PVS Officials

USA Swimming Officials Newsletter
February 20, 2013

In This Issue
1. Officials updates
2. Are you ready for your close-up?
3. Role of the reserve official
4. How would you handle this situation?

Hope you can join us at these upcoming meets:

Mesa –  April 11-13, 2013
Charlotte – May 9-12, 2013
Santa Clara
– May 30-June 2, 2013

Open Water Nationals/World Championship Trials – May 17 & 19, 2013
Phillips 66 National Championships/World Championship Trials – June 25-29, 2013
US Open Championships – July-Aug. 3, 2013
Speedo Junior Nationals
– Aug. 5-9, 2013

Join us on Facebook
Welcome to the Officials Newsletter. The purpose of this newsletter is to provide a foundation that allows for direct on-going communication with each of you. Articles will cover the technical rules and interpretations, situations, application deadlines for upcoming meets, news from the Official Committee, etc. If you have any feedback, comments or suggestions for stories (or even want to submit an article), please e-mail us at officials@usaswimming.org.

In addition to the articles in this newsletter, I want to give you a few updates from the National Officials Committee:

Rule 102.10.2 states in pertinent part: "All officials acting in the capacity of Referee, Starter, Administrative Official, or Stroke and Turn Judge at a swimming meet SHALL be certified in such position by their LSC prior to being assigned to officiate in that capacity." Thus, the requirement applies to all meets, and that is further confirmed by the language in rule 102.10.4 that expressly requires the Administrative Official for dual meets.  The "should" language in rule 102.10.3 is an accommodation to allow meets to be held when each of the positions listed in the rule cannot be filled. Place Judges, Clerk of Course, and an Announcer are luxuries, for example. The Administrative Official IS NOT.

Note, the Referee and Administrative Official are separately dealt with in Rule 102.10.3 as officials who can act in only one capacity. That means effective September 1 of this year, the minimum number of officials needed for both regular meets and dual meets will increase by one.   The Education Subcommittee has developed an overview and certification requirements for the position on the website.  It can be found here.

There will be four national Championship meets this summer – Open Water Nationals, Phillips 66 Nationals/World Championship Trials, US Open and Speedo Junior Nationals. Applications for these meets can be found on the USA Swimming Website. Please check your calendars and come join us for these important events.

A number of years ago, minimum standard guidelines were established with a consensus of the LSC Officials Chairs; however each LSC may set its own requirements above and beyond these. Therefore, it’s best to contact your LSC Officials Chair with questions about your local certifications.

Look forward to hearing from you.
Clark Hammond, National Officials Chair

Are You Ready for Your Close-up?
By Mary Jo Swalley, Southern California Swimming

There are many ways to look at a swim meet, but join me at this Oscar time of year to view your next swim meet as a movie production.  Successful movies depend on teamwork across a wide array of tasks and talents just as a successful meet does.  The movie industry depends on successful movies to expand; our sport needs successful meets to expand.

Envision the host and the meet director as the producers; the meet referee as the movie director; the administrative referee as the executive producer.  There is the commissary (hospitality), the set (facility), the production crew (leadership team and deck officials), and, most importantly, the cast starring the athletes and the supporting cast (coaches).

Why do we want a successful movie/meet?  Successful movies attract fans and create a desire for more movies.  Think of recruiting and retention of swimmers through positive experiences at meets.  Think of losing fans (participants) when your production drags, has long periods of inaction, or participants are contentious.

Most of us start in the sport as parents of swimmers drafted to help at the next meet.  Some of us remain in invisible production tasks; some of us move to the visible side and higher profile positions in the production.  Regardless of our role in a particular production, every member should retain a commitment to creating a positive atmosphere for that moment when the camera rolls (the race starts).

Swimming’s profile has risen to become the premier summer Olympic sport.  At every level, whether a novice meet or Olympic Trials, it is important that we put on a good show from pre-meet planning to the final competition race.  Everyone on the production team must know and understand the script, be clear on his/her individual role and responsibility, and be committed to all participants having a positive experience.

Let’s make a movie that parents, grandparents, and fans want to see…and recommend to friends.  Whatever your production role at the next meet, make sure you are ready for your close-up!

Role of the Reserve Official
By Jackie Allender, Oregon Swimming

At a recent meet an official asked his/her chief judge “What did I do wrong to be given this assignment?

The assignment was reserve official.

This is a new position for many people. It is generally used at championship meets, and always dependent on the number of available officials.

The reserve official steps in for a stroke or turn judge who has indicated a possible disqualification.

So the reserve official needs to watch the officials in their assigned area almost as closely as the chief judge. He or she needs to be aware of the protocol requirements for more than one position, and be able to step into position at a moment’s notice.

This allows the official with the potential call to speak with the chief judge and not worry about what is happening in the pool. The chief judge then can relay the communication to the deck referee. The official’s responsibility at this point is to be available if the deck referee has any questions and to sign the disqualification slip once the disqualification is approved.

Once the disqualification process has run its course, the reserve official is replaced by the original official.

Timely processing of disqualifications allows for smoother meet operations. The swimmer is notified in a timely manner and the disqualification slip also gets into the hands of the administrative referee in a timely fashion. This in turn allows for quicker processing of results.

If you receive the assignment of reserve official, remember that you are providing a service that allows for smoother meet operations.

A worthy goal in service to our athletes.

How Would You Handle This Situation
By Dan McAllen, Chair, Rules & Regulations Committee

You are the Meet Referee for your LSC Championships. A swimmer qualifies for finals in the 200 butterfly and 50 free events. The meet is being swum using USA Swimming National Championship scratch procedures (207.11.6). The 200 butterfly is the second event in the evening program and the 50 free follows two events later. During the evening’s first final you are approached by the swimmer who has qualified in the 200 butterfly and 50 free and he relates to you that he cannot swim the 200 butterfly because he pulled a shoulder muscle during warm-up and it hurts to extend his arms outward. It does not hurt to lift his arm, however, and he is sure it will not be a problem to swim freestyle and wishes to remain in the 50 free and the 400 free relay.

Query #1: Should you allow this swimmer to take a medical scratch from the 200 butterfly, but allow him to swim the 50 free and the 400 free relay?

Query #2:  What if, upon delving into this situation, you learned that this swimmer was        seeded into lane 8 for the 200 butterfly and lane 4 for the 50 free, and the competitor in lane 5 in the 50 freestyle was also in the 200 butterfly? Would this affect your decision?

Answer:  Nothing in the rulebook prevents you from granting the requested relief. When dealing with injuries, it is always difficult since we are at the mercy of the athlete to tell the truth regarding a medical condition. On the other hand, since this is not covered by the rules, nothing requires you to grant the requested relief either, and you could tell the athlete that if you grant him the medical scratch he is out of all remaining events in the session.

It is suggested that prior to granting the requested relief the Referee should be satisfied that other athletes are not prejudiced by your decision. Are you mind reading? Maybe, but it is your responsibility to ensure that the playing field is level for all competitors. It would be hard to argue that the swimmer in lane 5 in the 50 free isn’t disadvantaged by allowing the lane 4 swimmer to rest while the athlete in lane 5 is swimming a 200 fly two events earlier.