OFFICIALS UPDATE #3
In this Issue:
Officials Shirts Update
The official's job of safety and fairness across the competition includes helping other parents understand the process for conducting a meet. It also might include helping a coach with entries (ensuring the limit of number of entries is observed, no more than the maximum number of exhibition heats, proper B-meet entries) as well as with relay entries. As the Referee/Starter can't be everywhere, an observant Stroke & Turn official would be a great aide to let the Referee/Starter know about any abnormal entries, especially if you know the swimmers. Don't be shy about providing your observation about such entries to the lead official - and feel free to help your coach consistently and fairly apply the rules in accordance with the rules and the Midlakes Swim Plan.
Also, last minute entry changes and additions should be avoided. Obviously, there are cases where medical issues may make a swimmer unavailable for the meet - but then all entries should be completed before the meet and these would merely be scratches. Entries for relays can certainly be adjusted as long as there are alternates identified on the entry but these should be taken care of well before the event starts (and a good topic to discuss at the coaches meeting, and then any scratches/changes can be communicated to officials at the officials meeting).
Managing B-meet entries is important too. Swimmers can swim any event in a "B" meet provided they have not achieved a B-Disqualification in that event. From the Swim Operating Plan Section F.8: "In dual meets, once a swimmer has achieved a “B” disqualifying time in a given stroke, they may not swim that same event (individual or as part of a relay) in a "B" dual meet. This shall not disallow swimming up an age group or penalize the swimmer first achieving their “B” disqualifying time at a "B" Dual Meet." For example, if a swimmer has B-Disqualification times in the 100 IM, 50 Free and 50 Back, they can continue to swim the 50 Fly and/or 50 Breast in a B meet until they achieve the B-Disqualification time in each of those events.
One of the duties of the Referee/Starter is to help out other officials, and experienced officials might want to offer their help as well. This is particularly true when helping new starters - and maybe those who need to have a little more practice. Like the Stroke & Turn officials where we try to mirror each other on deck, Starters should strive to be consistent both during their shift and with the next shift starter. Listen to each other and make sure that you are inviting swimmers to respond to the start command (not "barking orders"), use the words we discussed in training (don't add or subtract unnecessarily), and don't be too slow or too quick. A nice even pace will help you help the swimmers perform well and get your meet done on time.
Starters should also note the "order of finish" after all races and are responsible, during the medley relay and backstroke events, for the "placement of the feet" whistle (the third whistle) or the verbal command to "place your feet". While we may forget from time to time, don't be offended if another official comes up to give you a "friendly reminder" about these additional duties. Also, keep an eye out for your on-deck Stroke & Turn officials as they may need some help processing DQ slips, which will affect your results. As mentioned in training, the processing of DQ slips in a timely manner is important to make sure coaches are seeing them as the meet progresses, so they can provide education to swimmers or, if necessary, lodge a protest over a call.
Finally, all officials should be aware of Midlakes' "No Alcohol In the Competition Zone" rule. No one acting in an official capacity (including officials, coaches, timers, and staging) should be partaking of adult beverages during their shift and should not be bringing alcohol into/around the pool during or after their shift while the meet progresses. The Lead/Head official should work with coaches and team parent representatives to address any issues that come up in this regard.
Officials Shirts Update
Shirts have been delivered all club pools where officials ordered shirts. Thanks for your patience as we worked through order processing and delivery challenges.
Q1: I recently had 2 situations during the backstroke turn. First, a swimmer turned past vertical to their breast at the end of the pool, but instead of pulling, the swimmer faced the wall with arms extended, reached for the pool edge, touched the wall,stood up, held the pool edge and then pushed backward off the wall to begin swimming again. In another situation, a swimmer touched the wall on their back, then turned around by standing and then pushed off the wall towards their back. Is all this legal?
A1:This is one of those times where you'll need to use your judgment in determining if they have touched the wall and stand during their turn - "turning in any manner". As long as the swimmer does not push OFF the bottom, they could stand during this action. And if, during the turn they do not pull, leaving their arms extended, then touch the wall, this falls into the category of "acceptable" (though certainly not fast). Officials are looking for those "blatant" violations, so you'd need to be sure you saw an infraction to make a call during these type of turns. The major thing to keep in mind is that swimmers are not allowed to "recover" their arms during a backstroke turn, as that would then be "swimming on the breast".
Q2: At our pool, the edge of the pool is a rolled, continuous edge that extends an inch or so beyond the plane of the vertical wall of the pool far above the surface of the water. I noticed that as swimmers come in to touch at a turn or finish they frequently touch, grab or slap the top and front edge of the rolled edge. What constitutes 'the wall' and if they touch in that way, is that a DQ?
A2:The wall is the "end" of the pool and overflow of the gutter (limited, within reason, to the portion of the gutter connected to the literal end of the pool. There would be no DQ touching this rounded corner as you described, as long as during breaststroke and butterfly, there is a 2-hand simultaneous touch, at, above or below the water surface. But I'd limit the definition of your wall to the vertical portion up to and including the rounded corner, but not extending too much beyond that going onto the deck. I'd characterize it as "treating it as though the water level and the edge were at the same height" and let your judgment look there as it would be challenging for the swimmer to truly execute a simultaneous touch.
Q3: I had a coach come up to me to tell me that her relay should be DQ'd because one boy would be swimming twice. I wrote up a slip and sent it in. In another case, a relay was incomplete because they only had 2 swimmers. The 2 boys swam their part and then they ended, I wrote a DQ slip up for them also. Is this something the stroke and turn official should be watching for, or the starter, or is it up to the coach to report? (I honestly probably would not have noticed if the same boy swam the first and last leg.) And I've never had the question of a relay not having 4 swimmers. Any advice?
A3:This is one of those cases where you do the best that you can with what you've got - and that includes letting a coach tell you. Yes, you can write it up - and you might want to walk over to the starter/referee as they should be paying attention to things like this. This would be a great question to include at your Officials Meeting!
As always, thanks for all you do. If you have any questions, feel free to send them them on!
Midlakes Swim League