"Around the Deck" masthead

April/May, 2009

Long Course Season Begins
The bulkhead is being moved and long course season is about to begin. Before we start the first heat in the 50 meter pool, the PVS Officials Committee would like to thank you for your participation and hard work at swim meets throughout the short course season. When the inevitable call goes out for officials, you always respond. You are absolutely essential to our sport, and we are grateful for your dedication, your professionalism, and your generous donation of time in support of our athletes.


Upcoming Meets

April 2009

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
24-26 MACH LC Classic Takoma Scott Robinson

May 2009

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
1-3 Snow Spring Classic Claude Moore Mike Ryan
2-3 Early Bird LC Invitational Fairland Lynne Gerlach
15-16 LC Derby Meet GMU David Fowler
23-25 Virginia State LC Championships Oak Marr Brian Johnson
29-31 32nd Maryland State LC Championships Rockville Jim Garner


New Swimsuit Rules
A reminder that the following rule (Article 102.9.1) regarding swimsuits goes into effect May 15, 2009:

  • Swimsuits worn for all 12 & under age group defined competition shall not cover the neck, extend past the shoulder, nor past the knee.
  • Swimsuits worn for competition must be non-transparent and conform to the current concept of the appropriate.
  • The Referee shall have the authority to bar offenders from the competition until they comply with the rule.

An exemption to Article 102.9.1 may be granted, on a case by case basis, to a swimmer who:

  1. Based upon the swimmer’s stated religious beliefs, is required to wear a suit that covers more of the swimmer’s body than is permitted under this rule; or
  2. Whose medical condition requires more of the swimmer’s body to be covered than permitted under this rule.

All requests for any exemption must be submitted to the Chair of the USA Swimming Rules & Regulations Committee, or his/her designee. The Rules Chair will then advise the swimmer and the appropriate LSC officials chair whether the exemption has been granted. The Rules Chair shall have the authority to grant the exemption on a permanent basis in his/her sole discretion. The decision of the Rules Chair can be appealed only to the entire Rules & Regulations Committee whose decision shall be final and binding on all parties.

Note: It will be the responsibility of the swimmer to provide a copy of the waiver to the Referee of any meet in which the swimmer wishes to participate.


More on Swimsuits
There have recently been a number of questions regarding the use of two swimsuits during competition. In order for USA Swimming’s interpretation to conform to that used by FINA, the following interpretation is being made, effective March 18, 2009: “For purposes of Article 102.9 of the USA Swimming Rules & Regulations, Swimwear, the use of more than one swimsuit at a time during any USA Swimming sanctioned or approved competition is prohibited.”

Some additional clarification:

  • The restriction applies only to actual competition (i.e. a race). Swimmers may wear more than one suit during warm-up and warm-down as well as around the pool deck between their actual races.
  • Swimmers may use as many different suits as they desire during any particular swim meet or any particular day during a swim meet and may change those suits as often as they desire as long as they do not wear more than one swimsuit at a time during their actual competitive events (races).
  • The restriction applies to all types, models and makes of swimsuits, not just so-called “technical” suits. Wearing a second suit during a race as a “drag” is therefore prohibited.
  • The restriction was not intended to apply to athletic supporters or modesty type wear. For purposes of the one swimsuit restriction, one swimsuit may include the wearing of a single pair of “briefs” or “bikini bottoms” to ensure the modesty and privacy of swimmer.
  • A swimmer who does wear more than one swimsuit during competition (a race) will be subject to disqualification. Officials need to be very proactive in educating swimmers and coaches about the restriction. Except in very unusual circumstances, and especially during the initial implementation of this, a referee should never allow a race to start if he/she knows a swimmer is wearing two suits without warning them of such and, within reason, giving them time to remove the additional suit.


You Make the Call
A swimmer believes he has finished a freestyle race and walks a few steps away from the wall to view the scoreboard. He is advised by the timers to swim two more lengths. He returns to the wall and completes the required distance. Should he be disqualified?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


Save the Date!
Mark your calendar now for the 2009 PVS Officials Social, May 16 at River Falls in Potomac, MD. All PVS officials and their “significant others” are invited to this informal social event that will recognize PVS officials for their efforts this season. Check your email and the PVS website for more information soon.


Did You Know . . .
During the 1970s, Diana Nyad was undoubtedly the world’s top long-distance swimmer. She set numerous records, including a 50-year-old mark for circling Manhattan Island (7 hrs, 57 min) in 1975. In 1979, Nyad swam from the island of Bimini to Florida, a journey of 102.5 miles. This accomplishment took more than two days of constant swimming, and was the record for the longest continuous individual swim until 1997. Nyad was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2003. She is now a host and a correspondent for National Public Radio.


Expecting Success
Pete Rose was being interviewed during spring training in the year he was about to break Ty Cobb’s all time hits record. One reporter blurted out, “Pete, you only need 78 hits to break the record. How many at-bats do you think you’ll need to get the 78 hits?” Without hesitation, Rose just stared at the reporter and very matter-of-factly said, “78.” The reporter yelled back, “Ah, come on Pete, you don’t expect to get 78 hits in 78 at-bats do you?” Rose calmly replied, “Every time I step up to the plate, I expect to get a hit. If I don’t expect to get a hit, I have no right to step in the batter’s box in the first place. If I go up hoping to get a hit, then I probably don’t have a prayer to get a hit. It is a positive expectation that has gotten me all of the hits in the first place.”

You could say the same about officiating (or swimming, or lots of other activities). When we expect that we’ll make the right call  as opposed to hoping we’ll make the right call  our chances for success are significantly enhanced. When you know the rules and have the correct attitude (protective rather than punitive), you can always go on deck expecting that you’ll be able to handle any situation and make the correct call or the correct no-call!


Disability Swimming Section
Swimmers with a disability participate at all levels of the USA Swimming program, creating new challenges and opportunities for officials. To assist in meeting these challenges, the Disability Swimming Committee has added a new section to the USA Swimming website. A variety of helpful materials and web site links are available for swimmers, parents, coaches, officials, and volunteers. Check it out: http://www.usaswimming.org/USASWeb/ViewNewsArticle.aspx?TabId=1&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en&ItemId=2411&mid=2943


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.


Officials Recognition
Several years ago PVS established a policy to recognize its many hard working volunteer officials. The goal then and now is to say “thank you” to those officials who display knowledge of the rules, make the hard and right calls, have the temperament to handle the difficult situations, and display a positive attitude to other officials, swimmers, coaches and parents. In summary, the Officials Committee awarded a white cotton polo shirt with the PVS logo to stroke and turn officials who worked 2 years and successfully recertified. Starters were presented with a bell once they became certified as PVS starters, and referees were presented with their own whistle once they became certified as a PVS Swimming referee.

The Officials Committee has revisited the recognition and awards policy and made the following revisions:

  • No change is proposed for PVS referees.
  • PVS starters once certified are now eligible for a second white polo shirt in addition to a bell.
  • PVS stroke and turn officials will now receive their white polo shirt with the PVS logo after they have completed their initial certification.

For those starters and referees transferring into PVS with N-1 or N-2 certifications, they will be eligible for a PVS shirt once their transfer is complete, by attending the appropriate PVS clinic, and then working 4 meets/6 sessions. Officials transferring from other LSCs with a S&T certification will be able to receive their white polo shirt once their transfer is complete and they have attended a PVS S&T clinic.

No shirt lasts forever. Replacement shirts will be available provided our supply is adequate.

Our table workers (Hy-Tek and Electronic/Colorado Timing system operators) are now eligible to receive a white polo shirt. CTS and Hy-Tek operators need to work 5 meets/10 sessions. The meet administrative referees make the recommendation for awarding a white polo shirt for these positions.

The white shirts, bells and whistles are not mailed. They are available at most open meets, qualifier meets (trials and finals), and at the major PVS championship meets. At present, for those in Virginia shirts are available from Dick Griffith and in Maryland shirts are available from Denice Wepasnick.


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
The swimmer should be disqualified. As per Article 102.10.5, “. . . a swimmer must not leave the pool, or walk, or spring from the bottom.”