"Around the Deck" masthead

January, 2011

Happy New Year!
As we turn the calendar to 2011, the PVS Officials Committee would like to thank you for your participation and hard work at swim meets throughout 2010. Your role as a volunteer swim official is essential to our sport. You are actively involved in your child’s swimming program; at the same time you are instrumental in strengthening the sport in the United States. We are truly grateful for your dedication and generous donation of time in support of our athletes.

We wish you health, prosperity, good fortune, and fast times in the New Year!

Upcoming Meets

January 2011

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
8-9 PVS January Distance Meet Lee District Art Davis
8-9 Winter Senior Meet Fairland Lynne Gerlach
8-9 MAKO Winter Invitational GMU Tony Fitz
9 RMSC Frosty Pentathlon
Germantown Andy Anderson
15-16 Speedo Eastern States Senior Circuit
Washington-Lee HS Chris Palmer
15-16 12 & Under Green & Orange Bowl Madeira School Scott Robinson
15-16 Polar Bear 14 & Under Meet
South Run Mike Rubin
16 Snowball Splash 9 & U Mini Meet Claude Moore Art Davis
22-23 PVS January Open PGS&LC
MLK Swim Center
Scott Robinson
Donna Considine

Randy Bowman
22-23 Snow Dude Mini Meet Mt. Vernon Brian Baker

Background Screening

If you have served as a PVS official for at least one year and have worked the minimum number of sessions, or if you have previously registered for 2011 membership, you may have already received a temporary USA Swimming registration card for 2011. This card is valid to February 15. By that date, all non-athlete members (which includes officials) must successfully complete the new background check program. Please note that the background check program will not be available until January 10. There are still many details to be worked out regarding this program, and PVS will keep you informed as new information is available. Check the PVS website for the most recent information.


Don’t Forget
A reminder to officials applying for National Certification (N2 and N3): Don’t forget to add clinics, mentoring experiences, Swimposium participation, etc. in the Activity History area of the online certification application. The requirements for National Certification include continuing education, mentoring and training. These experiences are listed in the Officials Tracking System as “other activities,” and are generally added by the official himself/herself. If you forget to include these activities, your application for N2 or N3 certification will be rejected. You’ve attended the clinics, you’ve helped mentor new officials on deck — make sure you get credit for these activities by adding them to the Officials Tracking System.


Ten Commandments for Sport Parents

  1. Thou shall not impose thy ambitions on thy child.
  2. Thou shall be supportive no matter what.
  3. Thou shall not coach thy child.
  4. Thou shall only have positive things to say at a competition.
  5. Thou shall acknowledge thy child’s fears.
  6. Thou shall not criticize the officials.
  7. Thou shall honor thy child’s coach.
  8. Thou shall be loyal and supportive of thy team.
  9. Thy child shall have goals besides winning.
  10. Thou shall not expect thy child to become an Olympian.


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: Referee:
Brian Azais Brian Baker
Julie Bargeski Vince Cleary
J.D. Foster Amy Hsu
Tom Kennedy Al Meilus
Lynn Koplaski  
Debbie Kuehhas (Transfer)  
Sharon Major Starter:
Katherine Mathis Chris Purcell
Vincent Mathis  
Jim Peal  
Sam Roberts Timing Operator:
Mike Russiello John Kost
Todd Serres  


You Make the Call
An 8-year-old approaches the turn in the 50-yard breaststroke. Prior to touching, he does a flip turn and pushes off the wall with both feet. Is this legal?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


Upcoming Clinics

Date Clinic Location Time
January 8
Chief Judge Kings Park Library
Burke, VA
January 8
Referee Recertification Kings Park Library
Burke, VA
1-3 pm
January 15
Starter South Run 1-3 pm
January 15
Stroke & Turn South Run 4-6 pm
January 22
Stroke & Turn MLK Swim Center 8-10 am
January 22
Starter MLK Swim Center 10am-Noon
February 2
Stroke & Turn MAC 7-9 pm


Starter / Referee Coordination

The Starter:

  1. Takes deck position which affords an optimal view of the starting field.
  2. Assists in checking starting field for correct number of athletes in proper lanes.
  3. Raises microphone upon hearing long whistle and awaits deck referee’s extended arm.
  4. When the starting field is ready says “Take Your Mark” in a calm, conversational voice.
  5. Completes the start only after all swimmers have assumed an observable stationary position.
  6. Notes all empty lanes and informs the Timing Operator.
  7. If the starter observes that a swimmer started before the starting signal, he/she notes the lane(s) on the starter’s heat sheet. The starter should then advise the deck referee of a “possible false start.”
  8. Takes the finish order on starter’s heat sheet (if another starter is not available).

The Deck Referee:

  1. Signals “prepare to swim” with the series of short whistles.
  2. Checks starting field for correct number of swimmers in proper lanes.
  3. Sounds long whistle indicating swimmers should take a position on the blocks, deck, or in the pool. A second long whistle is sounded on backstroke starts to request swimmers move to the wall and prepare for the start, sounded when the last head ‘pops up’ so all athletes can hear it.
  4. Turns control of the swimmers over to the starter with an extended arm, after any issues have been resolved.
  5. Carefully observes the start, noting the lane(s) of any swimmers who started before the starting signal on the deck referee’s heat sheet, and then focuses attention on the athletes during their swim.


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.


Staying on Top
If your son or daughter is among the Top 16 when they are 10 years old, shouldn’t they be in the running for a national championship when they turn 18? In fact, quite the opposite is the case. Improvement is not a steady positive slope, especially for swimming prodigies. A study by USA Swimming using the All-Time Top 100 swims in each age group found that only 10 percent of the Top 100 10-and-Unders maintained their status through age 18. Only half of the swimmers among the Top 100 in the 17-18 age group had made any top-100 list when they were younger. “Those winning races at 10 probably won’t be winning races when they are 20,” says John Leonard, the executive director of the American Swimming Coaches Association. “This is one of those things that is obvious to coaches but can be a mystery to parents.”


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
No. The swimmer must touch the wall at the end of each length with both hands simultaneously. The swimmer should be disqualified.