"Around the Deck" masthead

March, 2012

It’s the Championship Season
March means championships—and lots of them! PVS athletes of all ages have been working hard and gearing-up for these meets all season. There will definitely be some fast times and memorable races this month! We need you to make the meets a success for our swimmers. Championship meets require championship officiating—can we count on your help?


Upcoming Meets

March 2012

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
8-11 PVS Senior Championships GMU Tim Husson
8-11 PVS Junior Championships GMU David Merkin
10-11 RMSC Mini Championships Olney Swim Center Scott Witkin
15-18 PVS 14 & U Junior Olympic Championships Fairland Barb Ship
22-25 Speedo Championship Series
Eastern Zone Southern Sectional Meet

GMU Eastern Zone
23-25 RMSC Spring Finale Germantown  
23-25 MSSC Spring Championships Fairland Lynne Gerlach
23-25 March Madness OakMarr Ben Holly
29-31 Eastern Zone SC Championships Webster, NY Eastern Zone
31-1 MAKO Spring Invitational GMU Tony Fitz


Spring Championship Meets
Short course season culminates with several championship meets this month. It all begins with PVS Senior Championships, March 8-11 at George Mason University in Fairfax. 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. This meet is an Officials Qualifying Meet for the National Certification program, offering the opportunity for formal evaluation at the N2 level for all positions and the N3 level for S&T Judge. Any official interested in being evaluated at this championship meet must apply in advance.

Concurrent with Senior Champs, PVS 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. 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. The application to work at this meet can likewise be found on the PVS website. You must apply no later than March 10 for specific deck positions. Once again, late applications and walk-ins are welcome and will be assigned to available positions.


Eastern Zone Sectionals
March 22-25 at George Mason University, PVS will be the host LSC for the Speedo Championship Series, Eastern Zone Southern Sectional Meet. This Long Course meet will feature some of the fastest 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 want to see some very fast swimming , and 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.


But Wait . . . There’s More
Are your children swimming at the RMSC Mini Championships, MSSC Spring Championships, or the MAKO Spring Invitational? We need your help at these meets also. See the schedule above to contact the meet ref.


PVS Mailing Lists
PVS is transitioning all of its email lists from the current provider (Officials@PotomacValleySwimming.org) to Google Groups. The new list requires all members to opt-in. As a member of the officials mailing list, you will receive an invitation from the list administrator, Tim Husson, with the subject “Google Groups Invitation: PVS Officials”. To join the list, you must click the link in the email to subscribe to the new list. These lists are all private and spam-free. If you have any questions, please contact Tim Husson.


You Make the Call
At the turn in a 50-yard butterfly event, the turn judge recommends a disqualification for a one-hand touch. Upon questioning the turn judge, the chief judge determines that the turn judge observed three swimmers in his jurisdiction come into the wall simultaneously. As the turn judge shifted his eyes across all three lanes, the turn judge observed the swimmer in lane 3 pulling away from the wall with only the left hand in contact with the wall. Because the turn judge did not observe the right hand of the swimmer in contact with the wall, he raised his hand to make a call. Is this a valid DQ?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


Mentoring Matters
This year’s 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 trainee 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 was 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.

The mentoring process is primarily an educational one and is intended to be a positive experience that will allow officials to grow in knowledge, experience and enjoyment of swim officiating. Mentors can bring to life the theoretical concepts presented at clinics, and can demonstrate practical aspects of officiating.

Most sessions can accommodate several trainees for S&T Judge, but only very rarely would there be the possibility of multiple trainees for Referee, Starter, or the table positions at a single session. The Referee will assign mentors to trainee Stroke & Turn officials during the stroke briefing. Ideally a mentor should be an experienced official who has been certified at least one year in the position. The S&T mentor should begin by reviewing position and jurisdiction area on deck for that meet. Review and explain the rules that apply for the various events. Describe what you’re looking at while the swimmer is approaching and leaving your jurisdiction. Share with the trainee how you observe without scrutinizing, especially when there are multiple swimmers in your jurisdiction. Explain any disqualifications observed and review the proper procedure for reporting DQs. Give constructive feedback that emphasizes progress and areas for improvement, and always explain the reason for any suggestion. And always remember that your trainee is a volunteer, like all of us.

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


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:
Tammy Abrogast Anne Akers-Smith
Amy Cantilina  
Bill Gray Starter:
John Kaneko Ray Nash
Ian Kelly John Werderman
Melanie McKula  
Dean Shepard HyTek Operator:
  Kurt Ilgenfritz
Electronic Timing Operator: Tony Knick
Mamatha Raghunath Melanie McKula
  Kim Wiecki


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.


The Timing Judge
Because of its critical importance, many people contribute to determining the Official Time for each swimmer. But it is ultimately the responsibility of the Timing Judge to determine the Official Time for each swimmer. All other personnel (Lane Timers, Chief Timer, and ETS Operator) provide input to this determination. Only the Timing Judge or the Referee can make the formal determination.

The Timing Judge should have available all times produced by the all timing systems being used, as well as any supplemental information that may be useful to determining the Official Time. This includes reports of possible problems from the timers and the ETS Operator, as well as the reported order of finish from the Starter. The Timing Judge also assures all disqualifications approved by the Referee are recorded so that those swimmers do not receive an Official Time. Once the Official Time is determined, it is provided to the HyTek Operator.

When automatic timing is the primary timing system, the pad times must be compared with the button or watch times to verify that the pad times are valid. If the backup times vary from the pad time by .29 seconds or less, the pad time must be used as the Official Time. When there is a difference of .30 seconds or more, the Timing Judge should review other available information in order to make an informed decision. This information can include consistent backup times supporting a different time, reports that the swimmer missed the pad, touched the pad too lightly, the reliability of the pad in other heats, and/or a recorded order of finish.

When the Timing Judge concludes that he cannot recommend use of the time produced by the Primary Timing System as the Official Time, he must obtain the Referee’s concurrence. In doing so, he should explain his rationale for rejecting the primary time and his basis for determining the Official Time. The Referee may provide guidelines to the Timing Judge regarding circumstances when an adjustment may be made without seeking individual approval. When integrating times from different timing systems (i.e. secondary and tertiary system times with the primary system times) the back-up times shall be adjusted as specified in the USA Swimming Rules.


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
The chief judge should recommend to the referee that the call not be accepted. Officials should only call what they see, not what they don’t see. While it is possible that the swimmer did not make a two-hand touch, it is also possible that a two-hand touch was made, but made before the turn judge had shifted his eyes to that lane.