"Around the Deck" masthead

Summer, 2011

Dive Into the Summer!
Scientists will tell you that summer officially begins with the summer solstice. But swimmers and their parents know that summer really starts with that first dive into the outdoor pool, probably sometime around Memorial Day weekend. The PVS summer schedule includes a number of competitive long course meets, including several championship meets. We’re looking forward to seeing you on deck this summer!


Upcoming Meets

June 2011

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
3-5 34th Maryland State LC Championships MAC Jim Garner
3-5 SNOW LC Invitational
Claude Moore Mike Ryan
12 PVS Senior/Age Group I Fairland
Lee District
Brian Baker
Scott Robinson
18-19 FISH June Invitational Fairland Al Meilus
18-19 PVS LC Distance Meet Wilson Art Davis
26 PVS Senior/Age Group II Fairland
Lee District
Randy Bowman
Brian Baker

July 2011

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
14-17 PVS LC Senior Championships Univ. of Maryland Jack Neill
14-17 PVS LC Junior Championships Univ. of Maryland Scott Witkin
21-24 PVS LC Age Group Championships Fairland Art Davis

August 2011

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
2-6 ConocoPhillips National Championships Palo Alto, CA USA Swimming
4-7 Eastern Zone Super Sectional Pittsburgh, PA Eastern Zone
8-12 Speedo Junior Nationals Palo Alto, CA USA Swimming
10-13 Eastern Zone LC Championships State College, PA 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 is 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 Senior Championships will be held July 14-17 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 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 season, offering the opportunity for formal evaluation at the N2 or N3 levels. Our lead evaluator for this meet will be Joel Black. Joel is a long-time official who has held many leadership positions in USA Swimming, including National 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 14-17 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.

On the following weekend, July 21-24, PVS LC 14 & Under Championships will be held at Fairland Aquatic Center. The application to work at this meet can likewise be found on the PVS website. You must apply no later than March 10 for specific deck positions. Once again, late applications and walk-ins are welcome and will be assigned to available positions.


Did You Know . . .
This past March, at the men’s NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, a historical swim took place. Two African-American swimmers, Brett Fraser and Dax Hill, finished 1-2, respectively, in the 200-yard freestyle. This was the first time in U.S. history that two black swimmers finished atop the medal podium at any national championship event.


You Make the Call
After swimming the 7th preliminary heat of a 100-yard backstroke event, a coach approaches the referee and questions the placement of the far end backstroke flags. Upon checking it is found that the flags are set for short course yards. There have been three DQs for turn violations. What do you do? Do you reset the flags for the remainder of the event? What about the three DQs? What if a coach comes to you and asks for a re-swim for a swimmer that did not DQ stating that the swimmer’s time was affected by the erroneous flag placement?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


USA Swimming’s Steering Committee has decided that the 2011 Short Course National Championships, to be held December 1-3 in Atlanta, GA, will now be a long course competition, in order to allow participants an opportunity to achieve Olympic Trials qualifying standards.

Also, the 2011 Short Course Junior National Championships, December 8-10, have been moved to the University of Texas, Austin, TX, due to unexpected construction at the original venue, the University of Minnesota.


Camera Policy
In April, 2010, the PVS 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 shall continue prohibiting the use of flash photography from any location during the time swimmers are on the starting blocks.


The Backstroke Turn
At the backstroke turn, three things can happen:

  1. The swimmer touches the wall while on his/her back. The swimmer may turn in any manner as long as he/she is past vertical towards the back when the feet leave the wall.
  2. The swimmer begins to turn past the vertical towards the breast, but touches the wall with some part of the body before going into the turn. As long as the turning motion was continuous once he/she went past vertical towards the breast, it’s still legal, and the swimmer may turn in any manner as long as he/she is past vertical towards the back when the feet leave the wall. If, however, the swimmer goes past vertical towards the breast, and extends the arm but doesn’t immediately begin a pulling motion, that’s a DQ for “delay in initiating stroke.”
  3. The swimmer turns past vertical towards the breast and executes a single or simultaneous double arm pull to initiate their turn. Once you’re certain that the arm has stopped moving, the swimmer must be doing something to initiate their turn. If they’re not doing something to initiate the turn as soon as the arms stop moving, that’s a DQ for “delay in initiating turn.” They can kick throughout the turn, as long as it’s part of a continuous turning action. They must touch the wall (usually with their feet) and they must be past vertical towards the back when their feet leave the wall.

As the turn judge, you should stand over the lane looking down to at the swimmers to observe the turns. Once a swimmer passes vertical toward the breast, you should observe that all actions of the swimmer were associated with a continuous turning action and that the swimmer is past vertical toward the back when his/her feet leave the wall.


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.


Why N2 or N3?
Why would you want to attain National certification as an N2 or N3 official?

  • To have the satisfaction that you’re recognized as a highly motivated official who demonstrates superior performance standards on deck.
  • To receive practical constructive feedback regarding your performance from very experienced nationally-recognized officials.
  • To qualify to work at higher level meets. N2 certification recognizes that an official is experienced and has been evaluated as capable of working the position at Sectional, Zone, Grand Prix and similar higher profile meets. N3 certification recognizes that an official has the experience, skills and knowledge to be considered for selection to work at National Championship level meets in the position.
  • To be viewed as a mentor by your fellow officials.
  • To help insure that all swimmers, from novice to Olympian, will have the most professional, most consistent, and fairest officiating possible.

Requirements for progression to N2 and N3 levels in the positions of Stroke and Turn Judge, Chief Judge, Starter, Deck Referee, and Administrative Referee can be found on the USA Swimming website.


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
There’s not one single right answer for this situation. The referee should evaluate the situation in view of keeping conditions fair for all competitors. The specific solution will depend on the conditions and the information gained through review. The solution could include leaving the flags in place until the next session and then allowing re-swims for those competitors affected by the flags. One thing to keep in mind is that the swimmers warmed up using the misplaced flags.