"Around the Deck" masthead

September / October, 2012

Welcome to the New Season!
The kids are back in school, and a new season of swimming is upon us. Hopefully, you’re ready to dive in for another season of officiating. Volunteer officials are the lifeblood of Potomac Valley Swimming. Check the schedule below and contact the official-in-charge if you can help. We hope to see you at the Swimposium, or at one of the many PVS Officials’ clinics during the months of October and November. And we look forward to seeing you on deck frequently throughout the 2012-13 season!


Upcoming Meets

October 2012

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
5-6 Red & Black Invitational Univ. of MD Carrie Tupper
6 PEAK All Freestyle Meet PGS&LC Cecil Gordon
6 MSSC All Freestyle Meet Fairland Lynne Gerlach
6-7 Harvest Moon Herndon Jim Thompson
6-7 MAKO Fall Invitational GMU Tony Fitz
12-14 Snow Pumpkin Invitational Claude Moore Mike Ryan
12-14 RMSC Kickoff Meet Germantown Izumi Horikawa
19-21 October Open Lee District
Fairland 1
Fairland 2
Brian Baker
Art Davis
Ed Dona
20-21 Halloween Mini Meet Madeira Ben Holly
27-28 MSSC Fall Senior Meet Fairland Lynne Gerlach
27-28 Speedo Eastern States Senior Circuit PGS&LC John Mason
27-28 SDS Monster Mash South Run Nora Burke

2012 Swimposium
The 2012 PVS Swimposium will be held at Washington-Lee High School, in Arlington on Sunday, September 30, 2012. It will include tracks for athletes, parents, coaches, officials, and club business management. The athletes track will feature former Olympians Josh Davis, Ian Crocker, and Christine Magnuson. Our special guest for the officials track is Jim Sheehan. Jim is a member of the USA Swimming Officials Committee and a former USA Swimming National Officials Chair. He currently serves as USA Swimmings Vice President for Program Operations. Jim has officiated at numerous prestigious national and international meets, including the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Attendance at the 2012 PVS Swimposium can be used to fulfill the recertification clinic requirement for the Stroke and Turn, Starter, and Referee positions. It cannot be used as an initial certification clinic at any position. Register for the Swimposium at: http://www.pvswim.org/bod/12_swimposium_regform.pdf


Officials’ Clinics
The Fall schedule of PVS Officials’ clinics has been posted on the website. There are clinics in both Maryland and Virginia for Stroke & Turn Judges, Starters, Referees, Timing System Operators, and Hy-Tek Operators during the months of September, October and November. Pre-registration for the clinics is encouraged, but not required. You can just show up on the date and time of the clinic. Article 102.12.2 of USA Swimming rules states: “All officials acting in the capacity of Referee, Starter, or Stroke and/or Turn Judge at a swimming meet shall be certified in such position by their LSC prior to being assigned to officiate in that capacity.” Attendance at a clinic at least once every two years is a requirement for your certification. Be sure to check the website throughout the year for additional clinics.


You Make the Call
A backstroker starts her race and surfaces prior to the 15-meter mark. She then re-submerges and resurfaces, again prior to the 15-meter mark. Is this legal?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


Ready to Move Up?
So, you’ve been a Stroke & Turn Judge for about a year now. Are you ready to move up to a bit more responsibility on deck? Have you considered becoming a Starter? Or maybe a certified Chief Judge? Or one of the “table positions.” The Stroke & Turn Judge is definitely the most important and crucial position on deck—and we’re all Stroke & Turn Judges. But you gain additional insight and appreciation for this sport when you advance to Starter, Chief Judge, Referee, CTS Operator, etc. You also become more versatile and valuable to your club.

For all positions except Referee, when you feel you are ready to advance, you may attend the appropriate clinic and begin to fulfill the requirements for certification in that position. For advancement to Referee, the first steps include nomination by your club’s officials chair or a member of the Officials Committee, as well as an invitation from the Officials Committee.

Complete requirements for advancement to other positions can be found at http://www.pvswim.org/official/certification_requirements.html


Evaluating Our Performance
One way to improve as an official is to honestly evaluate your performance after each session. Did you do your part to provide safe, fair, and equitable conditions of competition? Were you attentive to the participants and respectful to the integrity of the sport? Was your demeanor professional and courteous throughout the session? Did you consistently maintain high standards? What did you learn during the session?

Bill Russell, the legendary center for the Boston Celtics, used to keep his own personal scorecard. He graded himself after every game on a scale from one to one hundred. In his career of more than 1200 games, including a run of eleven championships in thirteen years, he never graded himself higher than 65. It was his constant striving for the highest standards, and identifying the areas where he could do better, that made him one of the greatest basketball players ever.


Are You a Mentor?
A new season 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.”


National Certification
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.


Feet First for Warmups
Did you ever wonder why we ask the swimmers to step in instead of dive in during warmups? By stepping in feet first, your child is significantly reducing his/her chance of being injured or causing an injury. Although accidents are very rare in swimming, injuries do occur. The practice of stepping, rather than diving, is simply a safety precaution and a safety policy of USA Swimming. At your next meet, during warmups help to ensure that all swimmers enter the pool feet first for warmups. It’s all about safety.


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’
No. Once the head breaks the surface within the 15 meter mark the swimmer may not resubmerge regardless of the fact that the swimmer resurfaces again within the 15 meter mark. The rule requires that the swimmer must break the surface of the water throughout the race except for the start and turns. Once the head has surfaced, the start or turn has ended, and the requirement of remaining on the surface throughout the race is applicable.