"Around the Deck" masthead

February, 2012

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 2012

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
4 SNOW February Qualifier Claude Moore Mike Ryan
4-6 Super FISH Bowl Spring Hill Alan Goldblatt
11-12 PM 14 & U JO Qualifier Cub Run Brian Baker
11-12 President's Day Classic Warrenton Dan Young
12 PVS February Distance Meet Fairland Randy Bowman
12 Munchkin Mania Fairland Randy Bowman
17-19 18 & U Age Group Champs Lee District Ed Dona
17-19 26th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet Takoma Al Betts
18-19 Gender Blender Mini Meet Kennedy Shriver Center Izumi Horikawa
18-19 Winter Gator Mini Meet Washington-Lee HS Alan Hewitt
19 YORK Friendship Meet Madeira School Ben Holly
25-26 RMSC February Qualifier Germantown Amy Hsu
25-26 14 & U JO Qualifier Madeira School Stewart Gordon


Spring Championship Meets
Short course season culminates with several championship meets next month. Two of these meets afford officials the opportunity to be evaluated for National 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 SC Senior Championships will be held March 8-11 at George Mason University. This will be an Officials Qualifying Meet for the National Certification program; officials can be evaluated for N2 in all positions as well as N3 S&T Judge. Officials wishing to work at this meet should submit the application found on the PVS website. You must apply no later than March 1 for specific deck positions. However, late applications and walk-ins are also welcome and will be assigned to available positions. Any official interested in being evaluated at this meet must apply in advance.

Concurrent with Senior Champs, PVS SC Junior Championships will likewise be held March 8-11 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 1 for assigned deck positions, but, once again, late applications and walk-ins are also welcome and will be assigned to available positions. This meet is separate from Senior Champs and is held under a separate sanction, although the finals sessions will be swum combined with the finals of Senior Champs.

On the following weekend, March 15-18, PVS 14 & Under Junior Olympic Championships will be held at Fairland Aquatic Center.

Finally, March 22-25 at George Mason University, PVS will be the host LSC for the Speedo Championship Series, Eastern Zone Southern Sectional Meet. This meet will feature outstanding senior swimmers from across the Eastern Zone. This will be an Officials Qualifying Meet for the National Certification program; officials can be evaluated for N2 certification in all positions, and N3 certification in all positions except Administrative Referee. Any official interested in being evaluated at this meet must apply in advance. If you really want to see how a national-level championship meet is run, this is the meet for you. Officials interested in working this meet should submit the Application to Officiate.


You Make the Call
The first day of a meet is January 31, and only the 13 & older 400 IM and 1000 Free are being swum that day. February 1 is Emily’s 13th birthday, and she does not swim on the 31st. What is her age for the meet?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


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:
Roger Austin Brian Pawlowicz
Travis Blake  
David Cole (transfer)  
Darren Ewing Chief Judge:
Susie Hehir-Keyes Karin Heath
Jon Kaplan  
Sharon Kaup  
MacKenzie Kearney Referee:
Julie Lillte Ed Dona
Brian Lowe Stewart Gordon
Dana Matthews  
Chris Meoli
Jameliah Penfield ETS Operator:
Ray Spicer Bill Pritchard
Tom Taylor J.C. Richards
Rick Thompson  
Geoffrey Torrington  
Carol Toth

HyTek Operator:

Russ Vogel Marilyn Clune
Nico Vroom  
Judy Ziems  


Did You Know . . .
At the 1972 Olympic Games, Steve Genter suffered a collapsed lung only days before his event. Swimming without the consent of his doctors, he went on to finish with a silver medal in the 200-meter Freestyle and a bronze in the 400-meter Freestyle.


National Certification
The National Officials Certification Program is administered by the USA Swimming Officials Committee. Its primary goal is to expand the education of officials through mentoring, participation and evaluation as well recognizing those officials who have demonstrated their knowledge of swim officiating at each level and position.

USA Swimming recognizes two distinct levels of National Certification for officials: N2 and N3. N2, the first National level in a position, recognizes that an official is experienced and has been evaluated as capable of working the position at Sectional, Zone, Grand Prix and similar higher profile meets. N3, the second and highest National level in a position, is likewise administered by the National Officials Committee and recognizes that an official has the experience, skills, and knowledge to be considered for selection to work National Championship level meets in the position. Requirements for progression to N2 and N3 levels in the positions of Stroke and Turn Judge, Chief Judge, Starter, Deck Referee, and Admin Referee can be found on the USA Swimming website.


Camera Policy
The PVS Board of Directors adopted a policy to help protect the safety and privacy of our swimmers: “The use of equipment capable of taking pictures (eg., cameras, cellular phones, PDAs, etc.) will be banned behind the starting blocks during all meets sanctioned by PVS. Use of these devices will not be permitted behind the blocks during warm up or competition.” The following guidelines have been issued to help officials in enforcement of this policy:

  • S&T and Timer Briefing Update: “Use of cell phones and cameras in deck area behind the starting blocks is prohibited during warm-ups and competition. Report any violations to the Referee.”
  • The Referee directs the person to put the device away or leave the deck area immediately behind the starting blocks. If an athlete is involved, work through the coach for enforcement.
  • Enforcement of this restriction does not extend into raised spectator areas that are directly behind starting blocks. However, Officials shall continue prohibiting the use of flash photography from any location during the time swimmers are on the starting blocks.


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.


When is a Heat ‘Closed’? - from the Pacific Northwest Swimming Athletes Newsletter, used by permission
Clark Hammond, USA Swimming Officials Committee Chair, answers the question:

There has been some belief that the raising of the arm by the referee “closes the heat” and that any swimmer that steps up on the block after the arm is raised should be disqualified for delay of meet. In fact, there is nothing in the rules that states that once the arm is raised the heat is closed. The raising of the arm merely means that the heat is turned over to the starter. If the referee determines that a swimmer was somehow prevented from getting to the blocks or that there is some commotions behind the blocks that prevented the swimmer from getting to the blocks, then he or she is well within the rules to allow the swimmer to compete. It could also be that a timer or another person told the swimmer not to step up because it was not their heat.

Any of these is sufficient grounds to allow the swimmer to swim. So the mere raising of the arm does not automatically mean a swimmer that steps up thereafter is disqualified. A referee can and should intervene in the competition at any time to make sure the conditions for racing are fair and equitable for all swimmers. This would include the above examples.

With respect to finals, there is no requirement that the referee step the swimmers up on the blocks and raise his arm to close the heat before you can call the alternate. In fact, such a practice would seem to be unsettling to the 7 swimmers waiting to swim. If a referee observes that there is an open lane in the C finals (or consols or B finals if only 2 finals heats), and he determines that the swimmer is not present, he can call for the alternate without stepping up the heat and raising his arm. Now the real problem occurs when the referee calls for the alternate and the swimmer originally set to swim shows up late. Again, the referee should investigate and determine if there is a valid reason for the swimmer not being at the blocks at the time of the swim. Some would disagree – if you are not there when the heat is called, you’re out.

I will give one easy example of how this is not so easy to determine and should be decided based on the facts at the time. At a recent national meet, we had a swimmer fail to appear behind the blocks for the backstroke. The referee stepped the swimmers into the pool and then noticed the missing swimmer. She called for the alternate who appeared ready to swim. At this point, the swimmer originally slated to swim showed up. His excuse was he was a foreign athlete and he was waiting in the ready room area to be brought to the blocks. It’s your call, should he be disqualified or allowed to swim? Some would say that the alternate should swim because the original swimmer failed to appear ready to swim. Others say that the original swimmer should be allowed to swim based on the situation. Well, the swimmer was allowed to swim and I agree with the decision. Too many times folks want black and white rules, but some of our rules are written so that the officials can make a right call at the time depending on the situation. While there are some rules that are black and white – simultaneous two hand touch on breast and fly – in many cases there is no cut and dry rule and the official must use their best judgment based on the facts.


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
Regardless of the fact that she does not swim on the 31st, Emily competes in the meet as a 12-year-old since that is her age on the first day of the meet.