"Around the Deck" masthead

February, 2010

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 2010

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
6-7 FISH Qualifier Spring Hill Al Meilus
6-7 CUBU Qualifier Warrenton Art Davis
12-14 24th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet Takoma Al Betts
13-14 Winter Gator Mini Meet Washington-Lee HS Ted Berner
13-14 PM 14 & U JO Qualifier
Cub Run Brian Baker
13-15 President's Day Classic Freedom Center Dan Young
14 PVS February Distance Meet Fairland Randy Bowman
15 PM President's Day Invitational Cub Run Brian Baker
19-21 18 & U Age Group Champs Lee District Ed Dona
20-21 Gender Blender Mini Meet MAC Amy Hsu
21 YORK Friendship Meet #2
Providence Ben Holly
26-28 Northeast IM Xtreme Games
Takoma Scott Witkin
27-28 MACH/YORK Qualifier Madeira School Scott Robinson
28 RMSC February Qualifier Germantown Andy Anderson


FINA Swimsuit List
On January 4, FINA issued its final list of swimsuits approved for use in 2010. The suits included on this final list were all submitted to and approved by FINA. In addition to the suits included on this list, FINA has indicated that “older suits” are also acceptable for competition. Although the term “older suits” was not specifically defined, it generally refers to suits made from nylon or Lycra that meet the following criteria:

  • Swimsuits for men may not extend above the navel or below the knee and for women may not cover the neck or extend past the shoulders or below the knee;
  • No zippers or other fastening devices are allowed except for a waist tie on a brief or jammer; and
  • Material used for swimsuits can be only textile material which is defined as materials consisting of natural and/or synthetic, individual and non-consolidated yarns used to constitute a fabric by weaving, knitting, and/or braiding. Simply put, this would generally refer to suits made only from nylon or Lycra that do not have any rubberized material such as polyurethane or neoprene.

Effective immediately, swimsuits allowable for use in USA Swimming sanctioned or approved competition must either appear on the FINA Suit List or meet the definition of an “older suit” as defined above. As per USA Swimming guidelines, officials should assume that any particular suit worn by a swimmer is a legal suit unless it is obvious the suit does not meet any of the three criteria used to define an “older suit” as described above. Any protest regarding the legality of a particular suit should be handled in the same manner as any other protest under the provisions of Article 102.11 of the USA Swimming rulebook.

Please also remember that only one swimsuit may be worn during competition. However, for age group competition, it is permissible for an athlete to wear a single garment underneath his or her competition swimsuit for modesty and/or privacy reasons.


You Make the Call
A swimmer in the IM swims a legal breaststroke, then a legal backstroke, next a legal butterfly, and finally a legal freestyle – and is disqualified. Why?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


Spring Championship Meets - OQMs
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 11-14 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 4 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 18-21, PVS 14 & Under Junior Olympic Championships will be held at Fairland Aquatic Center in Laurel. The application to work at this meet can likewise be found on the PVS website. You must apply no later than March 11 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 2010 Eastern Zone Southern Sectional meet, March 25-28. 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 March 10 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 17. 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.

Other championship meets in March include PVS Junior Championships, Mini Championships, and Spring Championships. More details in next month’s newsletter.


Report from San Antonio
from Amy Hsu, RMSC
In October, I was fortunate to be able to attend the USA Swimming Officials Workshop in San Antonio. It was a weekend filled with instruction and discussion on topics ranging from Administrative Referee at a meet to the production that was the 2008 Olympic Trials. We discussed practices across the different LSCs in the country when hosting meets, assigning officials and utilizing Chief Judges. Throughout the weekend however, the one theme that remained constant was the idea of Mentorship. We, as officials, mentor the youngest swimmers when we work the mini-meets and age group meets and set up a deck where those swimmers can be successful. We encourage new swim parents to time at a meet and then to consider taking the next step. The idea of mentoring was described as the “holistic approach” to officiating and is one that we can all try to incorporate into our officiating practices.


New Officials / Advancing Officials
We’d like to welcome these new officials—and congratulate advancing officials—who have recently completed the requirements for first-time PVS certification in the following positions.

Stroke & Turn Judge: Starter:
Ludwig Abruzzo Andy Anderson
Chris Barton Betty Ann Dobrenz
Emily Bayer David Foley
Melinda Bolling John Kost
Diane Canova Charles Lundy
Beth Covert Nancy Pressly
Doug David Hope Oehler
Lisa Groves  
Kim Henry Referee:
Sabine Hentrich Morgan Hurley
Luanne Kovalcik Barbara Ship
Peter Mott  
Steven Oh HyTek Operator:
Jonallen Riggins Emalee Firestein
Andrew Scott Audrey Hipkins
Patricia Walker  
Deidre Weiss CTS Operator:
John Werderman Ronald Hong


3 Types of Referees
What’s the difference between a Meet Referee, a Deck Referee, and an Admin Referee? No, this is not the set-up for a joke. We’ve prepared a document showing the typical duties of these three positions—click here to view it.


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 and the PVS Vision
by Jim Thompson, Strategic Planning Chair and Member of the Officials Committee
PVS officials are crucial to achieving the PVS Vision. In this article, I want to share my thoughts on how we as officials can help PVS achieve the vision.

In December 2009 the PVS Board of Directors adopted the following Vision Statement:

Potomac Valley Swimming (PVS), striving to become the preeminent LSC in the country, actively promotes competitive swimming in the National Capital Area. We enable member clubs to offer high-quality programs to a diverse group of athletes with a wide range of ability levels. We involve parent volunteers in all aspects of PVS operations and provide the support necessary to assure the proper conduct of a variety of competitions.

This vision statement is important to PVS because it provides a target we can strive toward. In a sense, having a target for PVS is the same concept as a swimmer having a target that drives the swimmer’s development. For the swimmer, the target is a time. The time can represent qualifying for meets such as the Dolan Invitational or Olympic Trials, personal best time in an event, or--in the case of the very elite swimmer--breaking World Records. For PVS, our Vision Statement describes how we desire to operate. It provides guidance to members on what is important to the organization.

What can PVS officials do to help achieve the PVS Vision?

By virtue of being an official you are one of the “parent volunteers” that PVS needs to support its operations. Encourage other parents to get involved with PVS. Invite a new parent to be Timer or become a Stroke & Turn official. By getting others involved, you help build the volunteer base.

Think about joining one of PVS committees. For example, all the members of the PVS Officials Committee and just under half of the current PVS Board of Directors are volunteers. Volunteers are needed to head or assist in planning and executing various PVS programs. Right now there is a vacancy for the Safety Program Chair.

To “assure proper conduct” of a meet you must maintain your certification by attending a clinic, passing the officials examination, and working sessions to gain practical experience. If you are an experienced official, look for opportunities to mentor less experienced officials. If you are new to officiating, seek out the seasoned veterans to learn from their experiences. Above all remember that we are here to ensure fair and equitable competition.

PVS holds a “variety of competitions.” These meets cover a range of ages, ability levels and formats (e.g., timed finals open meets and prelim/finals championship meets). By consistently applying the technical rules of swimming we ensure the integrity of the sport. At the same time, we use age-specific or meet-specific common sense when interpreting the non-technical rules of swimming. Use the rules as a tool to allow the athlete to swim not as a barrier the athlete must overcome to swim.

When officiating over a “wide range of ability levels,” you may see unusual stroke and kick techniques. An unusual technique does not necessarily imply a DQ. A DQ is based on the written rule, not on the beauty of the technique. Call a DQ for what is observed and not inferred. The benefit of doubt goes to the swimmer.

Understand how the rules pertain to swimmers with disabilities. Look for ways to accommodate these swimmers and apply the technical swimming rules appropriately.

Work with coaches to ensure they understand the rules and procedures of a meet. Clearly explain the DQ and ensure the coach understands the rule violation. Only by understanding the DQ can the coach help a swimmer improve.

When you read “actively promotes competitive swimming,” think broadly to expand your influence beyond PVS and USA Swimming sanctioned meets. For example, many PVS officials are summer swim league officials as well. For many swimmers and their parents, summer swim leagues are their first introduction to competitive swimming. By mentoring and working with the summer league-only officials, we provide a positive and fun experience for the swimmers. If we can achieve this, we ensure a steady stream of new athlete members to PVS because the next logical step after summer swimming is the year round programs offered by PVS clubs. And if we can show the fun and satisfaction of officiating to the parents of summer swimmers, we help encourage summer league parents to become PVS officials.

During high school swim season, PVS officials working with high school-only officials run dual and championship meets. Use your experience to provide an environment for fun and fair competition.

As an empty nester I found another way of expanding my influence. I have worked a few college-level and Masters-level meets. Competitive swimming is more than a youth sport. It can be a lifetime activity for both the athlete and the official. By supporting Masters-level competition, I am gaining experience, promoting the reputation of PVS officials and supporting our community. At the same time, I am inspired by these older athletes. Who cannot be but inspired by watching an eighty-something climb up on the blocks, diving in at the start signal and complete a 100 yard Freestyle?

By putting in practice the points described above each time we walk on deck, we are doing our part to fulfill the PVS Vision.


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
The swimmer was disqualified because the stokes were swum in the wrong order. The correct order of strokes for IM is: fly, back, breast, free.