Want to share my experience as J2S trainee as I think it may help some people to understand the situation, including those who are responsible for the training.
As a J2S you can act as referee in a level 4 competition. This means being the judge and jury over everything that happens, including determining the time of the swimmers in the competitions and deciding about disqualifications.
I am just studying the Code of Conduct* for licensed officials before I continue this post.
*(Document to be found on this web page).
This post complies with section 5.3 of the code of conduct.
I have a little difficulty determining what is actually confidential because most information about licensed officials is available online, that is if officials have agreed for their details to be published on the Swimming membership system. But because officials can withdraw their public entry on the system, unfortunately I cannot show the actual documents here because I would need permission from each person involved.
So when you start training as an official you get a book in which all your training history gets certified. You can view the training book by going to this web page and choose the J2S training book. At this time of writing, the information on the BS website seems out-dated.
When you start the course you normally pay something in the region of £8 to get the work book. The rest is free. Well, you have to purchase your own stop watches, wistles and clip boards, as well as white clothing, unless the uniform is given to you, in some cases you only get the top.
So I made the J1, the J2 and then started the J2S.
It was a long journey to even get to the training venue, it was almost 3 hours by public transport, a big effort.
In the book, I have issue 5 – January 2018, there is a page called record of progress. There is space for
- Initial workshop group
- Intermediate workshop
- workbook completion workshop
- General comments of course leader
- this section contains a pass or fail section.
So I started the course on 17. October 2018 with my course leader Andy Scott. As this information was publicly available I can report the name of my course leader here. This information was advertised on the Middlesex County Swimming website.
To this day, 24.11.19 only the first section has been completed, I was told the workshops 2 and 3 will not happen and secion 4 has never been completed, though I have been told that I failed my final assessment.
Further into the book, there is a page which contains the following:
Competency sign-off form
- Voice projection/clarity
- use of starting equipment
- start – no swimmers
- start – forward
- start – backstroke
- start – novice
- DQ reporting
- Competency 1,2,3 signed off as passed in Basildon on 27. October 2018.
- Competency 6,7 signed off as passed in Hackney 25. November 2018.
- Competency 8 signed off as passed in Harrow on 1. December 2018.
- Competency 4,5 signed off as passed in Harrow on 2. December 2018.
So after starting the course on 17.October.18, I was signed off all required competencies on 2. December 2018. My final assessment was on 28. September 2019.
Once I had been signed off, I needed to have a final assessment to get the actual licensed qualification and that is when it all went wrong. I could not get a final assessment. I was starter in 11 licensed competitions before I could get a formal assessment. At competition number 12 I failed my final assessment.
Main reason loss of confidence. I dispute that I lost my confidence but the assessor seemed to be under the impression that I did and that determined the result of hours of working as starter in competitions.
It can be unnerving to go to clubs and work at pools, one never has been previously, but over the years I worked in a lot of pools around Britain, including London Aquatic Centre, Cambridge, Sheffield, Glasgow. Not as starter but as J2 or J1.
And the lower the license of a meet, the more disorderly the whole competition is because inexperienced swimmers are less disciplined with competition rules and that can cause more uncertainties and needs a strong leadership.
But when you get to the level one meets, the swimmers behave all very well as they have been in competitions since many years and not much goes wrong in such events.
I queried the outcome of my final assessment but unfortunately there is no real complaints procedure. I was told that I was assessed by two experienced referees and they thought I am not competent as J2S, yet a total of four experienced referees signed me off as competent on the indiviual exams. Seven experienced referees countersigned my individual starter abilities during mentored sessions. All competitions where I was starter finished in good time, with all swimmers completing their races and results being accepted onto the swimming results web pages.
I was told that I can put my book into the bin if I want if I don’t like it. I have got that in writing. I blogged about my conspiracy theories about that previously. Unfortunately I cannot show the actual pages as this may breach confidentiality rules but find it very concerning that I had to photo-copy the pages containing my mentoring sessions and send them off to someone without getting an actual result recorded in my book.
I completed a beginners course for referees with a 100% outcome online on the ios website, which is free of charge for all to do.
I just find it slightly concerning that I am being told, I am not competent as starter at the final assessment but it would be good if I come to the development meets to get some more practise. So I am not good enough but still good enough to start!
So what is happening here? Constantly referees are complaining about a shortage of officials, when there are plenty of licensed officials registered.
I get requests to help out with competitions constantly. I have helped with hundreds of hours during competitions for a few years now.