2012 Update #2
In this Issue:
Officials Shirts Update
A couple of events at some meets last week heightened the need for a reminder regarding swimmer safety - especially with regard to starts on a relay. The first reminder is that even if the pool depth is 4 or more feet at the turn-end, an "in the water start" is always permissible and the only person who should be giving the swimmers instructions is the coach, as they are in the best position to know the swimmer's ability to dive safely. The other reminder is to be alert for relay exchanges with inexperienced swimmers - either those in the water, who may not move to the side or "hug" the wall after their leg, or those on the blocks who may not be able to start safely. Coaches are encouraged to schedule their swimmers in the relay so the swimmers can start legally - and if they need special consideration (in the water starts, for example) then the swimmer should be placed in the relay in a position that would allow them to do that. And in either case, practice, practice, practice...
There have been some questions regarding how to handle situations where officials could easily see something in the lanes nearest them but not easily see the same thing in a farther lane. There may have been some confusion in that each official is responsible for their jurisdiction and the Starter/Referee could make a call for any infraction during the heat - provided that they would be able to make the same call across the competition (basically being able to see the same infraction in the farthest lane that they saw in the closest lane). The distinction that was being made during training was that this was unique to the Starter/Referee - and that a Stroke & Turn officials needs to put themselves in a position to see and call the blatant infractions (the ones the spectator sees from the far corner of the stands). This is sometimes a concern where officials have 4 lanes in their jurisdiction and in those cases, it's doubly important for officials to take responsibility getting where they can see, and put aside any distractions. We're not looking for perfection, as some DQs are missed even by the most experienced official, but if an infraction is clearly observed, then it should be called it rather than trying to make allowances in each case - keeping in mind too that the swimmer only needs to make an infraction once for it to be a valid DQ.
As mentioned at training, the process your club uses for processing DQs is important to the education effort needed by coaches and swimmers. So a couple of tips:
Make sure you have a procedure to process DQs, know it and use it. The Starter/Referee should be reviewing the DQs as they come in for accuracy (between starts and taking order of finish), turning the white slip over to the computer folks, and getting the yellow copy to the coaches in a timely manner. Don't wait for the end of the meet to do this!
Stroke & Turn officials should also be documenting the DQ on their heatsheet in case there are follow-up questions.
Feel free to have an experienced official act as a sounding board if there are questions about a DQ.
Use the words of the rules, not the DQ code, to document the infraction. The code is only used in the computer and for reports - coaches need to know what the swimmer did in order to educate/correct them.
Officials Shirts Update
Due to a delay in ordering of the officials shirts, they will not be arriving until later this week. Hopefully, we'll be able to get them distributed in time for next week's meets. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Q1:I see that the rules state for Butterfly, once the simultaneous two hand touch has been completed, the swimmer may complete the turn in any fashion. For the Breaststroke though, it does not plainly state how the turn should be completed. How should this be judged?
A1:You are correct and it can lead to some confusion. Both the fly and breast turns should be similar - so it's left up to the official's judgment as to how each is performed legally. The basics are still there - 2 hand simultaneous touch, leaving the wall at or past vertical towards the breast, and then the arm stroke in breast must be horizontal (which is where the similarities end). I'm not sure why they didn't make them read all the same and instead having this fall into the 'art of officiating' in determining if the turn is performed properly.
Q2: An inexperienced freestyle swimmer would swim about 5-10 strokes, stop to rest and grab the side of the pool with their hand, then swim another 5-10 strokes and repeat. From my vantage point (a) the swimmer did not make contact with the side of the pool with anything other than their hand and (b) the swimmer did not push off the side of the pool with their hand. If the swimmer had touched the side wall with their body and/or feet, I assume that would have been OK as long as they did not push off the side wall when they left the wall? And if the swimmer had been in a middle lane, could they have hung on to the lane line to rest? I believe they could have (in freestyle only). Is all this legal?
A2:. The rules are silent on the "sides" of the pool, but Rule 102.22.10 requires that forward motion is not permitted if the lane line is grasped. So by extension, the best way to judge would be to treat them similarly. It would be very difficult for a butterfly or breaststroke swim to be done legally and touch the side of the pool or lane line so we'll confine this question to back and free. And yes, as long as the backstroke swim is done "at or past vertical towards the back", then a swimmer could touch without pushing or propelling them further down the course during backstroke or freestyle. They would need to "release" from the wall or lanelines when leaving in order to be legal. This falls into one of those grey areas of officiating - and a good reminder that we're observing the competition, not inspecting.
As always, thanks for all you do. It was great seeing so many folks turn out at our trainings - each team was represented by at least 2 officials. If you have any questions, feel free to send them them on!
Midlakes Swim League