"Around the Deck" masthead

April/May, 2013

Thank You!
The PVS Officials Committee would like to thank you for your participation and hard work at swim meets throughout the short course season. When the inevitable call goes out for officials, you always respond. You are absolutely essential to our sport, and we are grateful for your dedication, your professionalism, and your generous donation of time in support of our athletes.


Upcoming Meets

April 2013

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
6-7 MAKO Spring Invitational GMU Tony Fitz
12-14 March Madness OakMarr Ben Holly
20 10&U Spring Penguin Meet Fairland Cherlynn Venit
20-21 Spring Sprints Invitational South Run William Deniston
21 ERSC Spring Championship Invitational PGCC Mike Miller
26-28 Machine LC Classic Lee District Stewart Gordon

May 2013

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
3-5 Spring LC Kick-Off KSAC Izumi Horikawa
3 SNOW SC Spring Classic Invitational Claude Moore Mike Ryan
4-5 SNOW LC Classic Invitational Claude Moore Mike Ryan
4-5 LC Derby Meet GMU Alan Goldblatt
4-5 Early Bird LC Invitational Fairland Lynne Gerlach
11-12 May Mini Olympics Madeira  
24-26 Virginia State LC Championships Oak Marr Brian Baker
31-2 SNOW LC Invitational Claude Moore Mike Ryan
31-2 Maryland State LC Championships Rockville  


The Administrative Official
As you are probably aware, USA Swimming has added a new position to the list of officials required for a session--the Administrative Official.

As per Article 102.14, the Administrative Official:

Shall be responsible to the Referee for the supervision of the following:

  1. The entry and registration process
  2. Clerk of Course
  3. Timing Equipment Operator
  4. Scoring personnel
  5. Other administrative personnel

Shall be responsible to the Referee for:

  1. The accurate processing of entries and scratches.
  2. Accurate seeding of preliminary, semi-final and final heats.
  3. Determination and recording of official time.
    1. Receiving and reviewing the automatic and/or semi-automatic timing results from the Timing Equipment Operator and comparing primary timing results with the back-up timing results to determine their validity.
    2. Receiving the times recorded by the Head Lane Timers from the Chief Timer and the order of finish data from the Place Judges and using that data to the extent needed to determine the official time for each swimmer.
    3. Unless otherwise directed, notifying the Referee whenever a time obtained by the primary timing system cannot be used as the Official Time.
    4. Recording disqualifications approved by the Referee.
  4. Determination of the official results.
  5. Publication and posting of results and scores.

This is NOT a new position; it has been in the rulebook for many years. What’s different now is that: 1) the position is required by rule to be filled for all sessions; 2) this official may not simultaneously serve as Deck Referee, Starter, or any other deck position; and 3) the person serving in this role must be a USA Swimming non-athlete member and must be certified by the LSC. There are several layers to this, but effectively the requirements will be seen on deck starting September 1, 2013.

Essentially this official supervises and is responsible for the “dry side” of the meet. This official may also serve as the principal HyTek operator, ETS operator, or Timing Judge for the session, but is accountable for ensuring that all the administrative and timing rules of USA Swimming are followed. The Administrative Official may not fill a position on the “wet side” during the session.

While this official could certainly be an Administrative Referee, there is no requirement for him/her to be a certified referee. However it is required that this official must be certified by the LSC in this position. Currently certified PVS Referees have completed all requirements for the position and will be considered certified as Administrative Officials. The Committee is finalizing the process for other officials to become certified in the position. We hope to announce the details very soon. Please note that certification as a HyTek or an Electronic Timing System operator does not constitute certification as an Administrative Official.


Lead/Lag Judging
Lead/Lag Judging uses four stroke judges, two judges walking each side of the pool. When there are sufficient judges, this method insures more consistent observation of all swimmers. How does it work? In a typical wall-to-wall jurisdiction, the lead judge normally starts at the 15m mark while the lag judge is positioned between the 15m mark and the start end. As the heat begins, the lag judge watches the initial strokes and kicks while the lead judge observes that the swimmers conform to the 15m rule (except, of course, in breaststroke). Once the swimmers have all passed the 15m mark, both judges follow them down the course, observing strokes and kicks. As the swimmers separate, the two judges likewise separate to maintain balanced observation, typically with lead judge observing the two lead swimmers in the jurisdiction while the lag judge observes the two lag swimmers (assuming an eight-lane pool and assuming the swimmers have not separated 3-1 or 1-3). As the swimmers approach the turn end of the pool, the lag judge stops at the turn end 15m mark while the lead judge continues the observation into the turn and the initial actions of the second leg of the race. As the swimmers head back toward the start end, the lag judge becomes lead and the lead judge becomes lag. This coordination continues until the race finishes.


You Make the Call
Just prior to the start of the 50-Yard Freestyle and after the command is given to “Take your mark” the Lane 4 swimmer twitches his right knee. Reacting to the movement, the Lane 5 swimmer takes off. No starting signal has been given. What is the ruling?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


National Certification
A reminder that after you have received a successful evaluation at a National Qualifying Meet, you are not automatically re-certified or advanced. There are other requirements that may also need to be met. These include participation in LSC meets, continuing education as an official, mentoring of other officials, National Championship meet experience, depending upon the position and the level of certification sought. Specific requirements can be found on the USA Swimming website. National Certification also requires that you submit the online Application for Certification found within the Officials Tracking System on the USA Swimming website.


Did You Know?
Tracy Caulkins is the only swimmer ever, man or woman, to own American records in every stroke.


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 or comments to the newsletter editor, Jack Neill.


How Many?
How many timers are required for a swim meet? How many are recommended? It depends on the type of timing system used for the session. The timing rules are defined in Article 102.24 in the USA Swimming rulebook. There are three possible primary timing systems: Automatic (touchpads), Semi-Automatic (electronic button finish), and Manual (stopwatches). The requirements for timers are different for each of these cases.

  • Automatic Timing - This is the type of timing used at most PVS meets. Timers are necessary to operate the required backup timing systems (semi-automatic and manual).
    • Requirements
      When Automatic Timing is used as the primary system, a minimum of one timer is required to operate both the secondary (button) and tertiary (stopwatch) backup systems.
    • Recommendation
      Having to operate a backup button, a watch, and handle the clipboard can be extremely cumbersome for a timer, particularly when doing dive-over starts with a 15 sec. heat interval. So, the recommendation is for a minimum of two timers; one timer operates a stopwatch and button, the other timer operates a button and handles the clipboard.
  • Semi-Automatic Timing - This type of timing uses an electronic timing system without touchpads. The primary timing system is buttons, with stopwatch backup.
    • Requirements
      When Semi-Automatic Timing is used as the primary system, a minimum of two buttons is required. Each must be operated by a separate timer. A backup consisting of at least one stopwatch is also required.
    • Recommendation
      The recommendation is for a minimum of two timers; one timer operates a stopwatch and button, the other timer operates a button and handles the clipboard.
  • Manual Timing - This type of timing uses stopwatches only.
    • Requirements
      When using Manual Timing as the primary system, three stopwatches per lane are required, each operated by a separate timer.
    • Recommendation
      No wiggle room on this. Three timers per lane, each operating a stopwatch, are a must.


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
If it is determined that this swimmer started before the start signal and both the starter and referee confirm this, the swimmer in Lane
5 should be disqualified, assuming there were no extenuating circumstances (a camera flash, a noise, etc.). If the starter and referee both saw the movement in Lane 4 as well and judged that it was a starting action, the swimmer in Lane 4 should also be disqualified.