"Around the Deck" masthead

Summer, 2013

Summer Swimming
The summer swimming season is upon us. Summer swimming is where most of our kids started with the sport; summer swimming is where many of us started as officials. It was nearly 25 years ago this summer that my oldest started swimming. I remember watching in amazement that season as she quickly learned the four strokes. It took a little longer for her to master the art of diving into the pool, but by the end of the summer she could start just like the big kids. That was also the summer that one of the senior officials recruited me to be a timer. After my initial resistance, I discovered that I genuinely enjoyed the experience. The following season, another official invited me to attend the clinic and become a deck official. That’s how it starts. Maybe you have a similar story. Never forget that you are the best ambassador for our ranks. You are the prime agent to recruit new officials. Make it a goal to recruit at least one new official this summer.

Upcoming Meets

June 2013

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
31-2 SNOW LC Invitational Claude Moore Mike Ryan
31-2 Maryland State LC Championships Rockville Jim Garner
8-9 FISH June LC Invitational
Fairland Alan Goldblatt
16 PVS Senior/Age Group I
Lee District
Cherylynn Venit
Stewart Gordon
23 PVS LC Distance Meet Fairland Mark Harris
30 PVS Senior/Age Group II Fairland
Lee District
Randy Bowman
John Kost

July 2011

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
11-14 PVS LC Age Group Championships Univ. of Maryland Amy Hsu
18-21 PVS LC Senior Championships Univ. of Maryland Mike Rubin
18-21 PVS LC Junior Championships Univ. of Maryland Scott Witkin

August 2011

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
1-4 Eastern Zone Super Sectional Buffalo, NY Eastern Zone
7-10 Eastern Zone LC Championships Richmond, VA Eastern Zone


Summer Championship Meets
Long course season culminates with several championship meets in July. As always, championship meets require championship officiating. While walk-ons are always welcome, it’s 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 LC Age Group Championships will be held at the University of Maryland July 11-14. The application to work at this meet can be found on the PVS website. You must apply no later than July 4 for specific deck positions.

PVS LC Senior Championships will be held July 18-21 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 July 11 for specific deck positions. However, late applications and walk-ins are also welcome and will be assigned to available positions. This meet will be our only Officials Qualifying Meet of the long course season, offering the opportunity for formal evaluation at the N2 or N3 levels. Our lead evaluator for this meet will be Jamy Pfister. Jamy is a long-time official who has held many leadership positions in USA Swimming. She is a member of the Rules and Regulations Committee and currently serves as Eastern Zone Officials Chair. Any official interested in being evaluated at Senior Champs must apply in advance. Complete information regarding the National Certification program is available on the USA Swimming website.

Concurrent with Senior Champs, PVS LC Junior Championships will likewise be held July 18-21 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 July 5 for assigned deck 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.


It’s Part of the Uniform!
Please remember that your current USA Swimming registration card must be displayed anytime you’re on deck. It’s an essential part of the uniform.


Election for PVS Officials Representative
Since 2007, the PVS Officials have had a voting representative on the Board of Directors. Mike Rubin is the current representative and his term expires this year. Mike is eligible for a second term and plans to run for re-election. If you wish to run for this position as PVS Officials Representative, please send a brief bio/statement to Tim Husson no later than July 1.

In early July, all PVS Officials will receive an email containing a voting token and a link to the online election. Each official is allowed one vote. The voting will begin on the first day of the PVS LC Age Group Championships (July 11) and end on the last day of PVS LC Junior/Senior Championships (July 21). The new term begins on September 1.


You Make the Call
A coach is teaching his swimmers to do what he believes is a faster technique of getting to the wall on the breaststroke finish. He wants his swimmers, when they are inside of the backstroke flags, to stay completely under the water and not take any breaths. It takes several complete cycles while wholly submerged before the swimmers touch. Is this legal?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


USA Swimming Registration
Since 2006, PVS has generously paid the USA Swimming registration renewal fee for eligible officials. The PVS Officials Committee has recently clarified the policy regarding eligibility for this benefit. Starting with 2014 renewals, PVS will pay the USA Swimming registration renewal for certified officials who work a minimum of 10 sessions at PVS-sanctioned meets (approved/observed meets are not counted) during the calendar year, as recorded in OTS. Officials who don’t meet the eligibility requirements are responsible for payment of the USA Swimming registration fee, but can consult their club to determine any reimbursement on the club level.


PVS Camera Policy
In April, 2010, Potomac Valley Swimming’s Board of Directors adopted a policy to help protect the safety and privacy of our swimmers: “The use of equipment capable of taking pictures (eg., cameras, cellular phones, PDAs, etc.) will be banned behind the starting blocks during all meets sanctioned by PVS. Use of these devices will not be permitted behind the blocks during warm up or competition.”
If a violation is noted, the Referee directs the person to put the device away or leave the deck area immediately behind the starting blocks. If an athlete is involved, he/she will work through the coach for enforcement. Enforcement of this restriction does not extend into raised spectator areas that are directly behind starting blocks. However, officials will continue prohibiting the use of flash photography from any location during the time swimmers are on the starting blocks.


The Swimming Scholarship
The athletic scholarship is considered by many parents and swimmers to be the holy grail of our sport. But have you ever wondered how many swimming scholarships actually exist? Have you ever wondered what the odds of receiving one are? CollegeSwimming.com ran the numbers recently. Here are their findings:

  • There are approximately 1,685 men’s and 3,117 women’s swimming scholarships available. Of those, approximately one-third are awarded each season (roughly 561 for men and 1,037 for women).
  • There are approximately 26,000 male high school seniors and 32,200 female high school seniors who swim or dive.
  • Out of all high school swimmers, one out of every 14.5 will swim in college and one out of every 13.2 girls will swim in college.
  • Scholarships can be divided among multiple swimmers, so it is difficult to determine the precise percentage of college swimmers currently receiving a scholarship.
  • Only Division I and II schools can offer scholarships. 44% of all college swimmers swim at a Division III school and therefore receive no scholarship whatsoever.

Want to learn more about swimming in college? Check out USA Swimming’s resources at: http://www.usaswimming.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabId=2071&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en


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.


So You’re Going to a National Meet
Congratulations! You’ve been selected to work at your first National meet: a National Championship, a Junior National Championship, or a U.S. Open. What can you expect?

Your acceptance communication likely includes information regarding hotel recommendations. Generally it’s best to stay at the recommended hotel—it’s where most of the other officials will be staying. This hotel is usually close to the pool and has a rate negotiated by USA Swimming. You probably also received information regarding the uniform, which can be very different from that worn at a PVS meet.

Get to know the other officials. Some will be very experienced, others will be first-timers like you, but all will be among the most dedicated and talented officials in the country. Share ideas and stories; learn from some of the best. When you introduce yourself, most officials from other parts of the country will not recognize the initials “PVS.” My usual speech is “I’m from Potomac Valley Swimming: Washington, D.C. and its nearby suburbs.” And when socializing, be sure to change into something other than your deck uniform.

Be on time for all meetings, briefings, and assignments. Prior to the first session, the officials’ meeting will include a detailed formal stroke briefing. For subsequent sessions, the briefings will likely be more low key. Be sure you understand your assignment, your jurisdiction, and all the protocols in place. Any questions should be directed to the Chief Judges rather than the Referees.

Enjoy the Hospitality Room, but remember that we share the space with coaches, staff, and dignitaries. This is not the place to discuss calls or personalities.

If at all possible, work time trials each day. It’s usually a short session, and it’s always appreciated.

Expect some fast swimming. Even in these “post-technical suit” days, records are frequently broken at these meets. And even though well-known Olympians and other celebrities may be on deck, it is critical that you focus on your assignment during each heat. There will be plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere between heats.

It’s absolutely exhilarating to work with some of the fastest swimmers and finest officials in the country. Enjoy the experience!


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
No, it’s not legal. During the swim some part of the swimmer’s head must break the surface of the water at least once during each complete cycle of one arm stroke and one leg kick. Additionally, at the turn and finish, the head may be submerged after the last arm pull prior to the touch, provided it breaks the surface of the water at some point during any part of the last complete or incomplete cycle preceding the touch.