"Around the Deck" masthead

February, 2008

Welcome to the first edition of our new PVS Officials’ Newsletter! The Officials Committee of Potomac Valley Swimming hopes to make this newsletter a regular opportunity to keep you up-to-date with happenings in USA Swimming and PVS officiating, and to provide a forum to help us all become better officials.
Do you have comments, questions, or suggestions regarding this newsletter or about PVS officiating? Contact Jack Neill, or any member of the PVS Officials Committee.


We Need You!Upcoming Meets

February 2008

Date Meet Location
1-2 2008 Testudo Invitational University of Maryland
1-3 VSC February Challenge South Run
9-10 PM 14&U JO Qualifier Cub Run
9-10 2008 FISH Qualifier Spring Hill
9-10 2008 MACH/YORK Qualifier Warrenton Aquatic
16-17 Winter Gator Mini Wakefield HS
17 8/U Friendship Mini Meet Invitational #2 Providence
17-18 PVS February Distance Meet Fairland
17-18 “Right Weekend” Qualifier Georgetown Prep
22-24 PVS 14/Under B/BB Championships Lee District
28-2 PVS 14 & Under Junior Olympic Championships Fairland

March 2008

Date Meet Location
6-9 PVS Senior Championships PGS&LC
7-9 Spring Finale Rockville and Olney
8-9 Mini Championships Olney
8-9 VSC III 12/U Invitational South Run
13-16 Speedo Championship Series Eastern Zone Southern Sectional Meet University of Maryland


Are You Registered?
There’s still time to submit your 2008 Registration and receive that beautiful pink and gray card verifying you are a member of USA Swimming! If you haven’t yet registered for this year, click here for the registration form. With the start of a new registration year, Meet Referees need to remember that all coaches and officials must be current members of USA Swimming.


You Make the Call
A coach tells you that his swimmer has sprained an ankle and is unable to turn his foot out in the breaststroke kick. The coach says that, because of this sprained ankle, the swimmer should be considered disabled. Should the swimmer be disqualified for not turning his foot out in the propulsive part of the kick, or is he excused because of a disability?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


Congratulations, Boots!
Congratulations to our own Boots Hall, who is the January, 2008 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. Boots is the second PVS official to receive this prestigious award, the first being Ron Whalen in 2004. Congratulations, Boots, on a well-deserved honor!


National Officials Certification Renewal
Please note: Officials with N2 or N3 certifications that expired December 31, 2007 have until March 31, 2008 to renew them without dropping a level in that position. For more information regarding the National Officials Certification program, click here. Looking for an “OQM” (Officials Qualifying Meet) in which to be evaluated for N2 or N3 certification? Here’s where you’ll find the applications to officiate at higher level meets — including the 2008 Eastern Zone Southern Sectional meet, March 13-16, in College Park.


Officials’ Training Material on the PVS Website
Have you checked the Officials area at the PVS website lately? There’s a brand new Timing Judge Manual now available — recommended reading for all referees and timing personnel — along with review materials for Stroke & Turn Judges, Starters, Referees, and timing system (HyTek, Daktronics, Colorado) operators. Check it out!


Stroke & Turn Clinic
A Stroke & Turn Clinic has been scheduled for Saturday, February 9 at the Spring Hill Recreation Center, 1239 Spring Hill Road, McLean, VA. The clinic will run from 10 am to Noon. Need to attend a clinic for recertification? Have a friend who’s interested in learning more about officiating swimming? Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required. You can just show up on the date and time of the clinic.


Feature Article:
“Making My First Call” by Jim Thompson
I started my officiating career in the mid-1990s as a timer. After about two seasons of working as a timer and observing the folks “in white” (at that time), I decided that I could become an official. Actually, the thing that got me over the decision to become a certified official is that the uniform changed from “all white” to the current “white top over navy blue pants”. I figured with the “white over navy blue,” I did not look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy or the blimp monster from the first Ghost Buster movie. :-)

I still remember my first time on deck as an apprentice stroke and turn official. I was perspiring even more than the temperature warranted. I remember working with a senior official during that session. He was very helpful and helped me to feel more comfortable on deck.

Even though I could not write-up a DQ, he wanted me to raise my hand when I saw a disqualification. When I raised my hand the first time, I remember my heart rate going up to at least a thousand beats per minute. And I'm sure when I described the DQ to that senior official it came out sounding like, “um...the swimmer sort of did...this...um...kind of thing with his arms...that...um...did not look right...so I think it is a DQ. You should write it up.” Luckily for my officiating career, even though I must have sounded like I never been to a meet before, he had faith in me and encouraged me to keep at it.

Over time I got better at describing the infractions and being able to write to the rules. It is one of those things that get easier with practice. I found working different kinds of meets, especially mini-meets, allowed me to see all types of infractions and the opportunity to practice verbally describing the infraction.

In the next installment, I’ll talk about my “first coach initiated discussion”.


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
The swimmer should be DQ’ed. A sprained ankle does not qualify as a disability, which is defined in Article 105.1.1 as “a permanent physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” No exception to the breaststroke rule is warranted in this situation.