"Around the Deck" masthead

January, 2012

Happy New Year!
As we turn the calendar to 2012, the PVS Officials Committee would like to thank you for your participation and hard work at swim meets throughout 2011. Your role as a volunteer swim official is essential to our sport. You are actively involved in your child’s swimming program; at the same time you are instrumental in strengthening the sport in the United States. You are a critical part of what USA Swimming calls “America’s Swim Team.” We are truly grateful for your dedication and generous donation of time in support of our athletes.

We wish you health, prosperity, good fortune, and fast times in the New Year!

Upcoming Meets

January 2012

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
7-8 PVS January Distance Meet Lee District Suzanne Marron
7-8 MAKO Winter Invitational GMU Tony Fitz
7-8 Polar Bear Meet South Run Nora Burke
14-15 Speedo Eastern States Senior Circuit #3 Washington-Lee HS Chris Palmer
14-15 Winter Senior Meet Fairland Lynne Gerlach
14-15 Green & Orange Bowl Invitational Madeira School Scott Robinson
21-22 PVS January Open Audrey Moore
MLK Swim Center
Stewart Gordon
Donna Considine
Randy Bowman
Ed Dona
21-22 Snow Dude Mini Meet Mt. Vernon Brian Baker
27-29 Northeast IM Xtreme Games Takoma Scott Witkin
28-29 CUBU JO Qualifier Warrenton  
29 RMSC Frosty Pentathlon Germantown Andy Anderson

2012 Registration

All officials are required to display their 2012 USA Swimming registration card while serving on deck as a Stroke & Turn Judge, Chief Judge, Starter, or Referee. Officials and coaches who have not completed the Athlete Protection training course and have not renewed membership for 2012 are not permitted on deck after December 31, 2011, unless serving as a timer or at the timing table. Registration information can be found at: http://www.pvswim.org/register.htm


Don’t Forget
A reminder to officials applying for National Certification (N2 and N3): Don’t forget to add clinics, mentoring experiences, Swimposium participation, etc. in the Activity History area of the online certification application. The requirements for National Certification include continuing education, mentoring and training. These experiences are listed in the Officials Tracking System as “other activities,” and are generally added by the official himself/herself. If you forget to include these activities, your application for N2 or N3 certification will be rejected. You’ve attended the clinics, you’ve helped mentor new officials on deck — make sure you get credit for these activities by adding them to the Officials Tracking System.


IM Xtreme Games
Looking for something different? Check out the IM Xtreme Games, held locally at the Takoma Aquatic Center, January 27-29. The IMX Games promote and reward versatility in age group swimming. Swimmers aged 11-14 from Maine to Virginia will be participating a wide variety of events in a test of all-around swimming talent. 11- and 12-year olds will compete in 500 Free, 100 Back, 100 Breast, 100 Fly, and 200 IM. 13- and 14-year olds will compete in 500 Free, 200 Back, 200 Breast, 200 Fly, 200 IM, and 400 IM. Each swimmer’s time will be given a point value; swimmers’ scores from all events will be combined for an overall IMX point total. Age group winners will be determined based upon their total IMX points. Officials are still needed for this unique meet.


New Officials / Advancing Officials
We’d like to welcome these new officials—and congratulate advancing officials—who have recently completed the requirements for first-time PVS certification in the following positions.

Stroke & Turn Judge: Referee:
Vakhtang Agayan Bruce Hansen
Moana Appleyard John Kost
Todd Barborek  
Paul Bash HyTek Operator:
Chris Chmielenski Bruce Hansen
Kim David Blaine Henry
Kate Johnson  
Bill McMahon Electronic Timing Operator:
  Bruce Hansen


You Make the Call
In the 200-meter butterfly a swimmer approaching the finish takes a stroke, recovers and then dives for the wall doing a butterfly kick all the way in. As part of the dive, he submerges completely prior to touching the wall. Is this an infraction?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


Tips From Tim - by Tim Husson
One of the questions I get a lot is where officials can buy their own headsets to use with the PVS radios. Here are links to a few sources.


Invigilation at Warm-Up - Invigilate: to keep watch; to supervise, monitor
In most LSCs around the country, Referees and Starters actively invigilate during the warm-up session. Invigilation is not merely “watching the pool,” but is the officials’ presence on the deck during warm-ups. Safety is a major part of it—but the marshals have primary responsibility for safety. Invigilation is an opportunity for the Referee and Starter to be visible to coaches and swimmers, to answer questions (“What time does positive check-in close?” “Can I swim with this bandage on my leg?” “Is there a break before the relays?”), to help enforce sprint/pace lane designations, to accept Declared False Starts (if the meet allows them), and generally to “take the temperature” of the deck. While invigilating, officials should be walking around the pool rather than standing in one area. They should avoid turning their backs to the pool, to the extent possible. And they should smile at and be friendly with swimmers and coaches. Conscientious invigilation can help set the mood for a cooperative, genial session.


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.


Lead-off Splits - by Morgan Hurley
Occasionally, an athlete or a coach will request an initial distance or lead-off split time. Typically, a lead-off split will be requested because the athlete is attempting to achieve a championship cut or a record.

The USA Swimming rulebook defines an initial distance as “that first portion of the race for which an official time may be recorded but which is not in itself a completed event.” A lead-off split can only be achieved at an initial distance of an individual event or in the lead-off leg in a relay race (i.e., by the first swimmer on the relay team). In all cases, the lead-off split begins with a starting signal given by the Starter. Additionally, the completion of the lead-off split must conform with the finish rules for the stroke (i.e., an athlete seeking a lead-off split in a backstroke event must complete the distance for which the lead-off split time is desired on his or her back.)

The following are examples of events where a lead-off split time could be achieved:

  • In an individual event, an athlete could achieve a lead-off split at an initial distance of a longer event. The lead-off split can only be achieved at an initial distance of a longer event of the same stroke for which the lead-off split is desired. (i.e., a lead-off split in breaststroke can only be achieved in a breaststroke event, and a lead-off split in freestyle can only be achieved in a freestyle event.)
  • In an individual medley, the athlete could achieve a lead-off split in the butterfly for any distance up to and including 1/4 of the distance of the IM.
  • In a medley relay, the lead-off swimmer could achieve a lead-off split in the backstroke for any distance up to and including the distance of the lead-off leg.
  • In a freestyle relay, the lead-off swimmer could achieve a lead-off split in freestyle for any distance up to and including the distance of the lead-off leg.

Where a swimmer seeks a lead-off split in an individual event, the swimmer must legally complete the full distance of the event. Similarly, if the lead-off split is sought in the lead-off leg of a relay, the lead-off swimmer must legally complete the full distance of the lead-off leg in compliance with the applicable rules. A subsequent disqualification by the athlete seeking the initial distance split would invalidate the time achieved in the lead-off split. However, a disqualification by a different swimmer in a relay would not affect the validity of a lead-off split time.

When an athlete seeks an initial distance split, the Referee should notify the officials and timers that are observing the lane in which the split time will be swum. If the lead-off split is sought in backstroke, the Stroke and Turn officials should observe whether the initial distance is finished with the swimmer on his or her back. The Starter should announce “The swimmer in lane X is attempting to achieve a time at an initial distance of X.”

The rules for determining an official time are the same as for any other official time. If automatic timing can be used for the split time, at least one watch time must be provided to support the time for the initial distance. If no electronic split time is used, three timers with watches must record the initial distance time. If it is necessary to assign additional timers, the coach or the athlete requesting the initial distance split should be asked to provide the timer(s).

The initial split time should be recorded on a separate lane timer sheet. If the Hy-Tek operator is experienced enough to create the event and enter the split time, he/she can do so. In any case, immediately after the meet the Referee or the Meet Director should contact the SWIMS officer (Tim Husson) with the time.


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
As long as the S&T Judge can clearly see the entire body of the swimmer is fully submerged, then the swimmer should be disqualified. The rules state that the swimmer’s head must break the surface of the water by the 15-meter mark and must remain on the surface until the next turn or finish.