What is an Order Of Finish Judge?

If you missed the kick off meeting, you might be wondering why we now have an Order of Finish Judge and why there are no more Place Judge jobs this year.   Hopefully this email/post will help clear up the changes made to judging this year.

What Happened? 

The TSA made a dramatic change this year and has voted league wide to adopt timing as the primary way to determine finish order. As such, Place Judging is essentially now a thing of the past. 

New language in the TSA rulebook

Each team will provide and Order of Finish Judge (OOF) to serve as a back-up in case of malfunction/error with timers or timing system. 

  1. No one may simultaneously serve as a Timer and Order of Finish Judge. 
  2. Both Order of Finish Judges will independently record 1st through 6th place for all main heats on Place Judge Forms printed from Meet Maestro. 
  3. Order of Finish Judges should position themselves at the side of the pool at the finish line with clear sight of all competition lanes. 

What does that mean? 

The 2 OOF judge reports will be used to verify the timed results, and can also be used in the event of a timing failure or challenge to the timing results (some teams may only be running 1 watch per lane). If the timing results and the OOF results do not match, then the meet admin, along with the TSA reps, can use the info from all 3 to determine the final result. 

What is the Process? 

As before with place judges, OOF judges only need to watch the main events.

The way USA swimming teaches this position, is not to bother looking at the paper you are writing on. You watch the swimmers as they touch the wall, and blindly write down, say 4 5 2 3 6 1. Usually that comes out messy and not in a straight line, but it is sufficient. All that is needed is a record of what you saw. Simply do your best with close races. 

Alternatively, you may also use your phone to record the finish, and then replay the video to determine the OOF and write it down on the place judge form. 

This OOF form is then collected by the Runner, and delivered to the Meet Admins (like DQ slips are) for reconciliation with timing. 

Differences between teams 

The OOF judge is more essential at away meets against smaller teams where there may only be one 1 manual stopwatch timer per lane. Since Preston Village has the timing equipment to run more than one semi-automated watch per lane, we foresee that OOF judge at home meets being less critical, but it is still required by TSA rules that we staff the position. 

As you may have noticed, last year we experimented running 1, 2, 3 watches per lane. We found large deviations and timing errors when only running 1 watch, but the difference between 2 and 3 was less noticeable. As such, we are planning on starting the season staffing 2 timers per lane and continue to tune our positions (hopefully less jobs) as we learn more about the new processes.  

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me at [email protected].


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