"Around the Deck" masthead

November, 2011

Where Do New Officials Come From?
The Potomac Valley schedule gets busier every year. More swimmers mean more meets are needed. More meets mean more officials are needed. And while your efforts on deck are genuinely appreciated, we also need your efforts behind the scenes to help recruit new officials. Yes, your club’s Officials Chair takes a major role in recruiting, but the “one-on-one” approach is especially successful in recuiting. And we can all be recruiters. Are there other parents at your practice site who might make excellent officials? Talk to them! Every official is an ambassador for the sport and can help it grow. And when we grow the roster of officials, EVERYONE wins: swimmers, coaches, and parents. Who is currently sitting in the stands and would make an outstanding colleague on deck? Be the one to suggest a great way for them to support their swimmer. Let them know how rewarding it is to be an official. Introduce them to other officials. Put them in touch with your club’s Officials Chair. Then follow-up and be supportive through the certification process.


Upcoming Meets

November 2011

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
31-1 Fall Gator Mini Meet Washington-Lee HS Chris Palmer
31-1 SDS Monster Mash
South Run Nora Burke
4-6 November Open Cub Run
Mt. Vernon
Takoma 1
Takoma 2
Alan Goldblatt
Dan Young
Brian Baker
Ed Dona
4-6 RMSC November Invitational MLK Swim Center Donna Considine
12-13 National Age Group Challenge Meet Germantown Scott Witkin
12-13 DCPR Distance Meet Takoma Rodger McCoy
13 YORK Friendship Mini Meet Madeira Ben Holly
18-20 Swim & Rock Oak Marr Mike Rubin
19-20 Odd Ball Challenge Fairland Randy Bowman
20 Go the Distance Oak Marr  
20 Pilgrim Mini Meet    

Officials Qualifying Meet

The Tom Dolan Invitational Meet (December 8-11) has been approved by USA Swimming as an Officials Qualifying Meet for N2 and N3 certification. It is anticipated that the meet will include opportunities to be observed for N2 certification in all positions as well as N3 evaluations in all positions except Administrative Referee. 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.


Updating OTS
Is your email address correct in OTS, the Officials Tracking System? Find out, and make any necessary changes by signing-in to your account on the USA Swimming website, and then clicking “My Account” in the upper right-hand corner.


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?


“10-4, Mr. Referee!”
The Officials Committee has committed to making radios available at more meets this year—you may have seen them at the October Open. There are three reasons for this: 1) To make on-deck communications more efficient, especially when it comes to communicating disqualifications in a timely manner; 2) To increase our familiarity with radio procedures and protocols; and 3) To get our meet procedures in-line with those of nearby LSCs who use radios at many of their meets. Additional radios will be purchased this year, and a process is being devised for maintaining and deploying this equipment. Of course, a plan only works if it’s implemented consistently. If radios are assigned to your meet, please make sure they’re used and “cared for” at all sessions.


You Make the Call
In a backstroke event, a swimmer stands up in the middle of the course. He does not walk or spring off from the pool bottom, but rests and then resumes swimming. Is there a disqualification?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


Did You Know?
The first goggles were made by divers in the 14th Century from polished, clear tortoise shell. The first rubber goggles, which had heavy glass lenses, were invented in the 1930s.


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:
Sangeeta Bhargava Jayne Biafore
Mary Carter Walter Chen
Joe Chirico Doug David
Melissa Donati Ken Moore
Arthur Ellis (Transfer) Marcia Smith
Michael Garvey  
Ilona Grant HyTek:
Richard Gupton Stewart Gordon
Shawn Guth Lee Huynh
Andrew Hurst Cathy Nabulsi
Jennifer Nagle Karen Rosenblatt
Ann Repczynski Randy Verbrugge
Eric Ruttenburg  
Lu Ryan Timing Operator:
Nancy Stuck Andy Anderson
  Izumi Horikawa
Chief Judge:  
Charles Lundy  


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.


College Swimming
The Washington, D.C. area is a hotbed of collegiate swimming. At the crossroads of the ACC, Big East, CAA, Atlantic 10, Patriot League, and several other conferences, our region boasts some of the East Coast’s most competitive NCAA swimming. Who are the deck officials for these meets? Many of the same folks you see on deck at a PVS meet.

The NCAA does not certify officials for swimming. The College Swimming Officials Association (CSOA - http://www.csoaofficials.com) maintains a registration process and a certification/testing procedure for officials interested in working at the collegiate level. The organization also disseminates news and other relevant information to its members. For those interested in working college meets, joining CSOA is the first step. After paying the registration fee, you take the online rules test. Just like USA Swimming it’s an open-book test, only with a lot more questions; unlike USA Swimming, it includes questions about diving. While the rulebooks are getting closer to agreement, there are still significant differences between USA Swimming and NCAA rules.

After passing the test, you’d contact the people who assign the officials for the individual colleges to express your interest in working. That’s where it’s different again—for regular season meets, all officials are hired by the home team, and there are no volunteer walk-ons. Steed Edwards does the hiring for several D.C. colleges (American, Catholic, Georgetown, Howard), Carrie Tupper does it for Maryland, Mike Rubin for Marymount, Jack Schaeffer for Mary Washington, and Jack Neill for George Mason. Conference championships are a bit different—the conference approves and hires the officials. The NCAA itself does this for national championships. For local area meets, there can be as few as two officials on deck to as many as ten. Officials typically serve in multiple roles: Starter/S&T Judge/Relay Judge, Referee/ S&T Judge/Relay Judge, etc. Collegiate swimming is exclusively short course and the season runs from October to February, with separate national championships for Division 1, 2, and 3 schools in March.

College swimming is exciting. The athletes are fast and there’s a lot of spirit and noise on the deck. It can be a bit more stressful at times, since coaches’ jobs are often dependent on the won-loss record. But I highly recommend checking it out, either as an official or as a spectator. Schedules are posted on each school’s website.


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
Yes, it is a disqualification. Once the swimmer stands, he is no longer on his back. The rulebook states “The swimmer shall push off on his back and continue swimming on the back throughout the race.” Moreover, a swimmer is not permitted to stand on the bottom during any stroke other than freestyle.

For all that you do for Potomac Valley Swimming:Thanks!