"Around the Deck" masthead

December, 2011

Seasons Greetings
Happy Holidays from the PVS Officials Committee!

The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s may be the busiest of the year. In the midst of all the holiday activity, a number of PVS meets (including several high-level invitational meets) are scheduled for December. Championship meets require championship officiating — can we count on your help?

Upcoming Meets

December 2011

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
1-3 Winter National Championships Atlanta, GA USA Swimming
2-4 Christmas Championships Fairland Lynne Gerlach
2-4 Turkey Claus Showdown Takoma Scott Robinson
3-4 Reindeer Mini-Meet Providence Ben Holly
3-4 MAKO Holiday Invitational GMU Tony Fitz
8-10 Short Course Junior Nationals Austin, TX USA Swimming
8-11 Tom Dolan Invitational Univ. of MD Art Davis
8-11 Sport Fair Winter Classic GMU Brian Baker


Officials Qualifying Meet
The Tom Dolan Invitational has been approved by USA Swimming as an Officials Qualifying Meet for N2 and N3 certification. The meet will include opportunities to be observed for N2 certification in all positions as well as N3 certification in all positions except Administrative Referee. N2 certification requires satisfactory evaluation over at least three sessions in the position; N3 certification requires satisfactory evaluation over at least four sessions in the position. To be evaluated at an Officials Qualifying Meet you must work at least 4 sessions as an official at the meet. Not all sessions worked need to be in the evaluated position. Certification at either level requires a combination of several things including evaluations, local participation at meets, continuing education, and the training and mentoring of other officials. 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.


Welcome, New 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: Stroke & Turn Judge:
Carla Austin Mike Suchodolski
Searcy Baker Jan Van Nimwegen
Anne Bromet-Jagodits Fong Wang
John Byrnes Mike Williamson
Catherine Chase
Ernesto Evans Starter:
Armando Gomez Chris Ekstrom
Noemi Jimenez  
Ross Malinow Referee:
Shannon Maxwell Ronald Hong
John Sohl  


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.


Athlete Protection
Article 502.6.1 - All non-athlete members of USA Swimming must have satisfactorily completed criminal background checks and athlete protection education as required by USA Swimming.

A reminder: In order to renew your USA Swimming membership for 2012, all non-athlete members are required to complete an Athlete Protection Training course. The course is available online and accessed through the USA Swimming website. The course is free of charge, and it takes less than an hour to complete. It is very engaging, thought-provoking, and well worth your time. Successful completion of the online course will automatically be reported to the PVS Registrar.

If you have not yet completed the course, please do so soon to ensure that your USA Swimming registration does not lapse. Athlete protection training can be accessed and additional program information is available at http://www.usaswimming.org/protect USA Swimming membership cards for 2012 will be sent out during the month of December.


You Make the Call
During the course of a session, the Starter has, in several heats, issued the “Stand” command due to movement by swimmers on the blocks. In a later heat, the starting signal was given; the swimmer in lane 2 started just prior to the starting signal and was disqualified for a false start. The swimmer’s coach comes to the Referee and asks why the Starter hadn’t “saved” his swimmer with the “Stand” command. What should the Referee do?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


How to Fill-Out the DQ Slip
As we continue to encourage the use of the multi-part USA Swimming Disqualification Report at all meets, we have provided a brief guide to completing this form accurately and appropriately. You’ll find it on the PVS website.


Report from the National Officials Workshop - by Barb Ship
Brian Baker and I were fortunate to have been asked by the Officials Committee to attend the USA Swimming Officials Workshop in Dallas, Texas, in October. During this workshop, we had the opportunity to talk with and exchange information with officials from LSCs across the country. The workshop included both didactic / interactive presentations as well as small group breakout sessions. We also had the opportunity to work with some of the most experienced USA Swimming officials. I wanted to share will all PVS Officials some of the information from this workshop.

First, I learned that I am lucky to be part of an LSC that has good cooperation among its clubs and officials. PVS often is a leader in many ways. We are often the first to initiate new training or certification procedures, such as our Chief Judge certification process. We are one of the few LSCs that use certified officials for table positions, and one of the very few that require referees to become certified at these positions. Teamwork was an important theme for the weekend, and PVS does that very well, too. I learned that PVS does a superb job at training and mentoring its officials. Compared to other LSCs, however, there are some things that we can do better, especially when it comes to effectively utilizing chief judges. We lag behind other LSCs in that we have not used radios in many of our meets, especially non-championship meets. In addition, many other LSCs more effectively use marshals, especially given the emphasis on athlete protection. Many LSCs use marshals to monitor locker rooms to ensure athlete safety.

At the workshop, we spent some time reviewing and discussing rules, especially ones that are often misinterpreted or misapplied. Nowadays all technical swimming rules come directly from FINA, the governing body for international swimming. Once FINA makes a rule change, it is automatically incorporated into the “blue pages” of the USA Swimming rulebook.

Certain themes prevailed during the weekend. The concept of Teamwork was mentioned over and over. Not only do clubs need to work well together for the benefit of the swimmers, officials needs to work together to ensure fair and successful swim meets. The athletes always have to be our #1 priority, and the coaches, our #2 priority. Preparation was also a recurrent theme. Officials need to be well prepared. In some cases, this may be as simple as reviewing the rulebook and rules prior to a meet. In other cases, it may require much more comprehensive work, such as preparing adequately as meet referee beforehand. Communication was also stressed during the workshop. Effective and accurate communication is important, including such things as accurate meet announcements, accurate officials’ briefing, and accurate communication between chief judges and deck referees. Finally, we were encouraged to Make it Fun for all! Officials will be much more willing to volunteer if they are enjoying themselves on deck.

Brian and I appreciated being able to attend this workshop. Feel free to ask us about our experiences and share information when you see us on deck!

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.


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
The swimmer was disqualified by the Referee and Starter for starting prior to the starting signal when they independently declared the false start after the starting signal was given, which is the correct protocol. The “Stand” command is a judgment call by the Starter. The Referee should uphold the false start call.