"Around the Deck" masthead

Summer, 2009

Dive Into the Summer!
Summer may “officially” begin with the summer solstice, occurring this year on June 21. But swimmers and their parents know that summer really starts with that first dive into the outdoor pool, probably sometime around Memorial Day weekend. The PVS summer schedule includes a number of competitive long course meets, including several championship meets. We’re looking forward to seeing you on deck this season!


Upcoming Meets

May 2009

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
29-31 32nd Maryland State LC Championships Rockville Jim Garner

June 2009

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
6-7 SNOW LC Invitational
Claude Moore Mike Ryan
13-14 Swim Like a FISH Invitational GMU Dave Fowler
14 PVS Senior/Age Group I Fairland
Lee District
Brian Johnson
Scott Robinson
20-21 PVS LC Distance Meet Takoma Art Davis
28 PVS Senior/Age Group II Fairland
Lee District
Rick Moyer
Brian Johnson

July 2009

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
7-11 World Championship Trials Indianapolis, IN USA Swimming
16-19 PVS LC Senior Championships Univ. of Maryland Jim Van Erden
16-19 PVS LC Junior Championships Univ. of Maryland Art Davis
23-26 PVS LC Age Group Championships Fairland Ed Dona

August 2009

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
6-9 Eastern Zone Super Sectional Buffalo, NY Eastern Zone
12-15 Eastern Zone LC Championships Penn State Univ. Eastern Zone


The Swimsuit Saga Continues
In 2008, 108 world records were broken in the sport of swimming. The average number of world records set in swimming in all past Olympic years is about 22. What do nearly all these world record swims have in common? The record setters wore one of the new generation of superfast, superexpensive “technical” swimsuits. Speedo’s LZR ($550), Tyr’s Tracer Light ($320), BlueSeventy’s Nero ($395), and similar suits compress swimmers from the ankles to the shoulder. They make swimmers more buoyant. They have an ultra-smooth exterior that glides through the water with measurably less drag than skin. They allow swimmers to float higher and cut through the water as never before. On the down side, they tend to fall apart after just a dozen swims, according to many coaches. Regardless, these suits have caused a frenzy in a sport that has always seemed largely immune from the influence of technology.

To put the effects of these suits into further perspective: In January 2008, Mike Barrowman’s 200-meter breaststroke time of 2:10.16 (from 1992) was the 4th best time ever. By January 2009, it was the only the 22nd best all-time.

FINA, the international governing body for competitive swimming, recently conducted a series of tests to determine how extensively the suits enhance performance, and whether this enhancement should be allowed in competition. Earlier this month, FINA rejected 10 technical suits and approved 202 others. USA Swimming has not yet taken any action with respect to the published list of approved suits and will not do so until after the Rules & Regulations Committee meeting scheduled for May 29-30. Following that meeting, a formal announcement will be made regarding how the approved list will affect USA Swimming and its LSCs.


Attention Referees
An updated
Stroke Briefing has been posted on the PVS website. Check it out.


You Make the Call
During the 100-meter butterfly the swimmer recovers over the water with the arms moving simultaneously. As the arms move forward beyond half way (i.e., less than 90 degrees relative to the body) the swimmer’s hands and arms re-enter the water, whereupon the swimmer brings them together and pushes them forward until the arms are fully extended prior to commencing the next pull. The stroke judge signals a possible disqualification and explains the violation as an underwater recovery. Is this a correct ruling?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


Did You Know . . .
Esther Williams, the legendary movie star, famous for her musical films that featured elaborate performances with swimming, never won an Olympic medal for swimming. In 1940, she was the U.S. national champion in the 100-meter freestyle and was a favorite to make the U.S. Olympic team. Unfortunately, she missed her opportunity because that year’s Olympics were suspended due to the outbreak of World War II. Esther appeared with another legendary swimmer, Johnny Weismuller in several features during the ’40s. In her autobiography, she relates that she regularly had to fend off the amorous attentions of Weismuller, whom she said acted as if he were Tarzan on and off the screen!


How to Improve as a Swim Official

  • Work regularly – There is no substitute for experience.
  • Know the rules – Review the rulebook on a regular basis; listen carefully to the pre-meet briefing, no matter how many times you’ve heard it previously.
  • Have a protective (rather than punitive) attitude – A DQ is not considered a penalty against a swimmer, but rather a protection of all the other swimmers who went to the effort to swim properly in accordance with USA Swimming Rules & Regulations.
  • Be consistent – The rules are the same for 6-year olds and for Olympic medalists.
  • Work at a high profile meet – You’ll work with many experienced, knowledgeable officials in championship conditions. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll learn.
  • Evaluate your performance after every session – Did I do my part to provide safe, fair, and equitable conditions of competition?


Officials Education Travel Reimbursement
Did you know that Potomac Valley Swimming will contribute to your travel expenses for working at national level meets? In March 2007, PVS instituted the Officials Education Travel Reimbursement program. This program is intended to encourage PVS officials to further their skills by participating in national level meets. Complete details can be found on the PVS website.


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.


Lead/Lag Judging
Lead/Lag Judging uses four stroke judges, two judges walking each side of the pool. When there are sufficient judges, this method insures more consistent observation of all swimmers. How does it work? In a typical wall-to-wall jurisdiction, the lead judge normally starts at the 15m mark while the lag judge is positioned between the 15m mark and the start end. As the heat begins, the lag judge watches the initial strokes and kicks while the lead judge observes that the swimmers conform to the 15m rule (except, of course, in breaststroke). Once the swimmers have all passed the 15m mark, both judges follow them down the course, observing strokes and kicks. As the swimmers separate, the two judges likewise separate to maintain balanced observation, typically with lead judge observing the two lead swimmers in the jurisdiction while the lag judge observes the two lag swimmers (assuming an eight-lane pool). As the swimmers approach the turn end of the pool, the lag judge stops at the turn end 15m mark while the lead judge continues the observation into the turn and the initial actions of the second leg of the race. As the swimmers head back toward the start end, the lag judge becomes lead and the lead judge becomes lag. This coordination continues until the race finishes.


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
Under the facts given, this swimmer would be in violation of Rule 101.3.2. The swimmer only partially recovered over the water and completed the recovery underwater. The rule contemplates an over the water recovery into the extended position when the arms and hands reenter the water. However, good judgment requires that an official should not nitpick this call as many swimmers extend another inch or two after the arms and hands reenter. The judgment that must be made is whether the swimmer is completing a recovery or simply maximizing the water “catch” before the next powerstroke. The distance the arms and hands travel underwater to the point of full extension is a critical consideration in making this judgment.