2014 Update #1

2014 Officials Update #1

In this Issue:

Fairly Officiating
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.

Processing DQs
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:

  1. 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!
  2. Stroke & Turn officials should also be documenting the DQ on their heatsheet in case there are follow-up questions, use shorthand if necessary.
  3. Feel free to have an experienced official act as a sounding board if there are questions about a DQ.
  4. 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.
  5. If your club has the officials, having a Chief Judge (CJ) is a good idea and can help with the process

Champs Officiating
All Midlakes officials are allowed and encouraged to help at their Division Champs meet (B-Champs).  Most teams arrange to have a "lead" official from USA Swimming, but that is not required.  For League Champs (A-Champs), Midlakes requires USA Swimming Certified Officials to work the Prelims and Finals meet.  An email will go out to all of those officials - if you are a USA Swimming Official and did not receive that email, please let me know so I can update my list. 

Officials Shirts Update
Shirts arrived on Friday and some have been distributed. I work in Factoria (Bellevue) at T-Mobile, and shirts are available to be picked up between 7am and 4pm. 


Q1: In pools where an "in-the-water" start is required for relays can the Stroke & Turn judge remind the swimmers to keep a hand on the wall?

A1: As covered at our training sessions, as an officials team we are striving for fairness and consistency.  It is a challenge with having different judges observing relay take-offs to be consistent in the reminder to swimmers because not all officials would do this ALL the time for ALL swimmers - and when and how often would you remind them may become an issue as well.  I would anticipate that this would be a topic for the coaches and your lead official at their "pre-meet" meeting - where the approach could be "as a courtesy, we may remind swimmers (to keep a hand on the wall) - but don't count on it".  Keeping the hand on the wall is something that coaches should be practicing with their swimmers.

Q2: While swimming backstroke, some swimmers bumped the lane lines yet did not propel themselves forward but other swimmers pulled themselves forward using the lane lines. I disqualified them based on 102.22.10 and my understanding from the stroke briefing we received at training.  But then I observed another swimmer who pushed herself forward off the wall of the side of the pool. Should she have been disqualified?

A2: Yes, swimmers are not allowed to use the side walls of the pools or lane lines to propel themselves down the pool in any race.  In all strokes other than freestyle, they would either have been not vertical towards the breast (butterfly/breaststroke) or the back (backstroke), non-simultaneous arms (butterfly), or out of cycle (breaststroke).  Only in freestyle events are swimmers allowed to stand on the bottom (but remember, they can't push off) and your judgment when a swimmer stops to "rest" holding onto the lane lines or sides of the pool would come into play in determining if they propel themselves down the pool.

As always, thanks for all you do.  If you have any questions, feel free to send them them on!


Frank Castro
Officials Chair
Midlakes Swim League