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Please continue to send in your
Maxwell Excellence Awards Nominations. The form can be found in the
recognition section of the Officials page on the USASwimming.org
Click here to submit your nomination.
Check here for applications to officiate at upcoming National
Click here to apply.
Campaign Launches to Attract New Swimming
USA Swimming launched a new social
media campaign today to highlight the benefits of becoming a
swimming official. The campaign was designed in collaboration with
the Officials’ Committee, and aims to attract new officials
and retain existing officials.
The light-hearted campaign provides a unique insight into the
lives of officials, their values and focuses heavily on the
benefits of being an official. The posts will be a mixture of fun,
inspirational, serious and even lightly sarcastic at
“Through this campaign, we wanted to show another side of
officiating and the friendships, comradery and sense of pride we
share together,” said Jim Holcomb, USA Swimming
Officials’ Committee Chair from El Paso, Texas. Providing a
service to the athletes is a role we take seriously, yet we also
manage to have a great experience in the process. We even poke some
fun at ourselves a bit on some of the ‘perks’ and
quirks of being an official.”
The campaign will be ongoing throughout the year through USA
Swimming social accounts on Facebook and Twitter, and also
supported through the Officials’ Committee Facebook, Twitter
and Instagram pages. We encourage ongoing posts from the 14,000
swimming officials across the country.
“These officials volunteer their time to help every meet run
for the athletes and coaches, so getting the swimming community to
share these posts will give them a pat on the back and provide
encouragement to get involved,” said Dan McAllen, USA
Swimming Program Operations Vice Chair and member of the Board of
Directors from Fallbrook, California. “Getting officials
involved is vital to the future of the sport, so we wanted to tell
the story in a way that encourages people to come forward and be
part of the great culture of swimming officials.”
The concept for the campaign originated at the 2016 We ARRE
Mentors Officials workshop in Chicago in a collaboration with the
USA Swimming staff and the 90 attendees of the workshop. That
mentor workshop was spearheaded by Melissa Hellervik-Bing of Cape
Canaveral, Florida, and Gina Mensay, USA Swimming Member Services
There was also a group brainstorming exercise where the officials
attending the workshop wrote many of the taglines for the
“The energy of the group in Chicago was contagious in
helping create this campaign and make it our own,” said
Hellervik-Bing. “Throughout the weekend workshop, this group
showed what it takes to be a mentor and now there is also a
campaign to help spread it to others.”
Fans, officials and future officials can follow the campaign at
#OfficiallyAwesome on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
From the Rules and
The National Official’s
Committee works very hard with LSC Official’s Committee
Chairs to ensure consistent communication regarding standardized
rules interpretations and policy. Each quarter, National Officials
Committee member Jamie Cahn hosts a conference call with all LSC
Official’s Committee Chairs. The call covers a variety of
topics including a presentation by me. Based on the communication
that I receive from the Official’s Chairs, Coaches,
Officials, Parents and others, I provide clarification on rules
topics as well as trends that I see based on the communication I
receive. I feel very confident that our Official’s Chairs
have the exact understanding of interpretations and clarifications
As a line official, if you have a
question regarding a rule or an interpretation while at a meet,
your first point of contact should be your Chief Judge (if one is
assigned), or your Meet Referee. If you are the Meet Referee, your
contact should be with an LSC Official’s Committee member or
the Chair. If you don’t agree with the answer from your LSC
Official’s Committee, my suggestion is that you do not call
me directly. Most of the time I can tell by the nature of the
question that you didn’t like the answer you got somewhere
else (your LSC Official’s Committee). One of the first things
I am going to ask you is whether you have contacted your LSC
Official’s Committee. We have empowered your LSC
Official’s Committee to be awesome – use them! As
always, if you have a time sensitive situation while at the meet,
you can always call me. My number is in the rule book – I
will do my best to help you out.
Be a good steward of the
Be very careful when reading the rules NOT to read too much into
the rules, or attempt to simplify or draw conclusion as to what may
or may not be a violation based on these conclusions. I will give
you two examples below on actual situations that were brought to me
What was briefed: During butterfly,
if the ankles cross – that is an alternating kick .
Explanation – That statement could be completely FALSE, and
that statement has oversimplified the rule. Rule 101.3.3 states
that “…the position of the legs or the feet need not
be on the same level, but they shall not alternate in relation to
each other.” In swimming, an alternating kick is when one leg
or foot is moving in one direction, while the other is moving the
opposite direction. If the ankles cross during this type of
movement – that would clearly be a violation. HOWEVER –
if the amplitude of the left and right leg is different (one
leg/foot traveling a greater distance than the other on the kick),
then the ankles may cross each other while the legs or feet are
moving in the same direction – THIS IS LEGAL. The point of
this discussion is that simply stating that the ankles crossing
during the butterfly kick is illegal draws an oversimplified and
incorrect interpretation of what the rule actually says.
What was briefed: During the
breaststroke kick, if you see a big boil of water pop up behind the
feet, the swimmer must be doing a downward butterfly kick during
the swim. Explanation: While a boil or disturbed water is clearly
caused by some sort of leg movement, unless the official actually
observes the leg movement to be in violation of the rules (101.2.3
– downward butterfly kick), it would be inappropriate to make
the call. This falls under one of the golden rules of officiating
– call what you see, not what you think you see.
When an official takes a position on
an understanding of the rules, they should consider looking for
reinforcement of that position in 1. The Rule Book; 2. The
Situations and Resolutions; 3. USA Swimming on-line test; 4.
Officials Training Videos on the Training & Education page for
Officials on the USA Swimming website; and 5. Discussions with the
LSC Official’s Committee. If you find no support for your
understanding of the rules – you might have a
misunderstanding of the rules. Ask for help, your LSC
Official’s Committee is there for you.
Thanks for everything you do for our
sport and our athletes – you are #OfficiallyAwesome!
New Rules Effective January
Several new rules became effective
January 1, 2017 and are listed on Page One in the 2017 USA Swimming
Rulebook. Listed below are some of the new rules.
- “Deck Pass” has been
defined and added to the Glossary. It is now allowed as an
acceptable proof of membership.
- Drones are prohibited over venues
any time athletes, coaches, officials and/or spectators are
- Recommendations for swimmers with
disabilities are added to Open Water competitions.
- LSCs may impose a fine for false
registration only when a swimmer actually competes in a sanctioned
- Titles for elected boards
positions and USA Swimming officers are amended to reflect current
- Committee Chairs, with the
consent of the Board Chair, are provided means to remove
non-athlete members failing to attend or contribute to committee
- Referees, Administrative Referees
and Starters for all Open Water meets are required to pass the
online USA Swimming Open Water Referee test prior to officiating
Not taking effect
until May 1, 2017 is this rule:
The number of timed finals a
swimmer may compete in per day is increased to six (6).
Follow us on Social
Are you on Facebook? If you
haven’t done so already, you should ‘LIKE’ the
USA Swimming Officials page. You will get updates on what’s
happening around the country in the world of swim officiating. Not
sure how to be able to see all the #OfficiallyAwesome posts?
It’s very simple. First, you have to have a Facebook account.
Next, at the top of the Facebook page you will find a “Search
Facebook” bar. Click on that and type USA Swimming Officials.
The page that comes up will show at the top the link to our page.
Simply click on it. There you will find us. In order to receive
updates in your newsfeed, you have to ‘LIKE’ our page.
You can find this button at the top of the page. Click on it! Now
you will be seeing all of our updates. You can also find the page
Follow us on Twitter: USA Swim Officials @usaswimofficial
Follow us on Instagram: USA Swimming Officials
Load your officiating pictures on all of our Social Media sites,
but don’t forget to the include the #OfficiallyAwesome