DNOWS Header

Image Map

Friday, April 12, 2013

Officiating Intent In The Open Water World

Officiating in the sport of open water swimming is difficult. There are numerous examples of physicality* around turn buoys and feeding stations, and at the start, mid-section, and finish of races. The greater the number of swimmers, the greater the propensity for physicality. The greater the perceived or actual awards (cash, medals or otherwise), the greater the propensity for physicality. This is simply a function of competition.

But as the rules currently stand, many of the actions or instances of physicality are based on the intent of the swimmer doing the action.

In our opinion, the intent of open water swimmers is difficult to judge in the world of open water swimmers. When we officiate or adjudicate actions in the sport of open water swimming, we look at the action itself and the situation around the action. We do not make a subjective judgment on the intent or thought-process behind the action.

That is, a foul (yellow card or red card) is given because of the action itself (e.g., veering, pulling on legs, elbowing, punching, hitting, scratching, drafting off of a boat during the race, or other acts of unsportsmanlike conduct) rather than the intent or thought behind the action.

But this perspective of judging on the action itself, rather than the intent, appears to be in the minority.

From the perspective of many referees, the action is simply the result of the intent. So, when they adjudicate that when they believe or observe that the intent does not exist, there should be no call. Here is one concrete example, during the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, one swimmer got hit hard with another swimmer's elbow right between the shoulder blades in the final straightaway. It was clear that he got elbowed as extreme pain shot through his shoulders; however, there was no call because it was judged to be unintentional and incidental contact. However, that same physicality and the same action of elbowing has been judged intentional by other referees in other races.

What is the difference? In one case, the swimmer was hit by an elbow in the back; in the other cases, the swimmer was hit by an elbow in the back. The difference was that in one case, the referee judged that the swimmer did not intend to hit, while in the other cases, the referee judged that the offending swimmers did intend to hit. But in both cases, the effect to the recipient was the same: pain and suffering. However, because the action of elbowing was called differently, the outcome of the races were different. Because the elbowing was based on the subjective decision by the referee, the effect on the races were different.

From our perspective, the result or the effect of the action or incident is the critical issue. The intent is something that we can not and do not use to make judgments on. If a swimmer hits another swimmer, intentionally or not, we would personally rule an infraction occurred. If a swimmers pulls on another swimmer, intentionally or not, we would make the call. But that is not how the rules are currently written and our perspective is in the minority.

At the end of the day in our observations and experience, when intent of the swimmer - that can not be objectively known - is the deciding factor, then rules can be subjectively applied and we think is not a good thing for the sport of open water swimming.

This topic will continue to be discussed in an upcoming Part 2 of Officiating In The Open Water.

* Physicality is the action of physical contact or confrontation in open water swimming competitions. The physical contact can be intentional or unintentional, and is generally caused by many swimmers or triathletes attempting to simultaneously swim in the same area or line, especially at the start, around turn buoys, at feeding stations, or at the finish.

Bumping, scratching, pulling [on legs or arms], veering into, tapping or touching [repeatedly], impeding, slapping, clipping, conking, swiping, whacking, pulling off [goggles or swim caps), cutting off, pummeling, nudging, punching, kicking, elbowing, ziplining, obstructing, interfering, pushing, jostling, shoving, crowding, banging [against], smacking, smashing into or pressing against another athlete, shoreline, river bank, turn buoy, feeding station, escort boat, kayaker, paddler or other fixed or moving object.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA


WOWSA is celebrating the
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
File Size: 13MB

FREE DOWNLOAD

INSTRUCTIONS:
Download the file to your computer, and then right-click to extract the magazine which is inside the zip folder. The magazine is in PDF format.

CLICK HERE to download your free copy now.

Open Water Swimming Magazine


Open Water Swimming Magazine

The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...
LEARN MORE

The Other Shore


The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.
LEARN MORE...

2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac



An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

An almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.

This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.

But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...

Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:
https://www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com/preview-open-water-swimming-almanac


The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.

SponsorMySwim.com

Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program