PVS Officials

USAS-S Logo On the Same Page
The E-Newsletter of the USA Swimming Officials Committee
April 2009

Congratulations to our latest recipient, Mary Kramer of Arizona Swimming for receiving the Maxwell Excellence Award for service to local swimming given by Swimming World magazine. To read more about the Maxwell Award and see a list of previous recipients, click here. Please remind your LSC Officialís Chair or General Chair to nominate an outstanding official in your LSC for this award. To obtain a nominating application, click here.

More Congratulations

Also honored at the recent YMCA Short Course National Championships was Joel Black who received the Conrad Carroll Award in recognition of outstanding contributions as an official at all levels of the YMCA Swimming and Diving Program. The recipient of this award best represents the ideal of a YMCA Swimming Official. Joel has been the liaison between the USA Swimming and YMCA Officials Committee and has been instrumental in bringing our two groups closer together on rules and officiating over the past several years.

2009 Applications to Officiate

Donít forget the applications are located on the USA website. The World Championship Trials meet is closed to new applications but the U.S. Open and Juniors are both in need of officials. Please be sure to complete your applications early! We need you to make the meets a success for our swimmers! Click here to go to the applications page.

Mandatory Swimsuit Waiver for 12 & Unders

Effective May 15, 2009, any swimmer wishing to wear a non-conforming suit according to Article 102.9 must obtain a waiver from USA Swimming prior to the meet in which they are participating. To view the complete interpretation and waiver, click here.

Recent Swimsuit Rule Interpretation

Bruce Stratton recently issued a rules interpretation regarding an athlete wearing more than one swimsuit in competition. This was issued as a result of a FINA interpretation issued in early March prohibiting the wearing of two swim suits in competition. To view the Rules web page on the USA Swimming web site where all interpretations can be seen, click here.

Disability Swimming Section

The Disability Swimming Committee now has their own section of the USA Swimming web site which includes extensive resources for athletes, coaches, parents and officials. Included is a set of case studies related to the application of rule 105 that can be very helpful to officials in supporting our disabled athletes. In addition, there is also a set of disability situations on the Officials Situations and Resolutions page that can provide guidance to officials. To go to the new Disability Swimming Committee page, click here. To go to the Officials Situations & Resolutions page, click here.

Online Testing

The online testing will be down for updating May 1 - May 15, 2009. Please inform anyone hosting a clinic of this situation. Anyone taking online tests now will need to complete the tests prior to May 1st. On May 1 the tests will be deactivated for updating as on May 15 all questions, references and answers will change through the updating process. On May 15 the updated tests will be activated and the 2009 Rulebook will be in use.

2009 FINA World Championships in Rome

Rick Walker will represent USA Swimming as our open water official at the 2009 World Championships in Rome. For the pool competition, Jim Sheehan will represent USA Swimming as a judge. Congratulations to both officials on their selection.

LSC Officials Chairs Meeting

There will be a meeting of the LSC Officials Chairs from around the country over the weekend of May 15-17 in Minneapolis, MN. This is an opportunity for the chairs to exchange ideas with their peers on many topics and to work with members of the USA Swimming Officials Committee on issues and opportunities to improve and expand swim officiating.


You are the Referee for your LSC Championship. 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. The 200 butterfly is the second event in the evening program and the 50 free follows two events later. During the eveningís 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: 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: 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 isnít disadvantaged by allowing the lane 4 swimmer to rest while he is swimming a 200 fly. Whatever the decision, remember to keep the athletesí best interests in mind and use your common sense.

Should you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for either this newsletter or for the officials committee, please contact us. Click here for link.