"Around the Deck" masthead

November, 2009

Short Course Season Continues
The 2009-10 Short Course season is underway. Please don’t forget that your USA Swimming membership must be renewed for the new season before December 31. For more information regarding membership registration, see the PVS website.


Upcoming Meets

November 2009

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
31-1 Fall Gator Mini Meet Washington-Lee HS Ted Berner
6-8 November Open Cub Run
Lee District
Takoma 1
Takoma 2
Al Melius
Dan Young
Brian Baker
Ed Dona
7-8 National Age Group Challenge Meet Germantown Scott Witkin
14-15 RMSC November Invitational
MLK Swim Center Amy Hsu
15 YORK Friendship Mini Meet Providence Ben Holly
20-22 Swim & Rock Oak Marr Sergio Nirenberg
21-22 Odd Ball Challenge Fairland Randy Bowman
22 Pilgrim Pentathlon Mini Meet Claude Moore Rec Cntr Art Davis

Describing the Backstroke Non-Continuous Turn
Please note: the recommended verbiage used when describing a non-continuous turning action during the backstroke has changed. The rule itself has not changed – only the words used to describe when the swimmer is disqualified during the backstroke turn. If the swimmer rotates to the breast during the turn, the new verbiage will specify whether there was a “delay initiating the arm pull” or a “delay initiating the turn” during the required continuous turning action that warranted a disqualification call.


Congratulations, Tim!
Congratulations to our own Tim Husson, who is the November, 2009 recipient of the Maxwell Excellence Award for service to local swimming. The Maxwell Excellence Award is given under the sponsorship of Swimming World magazine and Maxwell Medals to honor an LSC official for his or her outstanding contributions to local swimming. Tim is the third PVS official to receive this prestigious award; Boots Hall and Ron Whalen are previous recipients. Congratulations, Tim, on a well-deserved honor!


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.


Officials Qualifying Meet
The Tom Dolan Invitational Meet (December 3-6) has been approved by USA Swimming as an Officials Qualifying Meet for N2 and N3 certification. It is anticipated that the meet will include opportunities to be observed for N2 certification in all positions as well as Initial N3 Referee and Starter, and Initial and Final N3 Stroke and Turn and Chief Judge. More information about the meet is available in the meet announcement. More information about the National certification program for officials can be found on the USA Swimming website.


You Make the Call
Although a breaststroker’s head breaks the surface of the water during each cycle, she was disqualified for not taking a breath during each cycle. Is this a valid DQ?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


Advanced Hy-Tek Clinic
Back by popular demand, PVS will once again be offering an Advanced Hy-Tek Clinic on November 14, beginning at 9am at the MLK Swim Center in Silver Spring. The exact topics to be covered will be determined by the needs of the class, but the primary focus areas will be running Hy-Tek at a trials/finals championship-level meet and setting up a meet database. The instructors will also be available for questions after the session. You can register for this clinic online at the PVS website.


Breaststroke History
Breaststroke is the slowest of the four strokes in competitive swimming. Most coaches agree that it is the most difficult to teach to beginning swimmers. Certainly, it’s one of the more difficult strokes to judge.

In 1696, the French author Melchisédech Thévenot wrote The Art of Swimming, describing a stroke very similar to the modern breaststroke. The book popularized this technique. Matthew Webb, the first man to swim the English channel, used breaststroke, swimming the 21.26 miles in 21 hours and 45 minutes in 1875. The 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis were the first Olympics that included a breaststroke competition, over a distance of 440 yards. These games differentiated breaststroke, backstroke, and freestyle, with breaststroke being the only stroke with a required style.

In 1934, David Armbruster, coach at the University of Iowa, devised a double overarm recovery out of the water. This “butterfly” arm action gave more speed but required greater training and conditioning. One of Armbruster’s swimmers, Jack Sieg, developed the skill of swimming while beating his legs in unison like a fish’s tail. This kick was named the dolphin fishtail kick. Armbruster and Sieg combined these techniques into a variant of the breaststroke called butterfly. Even though the butterfly breaststroke, as it was called, was faster than the breaststroke, the dolphin fishtail kick was declared a violation of the rules. By 1938, almost every breaststroke swimmer was using butterfly arms with a breaststroke kick. In 1953, the butterfly stroke with the dolphin kick was legalized as a separate stroke for competition. In the mid 1960s, the breaststroke rules were revised to prevent the arm stroke from going beyond the hip line, except during the first stroke after the start and after each turn. And in 2005, another revision allowed one dolphin kick at the start and after each turn.


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.


Judging the Butterfly Recovery
The following is a perspective on how to judge the recovery portion of the butterfly stroke, from Jim Sheehan (National Officials Chair) and Bruce Stratton (Chair of USA Swimming’s Rules and Regulations Committee):

Article 101.3.2 requires that, in the butterfly stroke, “both arms” must be brought forward “over the water" and pulled back simultaneously. It is the interpretation of the USA Swimming Rules & Regulations Committee that the arm is that portion of the body which extends from the shoulder to the wrist. It is also the interpretation of the Committee that “over the water” means the arm, as defined above, must break the surface of the water.

An analogy to this might be a comparison between a submarine and a sail boat. One operates under the surface of the water and one operates “atop” the surface of the water (i.e. part in the water and part above the water). Clearly, if the swimmer’s arms do not break the surface of the water it cannot be considered to be “over the water” and would be cause for a disqualification. However, should both arms (as defined above) break the surface of the water, that would be legal and no disqualification should be called. From a very practical standpoint, if the swimmer’s elbows and wrists break the surface of the water, the recovery would be considered legal. It is not required that both arms be completely out of the water.


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
There is no requirement to breathe at any specific point of any swim. The rulebook states, “some part of the swimmer’s head shall break the surface of the water at least once during each complete cycle of one arm stroke and one leg kick, in that order, except after the start and each turn the swimmer may take one arm stroke completely back to the legs and one leg kick while wholly submerged.” There should be no DQ.