NOVEMBER 13, 1997


The meeting was called to order at 7:00. Present were John Hirschmann, Chairman, Arvydas Barzdukas, Lynn Black, Bob Brofft, Marty Cohen, Thirl Crudup, Tyanna Ertter, Dick Griffith, Jack Mechler, and Frank Persico.


Minutes of the October 9, 1997 Officials Committee meeting were distributed and accepted without amendment.

Gathering at Army-Navy Country Club

This was briefly reviewed and judged to have been successful. We would like to encourage more participation by Meet Directors and Club Equipment Support people next year.

Officials Clinics

The first round of officials clinics were well-attended at the several sites and times. The large turn-out at Herndon by one club was particularly noteworthy. Lynn Black observed that many of the participants requested clarification on the overall process for becoming certified. She suggested that we summarize the certification steps clearly in a check list on the first page of the exam materials. This would itemize which tests to complete for the position sought, how to complete the test (correct answer and rule book citation), how many sessions to work and how they get recorded, and where to mail the completed "green card" and test. Arvydas indicated that he would take a cut at producing such a check list.

One problem that surfaced at the recent stroke and turn clinic involved providing effective instruction for the large turnout at the Herndon clinic. With over 40 attendees, it was difficult for all to see and hear the instructors, especially at the pool side demonstration session. Several suggestions were offered, including breaking into multiple smaller groups, using a wireless microphone and/or a Colorado starting system to address the group, and providing more of the instruction in the class before doing the swimmer demonstrations.

It was noted that the next round of clinics scheduled for January will not include first time Referee, or Meet Director classes. It was confirmed at the meeting that Arvydas will continue to conduct the Starters clinic, Marty and John will run the Referees clinic, and Lynn and Boots will do the Stroke & Turn clinics. Separately, it was reported that Don Smith is planning to set up the clinic for preparing meet entries, since Jeannette Lewis is no longer performing that function.

The continuing uneven success rates of clubs in recruiting officials (compared to their numbers of registered athletes) was again noted and updated figures were provided to the Committee members.

Operations Support

Don Smith has reportedly developed several alternatives for mounting the Colorado starting unit, and/or the 360-degree strobe, that include attaching the unit to the pole that suspends the backstroke flags. Some concerns were raised about the impact of such fixed placement on hearing-impaired backstrokers, and other issues related to various pool deck designs. After discussion, the Officials Committee concluded that the current Colorado legs or tripod should continue to be sent out with the starting unit. After consultation with the Meet Manager, the Referee and Starter should use their discretion in placement of the unit based on the pool configuration and needs of the competitors.

Report on Competition Committee Meeting

John Hirschmann reported on several decisions of the Competition Committee. These included:

A change to a 3˝ day format for the Spring and Summer Senior Champs meets, with distance events on Thursday evening. This was subsequently expanded to include the Spring Junior Championships.

Relays will be limited to a maximum of 2 entries per team, with no-slower-than qualification times. These times can be actuals achieved by that relay, or the sum of the best times for the 4 swimmers in the individual events making up the relay. Times are subject to verification. Relay swimmers do not have to be entered in individual events in the meet.

A new warm up policy is called for in championship meets. For open warm ups, 30 minutes into the session, lane 2 becomes a sprint lane, and lane 8 is opened for pace. At 45 minutes, lane 7 converts to sprint, and lane 1 converts to pace. Some coaches have requested that additional lanes not be converted from general warm ups. For assigned lane warm ups, the usage of each lane will be controlled by the coaches in the lanes.

Safety Committee

Lynn Black reported that the Safety Committee has not met formally yet. Several potential topics that the Officials Committee might like the Safety Committee to address were reviewed. These included “over the top” starts, being able to use life guards as marshals, and updating the pool survey. The issue of whether to allow warm ups in the “non-lanes” that exist outside the regular course in certain pools was added to the list. After discussion, we agreed to take the issue of shaving at the meet site out of consideration for the Safety Committee. We felt that each facility’s policy regarding shaving should control. Many members felt that policing the locker rooms is not within the purview of the deck officials. With regard to forthcoming meets, if it is pool policy to not permit shaving, we recommended that coaches be notified and requested to have their athletes do any desired shaving prior to coming to the pool.

Meet Advisory Committee

The committee recommended using an Advisory Committee to advise the Meet Referee concerning unexpected issues that could affect the conduct of competition during meets. The intent is to be better prepared to react quickly and equitably to circumstances that might require changing the timing, structure, or format of the remainder of the meet. For JOs, this group would likely consist of several PVS coaches , the Meet Director, the Meet Referee, and a representative of the facility. For senior meets, an athlete would also be included. Separate Advisory Committees would be appointed for each site of JOs.

"Yield" of new officials

John Hirschmann led a discussion of the trends in certification of parents attending PVS clinics, and then going on to complete the deck sessions and the written test. He presented figures culled from the last 2 years, showing some significant declines in the numbers coming out the end of the process, compared to earlier years. Stroke & Turn judges who used to "graduate" between 55 to 60 percent of clinic attendees, are now running much lower, but some of the decline may be explained by "trainees still in process". Refs and Starters who used to graduate between 60 and 85 percent, now are running around 30 to 35 percent. Several reasons were offered, including the increased training session requirements initiated by USS, and the perception that if you qualify as Starter, you won’t get many chances to work.

Regarding Starter opportunities, John Hirschmann observed that Nationals routinely uses multiple Starters, and we should not hesitate to use multiple starters as long as each can get at least an hour of starts, and all Starters employ consistent commands and cadence. Tyanna Ertter, Frank Persico, and Bob Brofft volunteered to canvass several of the Starter “drop outs” via phone to gather insight regarding why they didn’t finish. Coaches and club Officials Chairs should be asked to encourage more parents to train and become certified.

Starter evaluations

The recently adopted formal evaluation process for new starters has begun to be used, and initial feedback is positive. Jack Mechler and Dick Griffith have used it, and felt that it was positively received, both by the evaluator and the Starter being evaluated.

New initiatives
  • Several proposed initiatives and issues were briefly discussed and resolved as follows:
  • Dave Davis Memorial Fund

    Arvydas Barzdukas, who accepted the USS Pettigrew Award on behalf of Dave, will present it to the Davis family at one of the JO finals sessions. In addition, approximately $8,000 has been contributed to the Davis Memorial Fund. Ideas for appropriate uses are being solicited. Some suggestions included: partial sponsorship of PVS officials attending (and successfully working) their first National Champ meet; development and publication of a Dave Davis swimming officials training manual; or some form of scholarship fund for PVS athletes. Members were asked to consider these and other ideas, and bring ideas to the next meeting.

    E-mail coordination

    Most members noted they have appreciated the convenience of coordinating committee activities via e- mail. Lynn Black suggested that we all form the habit of sending a simple acknowledgment reply to messages received, as there is no other way the sender can be sure that the message reached the recipient.

    Next meeting

    The next meeting is scheduled for 7:00 pm on 9 December at the INOVA facility in Fairfax. The primary purpose will be to staff the JO meet.