up on the date and time of the clinic.
Article 102.12.2 of USA Swimming rules states: “All officials
acting in the capacity of Referee, Starter, or Stroke and/or Turn Judge
at a swimming meet shall be certified in such position by their LSC
prior to being assigned to officiate in that capacity.” Attendance
at a clinic at least once every two years is a requirement for your
certification. Be sure to check the website throughout the year for
Advanced Hy-Tek Clinic
For the first time in many years, PVS is offering an Advanced Hy-Tek
Clinic on November 1, 2008 at the Olney Swim Center. To attend the clinic,
you should be certified in Hy-Tek for at least one year or be a PVS
Meet Director. The exact topics to be covered will be determined by
the needs of the class, but the primary focus areas will be running
Hy-Tek at a trials/finals championship-level meet and setting up a meet
database. The instructors will also be available for questions after
How is This Possible?!
It’s a prelims/finals meet. During the preliminary session,
a 12 year old swimmer sets a national 11-12 age-group record in the
100 Butterfly. At finals, he is swimming in lane 8 for the championship
heat. He is swimming in the correct lane. How is this possible?
See the answer at the bottom of this
New-age pianist Yanni was a member of the Greek
National Swimming Team before he embarked on his music career. At age
14, Yanni broke the Greek national 50m Freestyle record.
Swim Vocabulary: Can You Talk
- Circle Seeding – The
method for seeding swimmers participating in a prelims/finals meet,
as per Rule 105.5.1. The fastest swimmer is placed in the final heat,
next fastest in the second-from-last heat, the third fastest in the
third-from-last heat. The fourth fastest swimmer swims in the final
heat, the fifth in the second-from-last heat, the sixth fastest in
the third-from-last heat, the seventh fastest in the final heat, etc.
- Colorado – A brand of
automatic timing system.
- LSC – Local Swim Committee,
the local level administrative division of USA Swimming that supervises
competitive swimming within certain geographic boundaries. Potomac
Valley Swimming is the LSC for the Washington, D.C. area.
- Negative Split
– A swim during which the second half is completed faster than
the first half.
- Non-Conforming Time
– A short course time submitted to qualify for a long course
meet, or vice versa
- NTV – National Times
Verification, a certificate verifying a national qualifying time for
- Observed Swim – A swim
observed by assigned USA Swimming officials for conformance with USA
Swimming rules in a meet conducted under other than USA Swimming rules.
- Ready Room – A room or
area near the pool where the swimmers gather prior to competing in
their heat at a championship meet.
- Recall Rope
– A rope suspended across the width of the pool that is dropped
for the purpose of stopping swimmers who were not aware of a recalled
- Zones – The country is
divided into 4 zones: Eastern, Southern, Central, and Western. Each
zone sponsors a championship age-group meet for short course in the
Spring and for long course in the Summer, as well as two or more sectional
meets for senior swimmers annually.
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
How Does Drug Testing Work
When you officiate at a major national or international swim
meet, you’ll likely notice a door marked “Drug Testing”
among the areas off the pool deck. What happens in this room? Who decides
which swimmer is to be tested? What is the procedure for testing? After
this summer’s controversy surrounding Jessica Hardy’s withdrawal
from the U.S. Olympic Team, let’s examine the process.
Long before a particular heat is swum, the testers establish
that two swimmers will be tested: the first-place finisher and another
randomly chosen place, say the fifth-place finisher. This process is
to ensure that tests are objective and are not directed at any specific
individual; the athletes are tested based on finishes and are determined
prior to the start of the race.
Two observers are dispatched to that race. They wait behind
the timers to see which swimmers finish (in our scenario) first and
fifth. Once these swimmers are out of the pool, they are notified by
their observer that they have been selected for testing. Let’s
follow the first-place finisher, even though the exact same process
will simultaneously be done with the fifth-place finisher.
Our first-place finisher, once notified that he/she has been
selected, must sign a form acknowledging that he/she knows his/her rights.
Respect for the athlete’s needs and rights are front and center
throughout the process, so the sample does not need to be given immediately.
The swimmer may warm down before providing the test.
While the swimmer warms down, the observer follows him/her,
never letting the athlete out of sight. After warm down, the swimmer
grabs some clothes and personal identification (passport, driver’s
license, etc.) and reports to the testing area along with the observer.
The testing area is usually set up somewhere with privacy and with close
access to the restroom.
Once at the testing area, the observer signs the swimmer in,
is assigned to a new race, and begins the process again. Meanwhile the
swimmer produces identification and selects which package of testing
materials (forms, labels, plastic cup, etc.) he/she would like to use
– all are the same other than their serial number. By allowing
the athlete to select his/her materials, it adds an extra level of randomness
to the process. The swimmer completes the additional forms, which include
information about the meet, the race, and other vital information. Usually
there are bottles of water and sports drinks available to help a dehydrated
or nervous athlete produce some urine.
At this point, a male swimmer would be paired with a male tester,
while a female swimmer would have a female tester. When “nature
calls,” they head to the restroom where the plastic cup is filled.
All the while, the tester is watching to make sure that the urine is
really coming from the athlete’s body and not from some other
Once there is enough urine in the cup, the swimmer will put
a lid on it and then follow the tester out to a table in the testing
area. The sample is divided into two glass containers each marked with
the same serial number.
This creates what we hear called the “A” and the
“B” samples. The “A” is the one that is tested
and, in the case of a positive, the “B” is ready for testing
as well. After the sample has been split, the swimmer screws air tight
tops on the containers, packages them up, seals the package, and signs
the final forms. The athlete leaves and the samples head to the laboratory.
Resolution to ‘How is
Two possible scenarios (Can you think of any others?):
- The swimmer is hearing-impaired and was assigned to lane
8 so that he could more readily see the strobe light or the Starter’s
- The swimmer had tied for eighth place during preliminaries,
and set the age-group record during the swim-off.