PVS Officials

USA Swimming Officials Newsletter
June 2016

In This Issue
1. National Certification Program Update
2. Are National Certifications for Me?
3. Maxwell Award Winner
4. Officials Selected for Olympic Trials


Please continue to send in your Maxwell Excellence Awards Nominations. The form can be found in the recognition section of the Officials page on USASwimming.org.

Click here to submit your nomination.

Officials are still needed for the summer championship meets – especially the Futures Meet in Atlanta. Please click here to apply. Winter meet applications will be posted after Olympic Trials.
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The current National Certification Program is now more than 11 years old! And like anything that’s been around for awhile, a review was due. The National Officials Committee decided to revamp the explanation documents and to modify the program just a little. The revised documents have been posted on the website, so please keep a look out for them. The main changes in the program are:
  • Before REQUESTING an N2 evaluation in a position, an official must have worked at least 16 sessions* in the position since full LSC certification in that position. N2 ST certification is now required before an N2 evaluation can be requested for all other positions. (N2 AO will be an exception, when it is available.)
  • Application for N2 Certification can be made once a “recommend for advancement” evaluation is recorded in OTS and all other requirements are met. There are exceptions for CJ and Administrative Referee – Please see the new documents.
  • Before requesting an N3 evaluation in any position, a candidate must have worked at least 8 sessions* in that position since N2 certification in that position. Also, N3 ST certification is required before requesting an initial N3 evaluation for CJ, DR, SR and AR.
  • For positions requiring an initial and a final N3 evaluation, 8 sessions* must be worked in the position before the next, or another, evaluation may be requested. “Another evaluation” may be requested if the previous evaluation suggested more experience was needed.
  • In the near future, the requirement of a year since N2 certification in a position before N3 certification can be applied for, will be eliminated. Until the necessary programming changes are made, a filter will prevent applications until one year has elapsed.

Remember: there are other things, in addition to successful N3 final evaluations, that must be accomplished before an N3 certification application will be considered “complete”. These include:
  • LSC participation
  • Participating in teaching and mentoring, and learning activities and,
  • For CJ, Starter, Deck Referee and Admin Referee, working at an “in pool” USA Swimming National Championship level meet (National Championships, Junior National Championships, US Open, some FINA meets in the USA, and Arena Pro Series) as a deck official.
  • Only Arena Pro Series Meets that take place in, or after November 2015 satisfy this requirement. (Arena Pro Series/Grand Prix meets, prior to November 2015, do not meet the requirement!)
Along with these revisions the “Professional Official” documents have been revised to reflect the National Certification program modifications. The Professional Administrative Referee document was also edited to accommodate the recent changes in the way official times are determined.
  • Sessions worked, certification dates and prior evaluation dates will be determined by what is recorded in OTS! All LSCs are using OTS to track meets and sessions worked, and LSC certifications. If your records are not up to date contact your LSC Officials Chair.

By Thomas Tiedt, USA Swimming Official

Several years ago, I was sitting in one of my first officials’ briefings as a new official and marveled at how fluently the lead official was recapping the rules in such a simple and easy-to-understand manner. It was the first time I’d heard the rules presented thoroughly and without commentary from an official who was always smiling and completely enjoying his time at the meet. The next day he presented a protocol and jurisdiction briefing with such logic that I immediately understood why we were asked to stand, walk and observe with unassuming precision. I decided I wanted to be just like this official, so I asked how he learned all these skills.

He explained that about 10 years earlier he had decided to pursue national certification as a deck official as a way of improving his own skills and knowledge of swimming. Along the way he encountered many veteran officials who frequented national championship meets and they imparted some of their wisdom to him and others who showed an interest. For him these veterans dispelled the folklore and mythology about rules and officiating that were often cast in a negative and very punitive light during local meets and hospitality discussions. He said one thing that really resonated with me – “If I’m not having fun and learning something at these meets, that’s when I will hang it up.” I decided I’d give national certification a shot and submit to an evaluation.

The nominal purpose of the national certification program is to prepare and certify LSC officials for service at national championships meets.

LSC officials first apply and then are paired with national evaluators at officials qualifying meets (OQM) according to the position certification sought (Stroke & Turn, Chief Judge, Starter, Deck Referee and Administrative Referee; there is no national certification for Meet Referee). LSC Championships and Sectional meets are the typical venues where national evaluations occur, though they also occur at National Championships and Pro Series events.

Candidates are monitored for 3-4 sessions at the OQM, during which the national evaluator offers feedback. With promoting recommendation from the national evaluator the LSC official applies for national certification though their officials’ online tracking system (OTS) account. If additional requirements, such as requisite educational and teaching activities, are met the LSC official is granted N2 or N3 national certification (N2 is the first level of national certification; N3 is the next level, which generally requires evaluations from two different evaluators). The LSC certification card is then updated with the new certification(s) and emailed to the official. There is also the opportunity to evaluate the evaluator, one way to help improve the program.

The national certification process extends the various skills exercised at LSC meets with refinements focusing each officials ‘department’ (ST, CJ, SR, DR, AR) and streamlining the interactions between these departments. Communications, paper flow and deck protocols are customized and clarified, particularly for national-level meets.

We also want to look as prepared and ‘professional’ as the athletes. Thus, our duties are effectively choreographed in honor of the athletes, to best serve the athletes and, yes, for the TV cameras, which have their uncanny way of capturing for the audience either competence or confusion.

Notably, there is a more important and immediate benefit of national certification – the cultivating experience of the evaluation process itself.

During a national evaluation and its advanced mentoring from the national evaluator the skills and perspectives of the official being evaluated are significantly elevated…kind of like a graduate school for their development.

National evaluators have significant experience to share regarding rules interpretations, jurisdictions, procedures and national-deck protocols. They are able observers and communicators. Through quality one-on-one time we benefit immensely from many hours of their review and in-depth recommendations for improvement, exposure difficult to accomplish otherwise. We get a direct connection with the state of our art and the decisions and policies of the National Officials and Rules & Regulations Committees. We become better officials and even become mentors ourselves for those who have yet to benefit from the invigorating experience.

Even if we never plan on serving at a national-deck meet (although the experiences at these meets are fantastic, so join the fun), the diverse beneficial consequences for us individually and collectively make national evaluations treasures. They address all of our questions and challenge our growth. They broaden our horizons and help us serve the athletes optimally.

I’ve learned so much in a relaxed atmosphere, and have truly enjoyed getting to know so many wise and talented officials. If you have the opportunity for some graduate work on officiating, I have only one recommendation for you. Go for it!


Every 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 Mike Hoffer with North Carolina Swimming.

Mike served as NCS Official’s Chair from 2008-2012. During that period Mike was responsible for a number of improvements including establishing an active official’s committee, utilizing the OTS LSC certification and developing procedures for obtaining various certifications.

In addition, Mike established a Coach’s/Official’s meeting which has become a standard part of the NCS HOD where coaches and officials discuss any issues. This has taken the LSC from a confrontational to a harmonious relationship between the coaches and officials.

Mike continues to devote a great deal of time as an official after his kids have completed their swimming careers.


As you know, the Olympic Trials are only a few short weeks away! As such, we thought it would be nice to list all those who will put in many long hours, pay for their own round-trip transportation and lodging, and may even use their vacation time so that they can officiate at the Olympic Trials.

The next time you see any of the officials listed below, please take a moment to thank them for volunteering to help our swimmers!

Position  First Name Last Name LSC
MR David Coddington PN
AAR Mary Swalley CA
AR Gloria Schuldt NT
CJ Jacquelyn Allender OR
CJ James Cahn MD
CJ Sandra Drake HI
CJ Robert  Griffiths FL
CJ Suzanne Heath NC
CJ Kathleen Scandary CO
CJ-H Clark Hammond SE
DR Robert Broyles IE
DR John Dowling NT
DR Lucy Duncan IN
DR James Holcomb BD
DR Amy Hoppenrath MV
DR John Thomas FG
SR Julie Allen GA
SR Jeffery Raker OH
SR Denice Wepasnick PV
SR-L Cecil Gordon MA
ST Debra Baldwin SI
ST Elizabeth Coe MD
ST Dana Covington SN
ST Kimberly Downs VA
ST Michael Downs VA
ST Claude Duncan IN
ST Jon Fox NC
ST John  Gagliardo PN
ST Kenneth Galica NE
ST Valerie Gibson NJ
ST Jeffrey Gudman OR
ST John Hiester IN
ST Melissa Hellervik-Bing FL
ST Donald Hougardy IE
ST Timothy Husson PV
ST Jason Johnson NT
ST Traci Johnson NT
ST Peter LaGow MD
ST Anne Lawley OH
ST Paul Maker NE
ST Patricia Martin NC
ST Mark McCaw FL
ST David Meagher OH
ST John Neill PV
ST Anthony Rongione PV
ST William  Rose SN
ST Robert Scandary CO
ST Wayne Shulby NC
ST Michael Smythe IN
ST Jayne Spitt;er IL
ST Robert Steffner NT
ST Susan Talwar FL
ST Michael Urbanowicz CO
ST Johannes Van Nimwegen PV
ST Ronnie Van Pool PN
ST Lisa Vetterlein PN
ST Francine Werner IN
ST Teresa White PN
ST John Wilson GA
ST John Witzel MN
ST Adam Zeichner FG
ST Ronals Zolno ST

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