"Around the Deck" masthead

February, 2013

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 2013

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
1-3 IM Xtreme Games Univ. of MD Scott Witkin
2-3 Gender Blender Mini Meet KSAC Izumi Horikawa
2-3 Super FISH Bowl Spring Hill Alan Goldblatt
3 Polar Pentathlon Claude Moore Art Davis
9-10 President's Day Classic WARF Dan Young
10 February Distance Meet Fairland Jim Thompson
10 YORK Friendship Mini Meet Madeira Ben Holly
10 Munchkin Mania Fairland Randy Bowman
15-17 27th Annual Black History Meet Takoma Mohamed Chouikha
16-17 PM 14 & U JO Qualifier
Cub Run Brian Baker
16-17 MACH 14&U JO Qualifier Madeira Stewart Gordon
22-24 18 & U Age Group Champs Lee District Mark Harris
22-24 RMSC February Qualifier MLK Swim Center Scott Witkin
23 SNOW February Qualifier Claude Moore Mike Ryan
23-24 Winter Gator Mini Meet Washington-Lee HS  


Are You Up-To-Date?
A major component of registration is the USA Swimming criminal background check. All non-athlete members must successfully renew the Level 2 background check prior to it expiring. This is an online process that starts at www.usaswimming.org/backgroundcheck. Click on “Initiate a Background Check” and follow the prompts. Once again, the PVS Board of Directors has generously committed to reimbursing qualified officials who request reimbursement using the form on the PVS website.

Later this year most PVS officials will also need to renew their Athlete Protection Training course. Details on this renewal will be available soon.


Spring Championship Meets
Short course season culminates with several championship meets next month, one of which will 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 Senior Championships will be held March 7-10 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 specific deck positions. However, late applications and walk-ins are also welcome and will be assigned to available positions.

PVS Senior Championships will be an “Officials Qualifying Meet,” offering the opportunity for formal evaluation at both the N2 and N3 levels. Any official interested in being evaluated at this championship meet must apply in advance. Our lead evaluator for this meet will be Paul Maker. Paul is an experienced official who has held many leadership positions in USA Swimming.

Concurrent with Senior Champs, PVS Junior Championships will likewise be held March 7-10 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 14-17, PVS 14 & Under Junior Olympic Championships will be held at the University of Maryland. You must apply no later than March 8 for specific deck positions. Once again, late applications and walk-ins are welcome and will be assigned to available positions.



You Make the Call
The Starter gives the command “Take your mark.” The swimmer in lane 2 takes a stationary position and then dives into the pool before the starting signal. The Starter intends to give the “Stand” command, but accidentally presses the starting button and then activates the recall signal. The race is recalled, but the Starter and Referee agree that the swimmer in lane 2 clearly started before the starting signal and should be disqualified for a false start. Is this the correct call?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


USA Swimming Registration
Since 2006, PVS has generously paid the USA Swimming registration renewal fee for eligible officials. The PVS Officials Committee has recently clarified the policy regarding eligibility for this benefit. Starting with 2014 renewals, PVS will pay the USA Swimming registration renewal for certified officials who work a minimum of 10 sessions at PVS-sanctioned meets (approved/observed meets are not counted) during the calendar year, as recorded in OTS. Officials who don’t meet the eligibility requirements are responsible for payment of the USA Swimming registration fee, but can consult their club to determine any reimbursement on the club level.


How to Improve as a Swim Official

  • Work regularly – There is no substitute for experience.
  • Know the rules – Review the rulebook on a regular basis; listen carefully to the pre-meet briefing, no matter how many times you’ve heard it previously.
  • Have a protective (rather than punitive) attitude – A DQ is not considered a penalty against a swimmer, but rather a protection of all the other swimmers who went to the effort to swim properly in accordance with USA Swimming Rules & Regulations.
  • Be consistent – The rules are the same for 6-year olds and for Olympic medalists.
  • Work at a high profile meet – You’ll work with many experienced, knowledgeable officials in championship conditions. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll learn.
  • Evaluate your performance after every session – Did I do my part to provide safe, fair, and equitable conditions of competition?


Did You Know . . .
At the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela, the U.S. men’s 400 meter medley relay consisted of all four 100-meter stroke world record holders at the time, the only instance this has happened in swimming history. (Rick Carey, Steve Lundquist, Matt Gribble, Rowdy Gaines)


The Meet Referee
The Meet Referee is the official who has overall responsibility for the conduct of the meet. He/she has duties before, during, and after the meet takes place. Before the meet the Meet Referee is in contact with the Meet Director and the Officials Chair of the sponsoring club to review the meet announcement and to ensure that equipment, materials, and personnel will be available and appropriate for the sessions. During the competition, the Meet Referee’s role is to ensure safe competition and consistent application of rules and procedures for all sessions of the meet. As such, the Meet Referee should present at all sessions to supervise the officiating team and to make certain that any and all issues are addressed. After the meet, he/she ensures staffing information is entered into OTS. It’s an extremely demanding job, but one that’s absolutely critical and enormously satisfying.

PVS has published Guidelines for Meet Referees. That document should be reviewed regularly by all Meet Referees.


2016 Olympic Trials
USA Swimming announced the cities that have submitted official bids to host the 2016 Olympic Team Trials. A total of six cities will be reviewed as the potential site for the biggest swimming event in the country that will select the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swim Team. The cities in contention are: Greensboro, NC; Indianapolis, IN; Jacksonville, FL; Omaha, NE; St. Louis, MO; and San Antonio, TX.

Of the bid cities, only two have previously hosted the event – Indianapolis and Omaha. Indianapolis hosted Trials in 1952, 1984, 1992, 1996 and 2000, while Omaha played host to the event in 2008 and 2012. The 2012 Olympic Swim Trials saw over 164,000 fans in attendance and the eight-days of competition were broadcast live on NBC every night.

The selection announcement is expected to be made following the USA Swimming Board Meeting at the end of April.


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.


Where Are They Now?
What are former U.S. Olympic swimmers up to now? Here are a few updates.

  • Mark Spitz: Winner of 7 gold medals at the 1972 Olympic Games, Mark was ranked #33 on ESPN’s 50 Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century, the only swimmer to make the list. Today Mark owns a real estate company and is a motivational speaker living in Los Angeles. He and his wife have two sons, the younger of whom swims at Stanford University.
  • Pablo Morales: Pablo won three gold and two silver medals in the 1984 and 1992 Games. He co-founded the swim gear company Finis, and is currently the University of Nebraska’s head swimming and diving coach.
  • Don Schollander: Don won four gold medals at the 1964 Olympic Games. He is married and has three adult children. He now lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon and manages his real estate development firm. His gold medals are on display to the public at a bank branch location in downtown Lake Oswego.
  • Tom Jager: Tom won seven medals in three Olympic Games. He set the 50-meter freestyle world record three times during his career, including a 10-year run from 1990-2000. He is currently the head swimming coach at Washington State University and is married with two sons, both of whom swim for his club team.
  • Rowdy Gaines: Gold medalist at the 1984 games, Rowdy missed out on his best years due to the 1980 U.S. boycott. Today he is often heard as a TV commentator for swimming events, and is the chief fundraiser for USA Swimming. Rowdy currently resides in Lake Mary, FL with his wife and four daughters.
  • Mike Barrowman: Potomac Valley’s own Mike Barrowman won gold in the 200-meter breaststroke in world record time at the 1992 Games. After the Olympics, Mike took up competitive flatwater kayaking, competing at the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1995. He is now a banker and part-time masters swim coach in the Cayman Islands.

Next month we’ll follow-up with some of the female Olympians.


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
No, he should not be disqualified. According to Article 101.1.3C, “If the recall signal is activated inadvertently, no swimmer shall be charged with a false start and the Starter shall restart the race upon signal by the Referee.”