PVS Officials Needed

Good Day Tiburones, 

We are very pleased to be back to swimming and getting to know the 2019-2020 athletes. This marks the start of our 18th season and I must say that we have come a long way from the 25 TIBU original swimmers. We are fortunate to be members of the Potomac Valley Swim LSC, an area has had a very long and rich tradition of swimming excellence and produces some incredibly talented swimmers. 


In order to ensure that swimming in this area continues to excel we need parent volunteers. Not just to time events but also to play a much more active role in the success of our LSC as PVS/USA certified officials. 


Officials play a vital role in ensuring that swim meets are conducted in a safe and equitable manner in accordance with the national standards for our sport. USA-S officials are responsible for Computer Operations, Timing Systems, Stroke & Turn to name a few. Each of these positions is very important to running any competition. In the coming seasons it is the goal of the Tiburones to have a total 5-6 USA-S certified officials on our roster. We currently have 3 officials and I would love to have 3 more. This will pave the way for the Tiburones to begin hosting some winter meets in the future.


We encourage any/all parents interested in our sport to take the next step to becoming a USA-Swimming Official.  Here are some links to get more information about becoming a USA-S official. 


Additionally our Official's Chair has been kind enough to write an additional letter to give some more information about becoming a USA-S Official.


From the Desk of Tom Allison


Parents and other volunteers,


Thank you for all that you do to support our swimmers! At many meets throughout the year, the meet referee, meet director, and others comment on how TIBU consistently provides timers and officials. This is particularly true of TIBU timers who are consistent and reliable. Thank you!


As you might well expect, there is always a need for volunteers on the swim deck. If you are new to swimming, volunteering as a timer is a great way to get your feet wet (literally!). But it is also a great way to learn more about how a swim meet works and to see the effort your child is making to improve as a swimmer.


Like timers, there is always a need for more officials. Becoming a swim official is a great way to share in the swim experience with your child, but it is also a position in which you can help all TIBU swimmers improve. There are a number of characteristics of strong swim clubs: dedicated swimmers, great coaches, devoted volunteers, and a solid group of officials.


There are three “introductory” positions for new officials: Stroke and Turn, Timing Operator, and Computer Operator. If you are interested in working at one of these positions or are already a MCSL swim official and would like to work at Potomac Valley Swimming (PVS) meets you may find full details on how to register for the appropriate clinic at the PVS website ( www.pvswim.org ). Some helpful information on each of these positions is included below.


The Stroke and Turn judge is familiar to most parents, because these are the judges who initiate DQ calls during a swim meet. I talk to many parents who are apprehensive about this position because they are uncomfortable disqualifying a swimmer. In reality, a DQ is an opportunity for a swimmer to improve. Being a Stroke and Turn judge is about so much more than DQs, it is an important part in developing better swimmers.


There is no obligation to certify or work in the position after taking a Stroke and Turn clinic. If you are interested at all, even if you would just like to understand the rules a bit better, feel free to sign up. Some parents are concerned about the time commitment. There is not a required number of sessions per meet or per year for any official. You are free to work only the sessions where your child is swimming.


Some of you are familiar with officiating through summer swimming (MCSL). You will find that the things are very similar in PVS. You will receive outstanding training and have plenty of opportunities to work as an apprentice official under the guidance of an experienced official, ensuring that you are well prepared for certification. Additional benefits include free food and shirts! If you are interested in higher level positions (e.g. Starter, Chief Judge, Referee), the Stroke and Turn position is the first step on that path.


Please consider registering for one of the upcoming Stroke and Turn clinics on Wednesday, November 6 at Fairland (7:00 - 9:30 pm) or Saturday, November 23 at Oak Marr (10:30 am - 12:45 pm ). If you attended the MCSL Stroke and Turn clinic in 2019, this can count as your clinic in lieu of a PVS clinic. However, it is recommended that you take the PVS clinic to learn about the rule differences (primarily the backstroke turn rule). Note that that MCSL Advanced Referee clinic cannot be used as your Stroke and Turn clinic for PVS, nor can a MCSL Stroke and Turn clinic prior to 2019.


There are two positions available on the “dry side.” You see these officials sitting behind tables at swim meets, and they are incredibly important for ensuring that meets run smoothly and that swimmers get accurate times for all of their events. PVS is often short on dry side officials at meets, so there are lots of opportunities to volunteer.


The Timing Operator works at the timing system console, ensuring that times for all swimmers are correctly recorded for each race. This is the best introduction to dry side positions and will help you see swim meets in a whole new way. Operating the console is straightforward, requiring only reasonable attention to detail, and the training is excellent.


The Computer Operator works with the Meet Manager software (under the supervision of an Administrative Official) to manage seeding events, adding swimmers, verifying times, posting results, and much more. You may be familiar with this position from summer swimming. As with the Timing Operator position, there is a great need for volunteers in this position, and the training is excellent.


Training for both the Timing Operator and Computer Operator positions is available online. In-person clinics may be available in the beginning of 2020. All scheduled clinics may be found on the PVS website.


I hope that you will consider volunteering as an official. You will meet a wonderful group of people who will welcome you and mentor you. You will make many new friends that you will look forward to seeing at meets throughout the year. Your skill as an official will increase incredibly over the season, and you will be able to take that knowledge back to your high school and summer teams.


On a personal note, I can attest to the quality and professionalism of officials in PVS. We are fortunate to have many talented officials who are generous with their time and expertise. I have benefited greatly from working with many of these individuals, and it has made me a much better official. Having a solid foundation as an official has opened the door to some amazing opportunities to work swim meets at the local and national levels. It has been a privilege to officiate some of the best swimmers in the US. It has been equally enjoyable to have met outstanding officials from across the country, many of whom have become good friends.


If you have any questions about officiating, about rules, or about any other aspect of USA Swimming, please feel free to talk to me on deck or get in touch via email ( tom_allison@icloud.com ).


Tom Allison

TIBU Official’s Chair