New Minimum Sessions Required to Maintain AMS Official Certification

The AMS Officials Committee has recommended to the AMS Board (approval pending) that the AMS Operating Procedures be revised to increase to the number of minimum sessions AMS Officials have to work over a 12-month period to maintain LSC certification.

This change was prompted for a couple of reasons:
  • It is a well known fact that being a good official requires time on deck. While we can all read and pass tests from a theoretical standpoint, there is a significant difference between knowing the rules and effectively and proficiently administering these rules in a fair and consistent basis. 
  • While we have always met the minimum requirements for officials staffed at our meets (though we had a couple of close calls in October), we have not consistently put anywhere near an ideal number of officials on deck to officiate our AMS sanctioned meets. Unfortunately, we don't have enough officials to allow us to require fewer minimum officials sessions from our officials. All to often, it falls to a small minority of officials to "come to the rescue" to bail out meets with too few officials.
For these reasons, effective September 1, 2014 (yes, retroactive to the beginning of this Short Course season), AMS Officials will be required to work twelve (12) sessions at AMS sanctioned meets. Eight of these sessions can be from sessions worked at the Official's home club hosted meet(s). The reporting year for sessions worked will now be September 1 through August 31.
An exception to this rule exists for AMS Officials whose clubs are located more than sixty (60) miles from downtown Pittsburgh. If an official's home club is outside of the 60 mile radius, their 12 sessions requirement can be satisfied at any USA Swimming sanctioned meet. All sessions worked, however, must be entered into USA Swimming's Officials Tracking System (OTS).

This was not an easy decision to make and not one that was made without proper vetting and ample discussion. We realize that we're asking more from our volunteer officials but, in the end, it's a better solution for AMS. We believe that this revised requirement will be beneficial to the swimmers and coaches (better trained and qualified officials at meets), AMS meet hosts (more officials on deck) and AMS Officials (more experienced, confident officials on deck). That's a win all around.