Happy Holidays from the PVS Officials Committee!
The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s may be
the busiest of the year. In the midst of all the holiday activity, a
number of PVS meets (including a couple of high-level invitational meets)
are scheduled for December. Championship meets require championship
officiating — can we count on your help?
Ready to Recertify?
Are you due to recertify this year? Many local PVS certifications expire
on December 31, 2012. To find your expiration date, go into OTS, the
Officials Tracking System on the USA Swimming website, and click “My
Certification Card.” To review the recertification requirements,
go to the Officials section on the PVS website: http://pvswim.org/official/recertification_requirements.html.
There you’ll also find the link to contact the Certification Officer
to request your recertification. What could be easier?
Swimming recognizes two distinct levels of National Certification for
officials: N2 and N3. N2, the first National level in a position, is
administered by the National Officials Committee and recognizes that
an official is experienced and has been evaluated as capable of working
the position at Sectional, Zone, Grand Prix and similar higher profile
meets. N3, the second and highest National level in a position, is likewise
administered by the National Officials Committee and recognizes that
an official has the experience, skills, and knowledge to be considered
for selection to work National Championship level meets in the position.
Requirements for progression to N2 and N3 levels in the positions of
Stroke and Turn Judge, Chief Judge, Starter, Deck Referee, and Administrative
Referee can be found on the USA
N2 or N3?
The 2012 Sport Fair Winter Classic has been approved by USA
Swimming as an Officials Qualifying Meet for N2 and N3 certification.
The meet will include opportunities to be observed for N2 and N3 certification
in most positions
Why would you want to attain National certification as an N2
or N3 official?
- To have the satisfaction that you’re recognized as
a highly motivated official who demonstrates superior performance
standards on deck.
- To receive practical constructive feedback regarding your
performance from very experienced nationally-recognized officials.
- To qualify to work at higher level meets. N2 certification
recognizes that an official is experienced and has been evaluated
as capable of working the position at Sectional, Zone, Grand Prix
and similar higher profile meets. N3 certification recognizes that
an official has the experience, skills and knowledge to be considered
for selection to work at National Championship level meets in the
- To strengthen and enrich the sport of Swimming and Swim
Officiating in the National Capital area.
- To be viewed as a mentor by your fellow officials.
- To help insure that all swimmers, from novice to Olympian,
will have the most professional, most consistent, and fairest officiating
Complete requirements for progression to N2 and N3 levels in
the positions of Stroke and Turn Judge, Chief Judge, Starter, Deck Referee,
and Administrative Referee can be found on the USA
You Make the Call
The Starter invites the field to assume their starting positions
by saying “take your mark.” A swimmer leaves the set or
stationary position prior to the starter activating the starting signal.
The swimmer, upon realizing the early starting motion, attempts to catch
himself. The Starter says “stand please” after observing
the athlete leave the set or stationary position. The other swimmers
stand, but the offending swimmer struggles and falls into the pool.
Is this a false start?
See the answer at the bottom of this
Are You New?
can be easy to get lost if you’re a new PVS official, but your
first point of contact should be your club’s Officials Chair.
If you don’t know who that individual is, you can find the listing
Club Officials Chair can provide you with additional information on
what officiating positions are available, as well as when and where
training clinics are held.
Just because your club doesn’t host meets doesn’t
mean that you’re not needed. Many of our clubs don’t have
enough officials to host a meet on their own. By working together and
working at each other’s meets, we all make sure that we have a
sufficient number of officials and that no particular individual is
For those officials who were in “the first wave” of completing
the USA Swimming criminal background check in 2010, you will need to
renew your background check in January or February of 2013. Check your
registration card on OTS for your expiration date.
The criminal background check is an integral part of USA Swimming’s
efforts to foster a safe and positive environment for our athletes.
Renewing your Level 2 background check is easy. Simply go to the USA
Swimming website (Member Resources > Safe Sport > Screening
and Selection). Complete directions can be found at http://usaswimming.org/backgroundcheck.
Assuming this is a renewal, you will choose “Option 2: If you
need to renew your USA Swimming background check” and follow the
prompts. As was the case with the initial screening, a fee is charged
by AISS for the background check. Once again, the PVS Board of Directors
has generously committed to reimbursing qualified officials who request
reimbursement using the form on the PVS website.
Did You Know?
The suggested Timers’ Briefing has been updated. It’s a
lot more concise and conversational. See it on the PVS
Track of Sessions
Potomac Valley Swimming uses USA Swimming’s Officials Tracking
System to maintain the records of sessions worked by officials
at PVS meets. For each meet, the Meet Referee or the host club’s
Officials Chair is responsible for recording the sessions worked for
all officials at the meet. It is recommended that you verify your record
in the OTS a week or two after the conclusion of the meet at which you
work, to be sure that the information is correct. If there is a discrepancy,
please contact the Meet Referee.
The complete User’s
Guide for the Officials Tracking System can be found on the USA
Swimming website. Information
for Meet Referees regarding the simple procedures for recording
officials’ participation at your meet can likewise be found on
the USA Swimming website. View your history of meets, tests, and other
activities by logging in to your account, and going to Member Resources
> Officials Tracking System > View My History.
hear a lot these days about “urban legends,” that modern
form of folklore consisting of so-called facts that can rarely be traced
to a source, but are sufficiently plausible to believed by many reasonable
people. Swimming officials have their brand of urban legends, some of
which we can dispel.
“Stroke and turn judges must have their right foot
forward when observing the pool.” While it is recommended
that judges put one foot slightly forward in order to better balance
themselves (and to avoid falling into the pool!), there is no right
or wrong foot to put forward.
“This is national protocol!” I’ve
had the privilege to have worked a dozen national championship-level
meets and numerous Sectional and Zone meets, and I can verify there
is no one single set of protocols and procedures. Each meet has its
own protocol, set by the Meet Referee. He/she takes into account the
idiosyncrasies of the venue, the staffing, the equipment, etc. I’ve
worked meets where the protocol changed in the midst of the meet because
a better solution was found.
“Briefings must be read verbatim.” Stroke
briefings and timer briefings must be complete and thorough, but they
don’t necessarily need to be read word for word. If it’s
a stroke briefing, keep it rules-based and avoid adding your own interpretations
and emphasis. Keep the briefing conversational and try to make occasional
eye contact with the judges or timers.
“No artificial assistance is permitted in Freestyle.”
If “artificial” means something other than pure swimming,
this is simply not true. The rulebook never mentions “artificial
assistance”; it only prohibits walking on or springing from the
bottom of the pool and grasping lane dividers to assist forward motion.
One could argue that pushing off the wall with the feet is not swimming
and thus artificial assistance—but it’s perfectly legal.
Distance freestylers in the pool can legally engage in drafting, swimming
closely behind another swimmer in order to ride their wake.
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
Resolution to ‘You Make
While the Starter said “Stand please,” that does not change
the false start result. Article 101.1.3A is clear that the “Stand”
command is for the benefit of the other swimmers on the starting blocks.
When the stand command is issued, the athletes have the option of standing
or stepping off the blocks. The offending swimmer did neither. This
is a false start.
Note: the USA Swimming Officials Committee has issued guidance
on judging false starts, which can be found on the USA