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.
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 entry and registration process
- Clerk of Course
- Timing Equipment Operator
- Scoring personnel
- Other administrative personnel
Shall be responsible to the Referee for:
- The accurate processing of entries and scratches.
- Accurate seeding of preliminary, semi-final and final heats.
- Determination and recording of official time.
- 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
- 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.
- Unless otherwise directed, notifying the Referee whenever
a time obtained by the primary timing system cannot be used as
the Official Time.
- Recording disqualifications approved by the Referee.
- Determination of the official results.
- 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
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
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.
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.
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
Tracy Caulkins is the only swimmer ever, man
or woman, to own American records in every stroke.
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
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).
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.
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
- Semi-Automatic Timing - This
type of timing uses an electronic timing system without touchpads.
The primary timing system is buttons, with stopwatch backup.
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.
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.
When using Manual Timing as the primary system, three stopwatches
per lane are required, each operated by a separate timer.
No wiggle room on this. Three timers per lane, each operating
a stopwatch, are a must.
Resolution to ‘You Make
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.