Know . . .
As of September 1, 2012 there were 10,500 athletes in Potomac
Valley Swimming—and the numbers continue to climb dramatically.
We are currently the fourth largest LSC in the country in terms of number
of swimmers, yet geographically the smallest in size. Additionally,
with the start of the new season Potomac Valley has added six new clubs.
Expect lots of new faces on deck this season!
Next Officials Qualifying Meet:
Sport Fair Winter
Classic, December 6-9
are fortunate in Potomac Valley to have several Officials Qualifying
Meets each year where officials can be evaluated by National Evaluators.
Many officials around the country must (and do) travel to meets where
they can be evaluated under the National Certification Program.
Officials Qualifying Meets (OQMs) provide the opportunity for
evaluation for N2 and N3 level. But more importantly, they are a great
way to get feedback about our skills as officials. You can request an
evaluation solely for educational purposes, if you wish. USA Swimming
strongly emphasizes that the process should focus mentoring to ensure
success or eventual success in achieving advancement. Mentors make sure
officials know the certification expectations for the position and provide
constructive feedback and active mentoring during the meet.
To be evaluated at an Officials Qualifying Meet (OQM), you
must work at least 4 sessions as an official at the meet. Complete information
regarding the National Certification Program is available on the USA
The following meets have been designated by the PVS Officials
Committee as Officials Qualifying Meets for this season: Sport
Fair Winter Classic, December 6-9; PVS Short Course Championships,
March 7-10; and PVS Long Course Championships, July 18-21.
For those officials who were in “the first wave” of completing
the USA Swimming criminal background check in 2010, you will need to
renew your background check in January or February of 2013. Check your
registration card for your expiration date.
The criminal background check is an integral part of USA Swimming’s
efforts to foster a safe and positive environment for our athletes.
Renewing your Level 2 background check is easy. Simply go to the USA
Swimming website (Member Resources > Safe Sport > Screening
and Selection). Complete directions can be found at http://usaswimming.org/backgroundcheck.
Assuming this is a renewal, you will choose “Option 2: If you
need to renew your USA Swimming background check” and follow the
prompts. As was the case with the initial screening, a fee is charged
by AISS for the background check. Once again, the PVS Board of Directors
has generously committed to reimbursing qualified officials who request
reimbursement using the form on the PVS website.
You Make the Call
In the 100-yard backstroke, a swimmer takes a starting position with
the toes curled over the lip of the gutter. The Starter fails to notice
this and gives the signal to start the heat. The Turn Judge for that
lane signals a disqualification for having the toes curled over the
lip of the gutter during the swim. Is this a valid DQ?
See the answer at the bottom of this
Officials look more “official” when they’re uniformly
and neatly attired. The customary PVS uniform for officials is: Navy
blue slacks (but no jeans) or shorts, a collared white shirt and predominantly
white rubber-soled shoes. Women may wear navy blue skirts. PVS Championship
meets have a slightly different uniform.
But how did the zebra-like uniform for officials in many other
sports come to be? Legend has it that the striped uniform was developed
by Lloyd Olds, a high-school and college referee from Michigan. As the
story goes, he usually wore a solid white shirt. At a college football
game in 1920, the visiting team also wore white. When their quarterback
mistakenly handed off the football to Olds, he knew he had to come up
with a different uniform. Olds decided that wearing stripes would be
the best way to avoid confusion. He had a friend make him a black and
white striped shirt, which he wore for the first time during the 1921
state basketball championships. Other officials saw his outfit and started
copying it. The rest, as they say, is history!
Don’t Assume . . .
- Don’t assume that because there are experienced swimmers
in your jurisdiction, they will always swim legally. Even Olympic
medalists DQ sometimes.
- Don’t assume that because you’ve already called
one violation you can skip the next one on that swimmer. The first
might be overturned and the second might have been upheld—had
it been called.
- Don’t assume that, because you’ve seen a hand
go up at the other end of the pool, the swimmer has already been disqualified.
It could be a different swimmer, a different violation, or a violation
that is ultimately overturned.
- Don’t assume that, if the Referee or the Chief Judge
questions you about your call, he/she doesn’t believe you or
is trying to talk you out of it. This official likely did not see
the violation and needs to be able to describe the details to the
We’ve all seen it—just after the starter gives the
signal to start the heat, a swimmer jumps up on the block and dives
into the pool. What’s the correct call?
According to Article 101.1.5 B, the swimmer should be disqualified
for failing to appear at the starting platform ready to swim in time
for the initial start of his/her heat. Jumping up on the block after
the proverbial “last second” and diving into the pool is
a very dangerous practice. At many PVS meets there is no penalty for
missing an assigned heat. So the better solution for the swimmer is
to report to the Deck Referee and see if a reseed is possible.
Note that this is not the same scenario as a swimmer stepping
on the blocks after “Take your mark” but before the starting
signal is sounded. In this case, the swimmer clearly arrived prior to
the start of the heat. The Referee certainly has the option to question
the swimmer regarding his/her reason for being late. But, at most PVS
meets, the Starter asks the field to “Stand,” gives the
swimmers a few seconds to collect themselves, and gives the “Take
your mark” command again.
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
Timer Requirements and Recommendations
The Timing Rules are Section 102.24 in the USA-S Rulebook. As defined
in the rulebook, there are three possible primary timing systems: Automatic
(touchpads), Semi-Automatic (electronic button finish), and Manual (stopwatches).
The rules and recommendations for timers are different for each of these
Automatic Timing - When Automatic Timing
is used as the primary system, a minimum of one timer is required to
operate both the secondary (button) and tertiary (stopwatch) backup
systems. Having to operate a backup button, a watch, and handle the
clipboard is too much to ask of a single timer, particularly when doing
dive-over starts with a 15 sec. heat interval. So, the recommendation
is for a minimum of two timers; one timer operates a stopwatch and button,
the other timer operates a button and handles the clipboard.
Semi-Automatic Timing - When Semi-Automatic
Timing is used as the primary system, a minimum of two buttons is required.
Each must be operated by a separate timer. A backup consisting of at
least one stopwatch is required. The recommendation is for a minimum
of two timers; one timer operates a stopwatch and button, the other
timer operates a button and handles the clipboard.
Manual Timing - When using Manual Timing,
three stopwatches per lane are required, each operated by a separate
Ways to Be a Better Mentor
Mentors make a significant and important contribution to Potomac Valley
Swimming. Mentoring is an effective process that helps all officials
improve their knowledge and skills, and also influences their motivation.
Great mentors understand how to develop strong relationships and provide
valuable support and advice.
Here are ten ways to be a better mentor:
- Be sure to get the person’s approval to be mentored.
Nobody likes unsolicited advice!
- Help the person understand and feel that you’re there
to support them.
- Honor confidentiality – everything the person tells
you stays with you only.
- Listen to their story to show interest and understand their
- Identify with the person’s concerns.
- Ask questions to help the person build awareness of good
skills and areas for improvement.
- Identify and confirm performance/behavior that demonstrates
- Be compassionate when you discuss areas for improvement.
- Discuss no more than 1 or 2 areas for improvement per mentoring
- Provide a couple of options for correct practice for each
area of improvement.
Ideally, mentoring is an ongoing process that provides a loop
for self-analysis that generates awareness, commitment to change, and
applying correct practice. For the process to be effective you must
provide honest feedback, what the person needs to hear; not what they
would like to hear.
Resolution to ‘You Make
No. Prior to the start it is the Starter’s responsibility to make
sure the swimmer has the correct starting position. If not corrected
before the starting signal is given, no penalty may be assessed. Curling
toes over the gutter from a legal position after the starting
signal is a violation that would be in the Turn Judge’s jurisdiction.