"Around the Deck" masthead

February, 2009

February on Deck
As winter weather chills the area, the competition in the pool is heating up! PVS swimmers of all ages are gearing up for next month’s championships with a flurry of February meets — can we count on your help on deck?

Upcoming Meets

February 2009

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
7-8 FISH Qualifier Spring Hill David Fowler
13-15 23rd Annual Black History Meet Takoma Al Betts
14-15 Winter Gator Mini Meet Wakefield HS Ted Berner
14-15 Gender Blender Mini Meet MAC Amy Hsu
14-15 PM 14 & U JO Qualifier
Cub Run Brian Johnson
15-16 February Distance Meet Fairland Rick Moyer
20-22 18 & U Age Group Champs
Lee District Ed Dona
22 RMSC February Qualifier Germantown  
22 YORK Friendship Meet #2
Providence Ben Holly
28-01 MACH/YORK Qualifier Warrenton Scott Robinson


Keeping Track of Sessions
USA Swimming has made a major commitment to develop an online Officials Tracking System (OTS) to maintain the records of sessions worked by officials at swim meets at all levels, throughout the country. This system will also be expanded in the near future to include officials’ certifications.

PVS will now be using the Officials Tracking System to maintain the records of sessions worked by officials at PVS meets. The PVS Officials Committee has carefully reviewed and tested the OTS, and beginning this month will authorize the Meet Referee at each PVS meet to gain access to the meet in the OTS. A member of the PVS Officials Committee will establish the meet in the OTS and then the Meet Referee will be responsible for recording the sessions worked for all officials at the meet.

It is recommended that you verify your record in the OTS a week or two after the conclusion of the meet at which you work, to be sure that the information is correct. If there is a discrepancy, please contact the Meet Referee. Until the use of OTS is fully implemented, you should also maintain your record of sessions worked on the PVS Official’s Record Card and have this card signed by the Referee at the conclusion of the session.

The complete User’s Guide for the Officials Tracking System can be found on the USA Swimming website. Information for Meet Referees regarding the simple procedures for recording officials’ participation at your meet can likewise be found on the USA Swimming website.


You Make the Call
A backstroker starts her race and surfaces prior to the 15-meter mark. She then re-submerges and re-surfaces, again prior to the 15-meter mark. Is this legal?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


Spring Championship Meets
Short course season culminates with several championship meets next month. These meets afford officials the opportunity to be evaluated for N2 and N3 certification. 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 Senior Championships will be held March 12-15 at George Mason University. Officials wishing to work at this meet should submit the application found on the PVS website. You must apply no later than March 5 for specific deck positions. However, late applications and walk-ins are also welcome and will be assigned to available positions.

On the following weekend, March 19-22, PVS 14 & Under Junior Olympic Championships will be held at Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex, adjacent to FedEx Field. The application to work at this meet can likewise be found on the PVS website. You must apply no later than March 12 for specific deck positions. Once again, late applications and walk-ins are welcome and will be assigned to available positions.

The Germantown Indoor Swim Center in Montgomery County will be the site of the Eastern Zone Southern Sectional meet, March 26-29. This meet is part of the Speedo Championship Series, and will feature elite swimmers from several states. You can apply to work and/or be evaluated at the Eastern Zone Southern Sectional meet by completing the application on the Eastern Zone website. This application must be received by the Eastern Zone Officials Chair no later than February 25 in order for the applicant to be considered for specific assigned positions (Deck Referee, Starter, Chief Judge, Admin Ref). Assigned positions will be notified no later than March 5. Applications for other deck positions will be accepted anytime.

All of these meets are “Officials Qualifying Meets,” offering the opportunity for formal evaluation at the N2 level (Juniors, Seniors) and the N2 and N3 levels (Sectionals). Any official interested in being evaluated at these championship meets must apply in advance.


Experience is the Teacher
The new or inexperienced official often asks, “How long will it take me to become a good Stroke and Turn Judge?” It depends upon the individual, but it won’t happen overnight or without effort. Knowing the rules and attending clinics are a start, but experience gained by regularly working at meets is the only real teacher. Only experience can build the confidence the Stroke and Turn Judge requires before his/her performance becomes “automatic.” Even then, a continuing review of the rules and regular attendance at officials clinics are essential.


Did You Know . . .
Americans Nancy Hogshead and Carrie Steinseifer registered the first official tie in Olympic history in the 100-meter freestyle at the 1984 Olympics. They each recorded a time of 55.92.


Are You Up-To-Date?
Please remember that you must be a registered member of USA Swimming for the 2009 calendar year in order to continue working on deck as an official in 2009. Still need to register for the current year? Go to the PVS website for complete registration information. Remember that your official’s certification likewise needs to be up-to-date. Certification is good until the December 31 following two years after the date of issuance. A summary of recertification requirements can be found on the PVS website. Meet Referees are reminded that all coaches and officials must be current members of USA Swimming in order to remain on deck.


Swimming Gains Popularity
According to a recent poll conducted by Harris Interactive, swimming is included in the list of America’s favorite sports. The Harris Poll, which has been polling the country regarding its favorite sport since 1985, announced in a press release that two percent of participants stated that swimming was their favorite sport. The poll lists professional football as the favorite with 31 percent of the votes, while baseball has 16 percent. College football (12 percent), auto racing (eight percent) and men’s professional basketball (six percent) completed the top five. The poll surveyed adults in the U.S. from December 9-15 last year.


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.


Our Unattached Officials
Who are the unattached officials? They are active officials who are no longer affiliated with a PVS club. They likely began officiating when their children were young. They grew to love the sport, and when their children stopped swimming competitively, they were not ready to hang up their white polo shirts.

Why are they important to PVS? These officials bring a wealth of experience to our meets. Potomac Valley has a number of unattached officials with over a dozen years of experience; several have worked 20 years or more on deck. They regularly serve as mentors to less experienced officials. PVS is indeed fortunate to retain a large number of officials whose children no longer swim competitively – some are affiliated with a team and some are unattached. Many of our meets rely on these officials for key positions such as Referee and Starter. They are visible proof that you don’t need to leave the deck just because your children are no longer competing.

For many of these folks, officiating at a meet is an empty nest passion. Many see it as one way they can give back to the swimming community. Dick Griffith explains: “Swimming has been great to our family. It provided my daughter with an opportunity to compete in swim meets in different parts of the USA and the world. Swimming gave her the opportunity to make friends in different states and other countries. When she finished college swimming and coaching, I felt I had the obligation to give back to the sport which had given so much to our family.”

“Before I knew it, my grandchildren started swimming,” Dick continues. “Staying with swimming is a way for me to be involved with all of them.”

There are currently 19 active unattached officials on the PVS roster. Why aren’t they affiliated with a team? There are probably 19 different reasons. “In my case,” says Jack Neill, “my daughters swam for four different PVS clubs during their swimming careers. I can’t choose one over another at this point.”

But without exception, these experienced officials—whether affiliated with a team or unattached—all say they enjoy the camaraderie and friendships that were built over the years. “Some of the nicest people you meet are involved in swimming,” says Dick Griffith. “It becomes a great network.”


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
Yes. The rule (101.4.2) states that “it shall be permissible for the swimmer to be completely submerged during the turn and for a distance of not more than 15 meters (16.4 yds) after the start and each turn.” The swimmer may re-submerge, as long as the head has surfaced by the 15 meter mark, and some part of the swimmer breaks the surface of the water from the 15 meter mark to the next turn or the finish.