1. Vision for Officiating Committee
Creating of the Present Day Online Test
3. The Maxwell Excellence
Applications are still being accepted for summer national meets. Click here to apply.
Where: Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas
When: Oct. 23-25, 2015
Contact your LSC Officials Chair.
Vision for Officiating
I’ve asked several of my predecessors in the officials committee chair position what were the first
questions they were asked. They all revealed they were asked the same first questions I’ve been asked. Namely, “what is your vision for
the officials committee and officiating in general?”
“paying job” I’m a college professor so education and evaluation are natural choices for me as the role of the officials committee.
Now, I really can’t claim those as my particular vision as all the officials committee chairs as far back as I can remember would have answered
the same. My goal, which is shared by all the members of the committee, is to continue the work in these areas that has already been done. As Bernard
of Chartres pointed out in the 12th century, we see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but
because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature.
Several items in education and evaluation will be coming up in the very near future. The stroke
and turn training video has been redone and updated. It will be distributed both on the web and on USB drives to the LSC officials chairs. These
videos should be coming online by the time you read this note. In addition, the committee is refining the mentoring and evaluation process. Again, you
should see those improvements in the very near future.
But, on the other hand, it really isn’t about my vision for officiating, it’s about your
vision. What things can the national committee do to improve your lives as swimming officials? It is important that you let us know what is working
for you and what is not working for you. As I said last issue, I look forward to working with the national committee and with all of you to better our
sport. Next time you see me on deck, stop me and say hello.
Jim Holcomb, Chair
National Officials Committee
The Creating of the Present Day Online
By Bill H. Rose
National Officials Committee, Online Testing Sub-Committee
Way back in 1998, when I was a new Officials Chair in my LSC, I would get one master copy of all
the Official’s Tests that were in use at that time. They would be sent to all of the LSC Official Chairs in big envelopes, so that we could do
as we wanted. I would always go through each question on every test, to make sure that the i’s were dotted and the t’s were crossed.
At that time, there were many true and false questions, to go along with
other questions that didn’t have question marks at the end of the question. The questions and answers didn’t always match the current
There was no machine to grade the tests. I made an answer
key, so the grading would be easier for me, but some people would enlarge or reduce the answer key before they entered their answers and you can guess
what happened then.
The technical references were not listed with each
of the original test questions. There were no choices and there was no statement, saying that the Test Taker had to find the correct technical
reference to prove that the multiple-choice was correct.
years of proofreading the tests before printing them for all of my LSC certified Officials, I got the call to join the Online Test Team.
There were originally four Editors who were assigned to the questions that matched
positions around the pool deck. After a few years, the YMCA was interested in using our testing system, but wanted the results sent to them, so we
added another Editor to help with this branch of the testing system.
year, about a month before the testing site would be shut down, the Editors would find the questions that were missed more than 25% of the time and
make suggestions for improvement, so the passing rate could improve.
the beginning, we wanted all questions to end with question marks. We didn’t want any more true/false questions. We wanted all the answers to
come directly from the Rulebook. We really didn’t want situation questions, which would be hard to answer from a technical reference not found
in the Rulebook. We wanted certain words to be capitalized consistently throughout each of the tests.
Once the Senior Editors approved all of the old questions' edits, we would recommend to the Editor that they could make
these changes when the testing site went inactive. Once the recommended changes were made, the questions would be proofread one more time.
We would write new test questions each year from the new rules added to the
Rulebook. Before we could add them to our list of master questions, these questions would be sent to the Rules and Regulations Chair for approval.
Over the years, we have made more new questions and added more tests. We now
have enough questions to randomly choose different questions for each Test Taker. The Open Water leadership wanted to have some questions dealing
with Open Water, so we wrote questions and had them approved. A few years later, the original Open Water questions were made into two tests, the Open
Water Judge and the Open Water Referee.
Three years ago, the National
Officials Committee recommended that taking the Administrative Referee test, the Clerk of Course test, the Timer test and the Timing Judge test in
becoming an Administrative Official was too much to ask, so we condensed questions from these four tests into one test.
We now have an Editor dealing with Open Water questions, an Editor dealing with Administrative
Referee and Administrative Official questions, an Editor dealing with Starter and disability questions, and Editor dealing with Stroke and Turn and
Timer questions, an Editor dealing with Timing Judge and Clerk of Course questions and an Editor working only with the YMCA.
For the 2015 testing year, the Test Team was asked to do a major shift from the way we have
presented the test questions in the past. The National Officials Committee suggested that we do away with Part 2 of the online tests. This was the
technical reference part of the tests.
When I first joined the Test
Team, Paul Jones would send me Test Taker’s concerns almost weekly. Each year our product got better and better and the passing rate improved.
We still have a few questions that might have slipped through our yearly review, but for the most part, each question is reviewed if it is missed more
than 25% of the time.
We hope that the tests we have prepared for you
are outstanding teaching aids in your education in becoming the best Official you can be for our swimmers.
The Maxwell Excellence Award
two months Swimming World magazine and Maxwell Medals recognizes an official for their outstanding contributions to local swimming. Each LSC
or other governing body can submit a candidate that is deserving of recognition and the winning official is selected by a sub-committee of the
National Officials Committee to be recognized in Swimming World magazine every two months. July’s recognition goes to Bill Houk with
Ohio Swimming. Thomas William (Bill) Houk exemplifies excellence in officiating, from local summer leagues to the
national deck. He is a shining example of an official who is involved for the benefit of the athletes and promoting the sport.
Bill’s children have long retired from swimming, yet he continues to officiate
and train local officials. He is instrumental in hosting an OQM each December that attracts officials from other LSCs, as well as exposing local
officials to national protocols.
The following is an
incomplete list of the organizations Bill donates his time and expertise to: summer leagues, OHSAA, YMCA, USA, CSOA, USMS, college club, and
No meet is small or insignificant to Bill. He treats every
session as an opportunity to serve and mentor, most often taking a supporting role as he freely shares his knowledge and experience with others. He is
a tireless advocate for new officials, especially women.
In service to the sport Bill has held many positions, ranging from summer league to the LSC level.
Bill is currently the Administrative Vice-Chairman as well as the Officials Chairman of the Cincinnati Commission for OH Swimming.
For over 20 years Bill has been active in Paralympic Swimming, and was instrumental in
bringing a disability meet to Cincinnati. Bill creates material for officials at his own expense that help decipher disability heat sheets and apply
IPC rules correctly.