"Around the Deck" masthead

March, 2013

It’s the Championship Season!
March means championships—and lots of them! PVS athletes of all ages have been working hard and gearing-up for these meets all season. There will definitely be some fast times and memorable races this month! We need you to make the meets a success for our swimmers. Championship meets require championship officiating—can we count on your help?


Upcoming Meets

March 2013

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
7-10 PVS Senior Championships GMU Mike Rubin
7-10 PVS Junior Championships GMU David Merkin
9-10 RMSC Mini Championships Olney Swim Center Scott Witkin
14-17 PVS 14 & U Junior Olympic Championships Univ. of MD Stewart Gordon
21-24 Speedo Championship Series
Eastern Zone Northern Sectional Meet
Buffalo, NY Eastern Zone
21-24 Speedo Championship Series
Eastern Zone Southern Sectional Meet

Christiansburg, VA Eastern Zone
22-24 RMSC Spring Finale Germantown Tim McIlmail
22-24 MSSC Spring Championships Fairland Lynne Gerlach
28-30 Eastern Zone SC Championships Webster, NY Eastern Zone


Spring Championship Meets
Short course season culminates with several championship meets this month, one of which will afford officials the opportunity to be evaluated for National certification. While walk-ons are always welcome, it is especially helpful to have the roster completed before the meet. If you know if and when you can help, please go online and submit an application to officiate.

PVS Senior Championships will be held March 7-10 at George Mason University. Officials wishing to work at this meet should submit the application found on the PVS website. You must apply no later than March 1 for specific deck positions. However, late applications and walk-ins are also welcome and will be assigned to available positions.

PVS Senior Championships will be an “Officials Qualifying Meet,” offering the opportunity for formal evaluation at both the N2 and N3 levels. Any official interested in being evaluated at this championship meet must apply in advance. Our lead evaluator for this meet will be Paul Maker. Paul is an experienced official who has held many leadership positions in USA Swimming.

Concurrent with Senior Champs, PVS Junior Championships will likewise be held March 7-10 at George Mason University. Officials wishing to work at this meet should submit the application found on the PVS website. You must apply no later than March 1 for assigned deck positions. This meet is separate from Senior Champs and is held under a separate sanction, although the finals sessions will be swum combined with the finals of Senior Champs.

On the following weekend, March 14-17, PVS 14 & Under Junior Olympic Championships will be held at the University of Maryland. Officials wishing to work at this meet should submit the application found on the PVS website. You must apply no later than March 8 for specific deck positions. Once again, late applications and walk-ins are welcome and will be assigned to available positions.


Uniform for Championship Meets
The PVS Officials Committee has established a standard uniform for PVS Championship meets: white polo shirt over navy blue shorts, trousers, or skirt for Prelims; light blue oxford shirt over navy blue trousers or skirt for Finals.


You Make the Call
In a 200-yard freestyle event, a swimmer asks the referee if he can swim the backstroke. The referee replies that he can but that the time can only be used as a freestyle time. At the referee’s long whistle the swimmer enters the water to do a backstroke start. The referee signals to the starter that the field is his and the starter starts the race. Was this correct?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


Yes, It’s Confusing!
In recent years USA Swimming has increased the requirements to serve as a deck official at its swim meets. And since each of these requirements has a different expiration date, it can be confusing to keep track of them all.

There are four requirements to serve on deck as a PVS official:

  1. PVS (or other LSC) Certification, Article 102.10.2
  2. USA Swimming Membership, Article 202.3.3
  3. Criminal Background Check, Article 502.6.1, Article 502.6.3
  4. Athlete Protection Training Course, Article 502.6.1, Article 502.6.3

You can view the expiration dates for each of these requirements on your online certification card. Simply sign-in to your account on the USA Swimming website, and under “Member Resources” choose “Officials Tracking System.” Then click “My Certification Card.”

B/C is your Criminal Background Check expiration date; Reg is USA Swimming registration; APT stands for Athlete Protection Training course. PVS certification for each position is also indicated on this card.

Keep track of these expiration dates. Please remember that you are not permitted to work on deck as an official unless all four are current and up-to-date.


The 15-Meter Rule
We all know that, in the Freestyle, Backstroke, and Butterfly, a swimmer may be submerged at the start and after each turn, provided that the swimmer’s head surfaces by the 15 meter mark. Why was that rule established? It was after the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. David Berkoff, of the U.S. developed a technique in backstroke that enabled him to dolphin-kick underwater on his back until well past the 35-meter mark. He would disappear at the start and reappear a body length ahead of the rivals almost at the end of the first length. He arrived in Seoul as world record holder and favorite for the 100m Backstroke. However, Daichi Suzuki of Japan had been practicing the technique in secret, and beat Berkoff at his own game. Fearing a race in which all eight finalists would spend much of the race out of sight, FINA, the world governing body, adopted the rule to require the swimmer to surface no more than 15 meters from the wall out of starts and turns.


Work a Meet Outside Our LSC - by Morgan Hurley
While every USA Swimming sanctioned meet follows the same set of rules, many local swimming committees (LSCs) run their meets differently than we do in PVS. Working at a meet outside PVS can provide a great opportunity to see how other LSCs operate, and in the process learn from the experience. We’re fortunate to have several other LSCs within close proximity (Maryland Swimming, Virginia Swimming, and Middle Atlantic Swimming, to name a few.) Their meets can be within a relatively short drive - in some cases at the same pools where PVS-sanctioned meets are held! Links to all LSC websites can be found at http://www.pvswim.org/pvs_link.htm#lsc.

Higher-level meets (zone, sectional, or national-level meets) also provide excellent learning opportunities for those who hold the appropriate national certifications. Travel assistance is available; see http://www.pvswim.org/bod061108_ofc_travel.htm.


Questions? Suggestions?
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 Neill.


Where Are They Now?
Last month we updated some of the male Olympians. This month let’s catch up with some of our female Olympians.

  • Shirley Babashoff: One of the top U.S. swimmers at the 1976 Games, Shirley was often described as a “sore loser” by the media because of her public accusations of drug cheating by the East German swimmers. It was later proven that many East German athletes were using performance-enhancing drugs. She still won 8 medals over two Olympics. She now works for the U.S. Postal Service and lives in Southern California.
  • Tracy Caulkins: Tracy won three gold medals in 1984. Certainly the most versatile swimmer that has ever represented the USA, she set American records in all four strokes over a range of distances as well as in several IM events. Tracy is married with three children and lives in Australia.
  • Janet Evans: 5-time Olympic medalist of the 1988 and 1992 Games, Janet was known for her unorthodox “windmill” stroke and her apparently inexhaustible cardio-respiratory reserves. She is a motivational speaker, swim clinician, and author. She lives in Laguna Beach, CA with her husband and two children.
  • Jenny Thompson: Jenny won 12 medals (8 of them gold), swimming in four Olympic Games. She earned a medical degree in 2006 from Columbia University. She is married and is currently an anesthesiologist in Portland, Maine. Her childhood hometown of Dover, NH has a public swimming pool named in her honor.
  • Amy Van Dyken: Amy was a 6-time Olympic Gold medalist. She coached swimming for several years but now works in broadcasting. She was the morning drive-time host on a Phoenix radio station as a part of “Chris and Amy in the Morning.” Currently she is the co-host of Fox Sports Radio’s Fox Sports Tonight. She is married to former NFL punter, Tom Rouen.
  • Summer Sanders: Summer won three medals in the 1992 Olympics. She now works in broadcasting and is married with two children (you can often see them on the USA Swimming website). She is also a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador.


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
No. In the freestyle events the forward start must be used. However, as the starter and referee allowed the swimmer to start in the water, the swimmer cannot be disqualified for starting in the water.