As you probably already know, USA Swimming has adopted new rules
requiring criminal background checks for all non-athlete members, which
includes coaches and officials. Please be patient as the details and
procedures are determined. The PVS Board, Registrar and Officials Committee
are in constant contact with USA Swimming about this issue and we will
pass along all information we receive as soon as it is available. In
the meanwhile, you will be issued a temporary 2011 Non-Athlete Membership
Place Judge Required
At its 2010 Convention, USA Swimming made several alterations
to Article 102. One of these changes adds a Place Judge to the list
of officials required for a swim meet. The Place Judge records the order
of finish for each heat, providing the Timing Judge with additional
evidence for determining the official time. The rule also stipulates
that officials other than the Referee may act in more than one officiating
capacity. The Officials Committee has decided that the Starter will
handle this duty. If there is more than one Starter at a session, the
off-duty Starter should record the order of finish on a heat sheet.
If there is only a single Starter, he/she should record the order of
finish as best as possible without allowing the meet to be delayed.
The Referee should assist the Starter in this duty as much as possible,
and may keep his/her own record of the finishes as well. The heat sheets
on which the order of finish is recorded should be collected and saved
with the other meet paperwork. This is the practice in many other LSCs.
While the rule becomes effective on May 1, 2011, it is recommended
to begin this practice immediately.
For an excellent review of this process, see Morgan Hurley’s
excellent article in the April
issue of Around the Deck.
Officials Qualifying Meet
The Tom Dolan Invitational Meet (December 9-12) will be an Officials
Qualifying Meet for N3 certification. The meet will include opportunities
to be observed for N2 and N3 certification in all positions. More information
about the meet is available in the meet
announcement. More information about the National certification
program for officials can be found on the USA
You Make the Call
During the 1000-yard freestyle the Starter mistakenly rings the bell
over the leader in Lane 4 at 900 yards. The leader and the swimmer
in second place, Lane 5, continue beyond 950 yards and complete
the race. The coach of the swimmer in Lane 4 files a written protest
stating that his swimmer visibly increased his pace to a sprint at the
sound of the warning bell. Realizing that he was not done and having
nothing left, he was only able to finish third instead of second. What
decision should be made with regard to the protest?
See the answer at the bottom of this
The Hawaiian surfing legend and swimmer Duke Kahanamoku overslept before
the 100-meter freestyle preliminaries at the 1912 Olympics. Kahanamoku’s
main competition, Australia’s Cecil Healy, persuaded the judges
to hold a special qualifying race for Kahanamoku, who went on to win
the gold medal ahead of Healy, who took the silver.
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
Report of Occurrence
How are USA Swimming and its insurance carrier notified when an accident
occurs at a swim meet? The Report of Occurrence form, supplied to all
club and non-athlete members in annual club membership mailings, is
used for this purpose. Reporting all incidents, no matter how minor,
is important to put both USA Swimming and its insurer on notice of accidents
and potential claims.
A Report of Occurrence form should be completed any time an
injury occurs at a USA Swimming function, whether or not it involves
a USA Swimming member. Injuries involving spectators should also be
reported. The form should be filled out by a meet director or by any
club personnel responsible at the time of the incident; the parents
of the injured athletes should not be asked to complete the report form.
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
Our Fall clinics have been very well-attended—that means lots
of new officials on deck and lots of opportunities for experienced officials
to serve as mentors. Mentoring plays a significant role in the training
of new officials, helping the mentee in attaining the skills and confidence
needed to become an effective official.
The dictionary defines a mentor as “a trusted counselor
or guide” and “a wise, loyal advisor or coach.” The
original Mentor is a character in Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey.
While Odysseus was fighting the Trojan War, he entrusted the care of
his kingdom to Mentor. Mentor also served as the teacher and advisor
to Odysseus’ son, Telemachus.
Being a mentor is not for the faint of heart. Mentoring requires
knowledge, solid communication skills, and a great deal of patience.
At the same time, being a mentor can be extremely rewarding, as there
is a great deal of satisfaction in watching your mentees grow in confidence
If you are afforded the opportunity to serve as a mentor this
season, please take the responsibility seriously. And remember to note
the experience in the online Officials Tracking System under “Activity
Resolution to ‘You Make
The protest should be disallowed. Although a warning signal is required,
USA Swimming Rules and Regulations also state that it is the responsibility
of the swimmer to complete the prescribed distance.