"Around the Deck" masthead

November, 2010

Membership Changes Coming
As you probably already know, USA Swimming has adopted new rules requiring criminal background checks for all non-athlete members, which includes coaches and officials. Please be patient as the details and procedures are determined. The PVS Board, Registrar and Officials Committee are in constant contact with USA Swimming about this issue and we will pass along all information we receive as soon as it is available. In the meanwhile, you will be issued a temporary 2011 Non-Athlete Membership card.


Upcoming Meets

November 2010

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
5-7 November Open Cub Run
Mt. Vernon
Takoma 1
Takoma 2
Al Meilus
Dan Young
Brian Baker
Ed Dona
5-7 RMSC November Invitational MLK Swim Center Donna Considine
13-14 National Age Group Challenge Meet Germantown Scott Witkin
14 YORK Friendship Mini Meet
Madeira Ben Holly
19-21 Swim & Rock Oak Marr Sergio Nirenberg
20-21 Odd Ball Challenge Fairland Randy Bowman
21 Go the Distance Oak Marr Nora Burke
21 Pilgrim Pentathlon Mini Meet Claude Moore Art Davis
27-28 D.C. Wave Distance Meet Takoma Rodger McCoy

Place Judge Required
At its 2010 Convention, USA Swimming made several alterations to Article 102. One of these changes adds a Place Judge to the list of officials required for a swim meet. The Place Judge records the order of finish for each heat, providing the Timing Judge with additional evidence for determining the official time. The rule also stipulates that officials other than the Referee may act in more than one officiating capacity. The Officials Committee has decided that the Starter will handle this duty. If there is more than one Starter at a session, the off-duty Starter should record the order of finish on a heat sheet. If there is only a single Starter, he/she should record the order of finish as best as possible without allowing the meet to be delayed. The Referee should assist the Starter in this duty as much as possible, and may keep his/her own record of the finishes as well. The heat sheets on which the order of finish is recorded should be collected and saved with the other meet paperwork. This is the practice in many other LSCs. While the rule becomes effective on May 1, 2011, it is recommended to begin this practice immediately.

For an excellent review of this process, see Morgan Hurley’s excellent article in the April issue of Around the Deck.


Officials Qualifying Meet
The Tom Dolan Invitational Meet (December 9-12) will be an Officials Qualifying Meet for N3 certification. The meet will include opportunities to be observed for N2 and N3 certification in all positions. More information about the meet is available in the meet announcement. More information about the National certification program for officials can be found on the USA Swimming website.


You Make the Call
During the 1000-yard freestyle the Starter mistakenly rings the bell over the leader in Lane 4 at 900 yards. The leader and the swimmer in second place, Lane 5, continue beyond 950 yards and complete the race. The coach of the swimmer in Lane 4 files a written protest stating that his swimmer visibly increased his pace to a sprint at the sound of the warning bell. Realizing that he was not done and having nothing left, he was only able to finish third instead of second. What decision should be made with regard to the protest?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


That’s Sportsmanship!
The Hawaiian surfing legend and swimmer Duke Kahanamoku overslept before the 100-meter freestyle preliminaries at the 1912 Olympics. Kahanamoku’s main competition, Australia’s Cecil Healy, persuaded the judges to hold a special qualifying race for Kahanamoku, who went on to win the gold medal ahead of Healy, who took the silver.


Don’t Assume . . .

  • Don’t assume that because there are experienced swimmers in your jurisdiction, they will always swim legally. Even Olympic medalists DQ sometimes.
  • Don’t assume that because you’ve already called one violation you can skip the next one on that swimmer. The first might be overturned and the second might have been upheld—had it been called.
  • Don’t assume that, because you’ve seen a hand go up at the other end of the pool, the swimmer has already been disqualified. It could be a different swimmer, a different violation, or a violation that is ultimately overturned.
  • Don’t assume that, if the referee or the chief judge questions you about your call, he/she doesn’t believe you or is trying to talk you out of it. This official likely did not see the violation and needs to be able to describe the details to the coach.


Report of Occurrence
How are USA Swimming and its insurance carrier notified when an accident occurs at a swim meet? The Report of Occurrence form, supplied to all club and non-athlete members in annual club membership mailings, is used for this purpose. Reporting all incidents, no matter how minor, is important to put both USA Swimming and its insurer on notice of accidents and potential claims.

A Report of Occurrence form should be completed any time an injury occurs at a USA Swimming function, whether or not it involves a USA Swimming member. Injuries involving spectators should also be reported. The form should be filled out by a meet director or by any club personnel responsible at the time of the incident; the parents of the injured athletes should not be asked to complete the report form.


Upcoming Clinics
Date Clinic Location Time
November 6
Stroke and Turn Takoma 8 -10am
November 6
Starter Takoma 10am - Noon
November 6
Hy-Tek Computer Operator Takoma 1-3pm
November 6
Colorado Timing System Operator Takoma 3-5pm
November 13
Starter Madeira School 8-10am
November 13
Stroke and Turn Madeira School 10am - Noon


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.


Mentoring Matters
Our Fall clinics have been very well-attended—that means lots of new officials on deck and lots of opportunities for experienced officials to serve as mentors. Mentoring plays a significant role in the training of new officials, helping the mentee in attaining the skills and confidence needed to become an effective official.

The dictionary defines a mentor as “a trusted counselor or guide” and “a wise, loyal advisor or coach.” The original Mentor is a character in Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. While Odysseus was fighting the Trojan War, he entrusted the care of his kingdom to Mentor. Mentor also served as the teacher and advisor to Odysseus’ son, Telemachus.

Being a mentor is not for the faint of heart. Mentoring requires knowledge, solid communication skills, and a great deal of patience. At the same time, being a mentor can be extremely rewarding, as there is a great deal of satisfaction in watching your mentees grow in confidence and competence.

If you are afforded the opportunity to serve as a mentor this season, please take the responsibility seriously. And remember to note the experience in the online Officials Tracking System under “Activity History.”


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
The protest should be disallowed. Although a warning signal is required, USA Swimming Rules and Regulations also state that it is the responsibility of the swimmer to complete the prescribed distance.