Officials Diary – 2022 FINA World Junior Championships - Lima
New Zealand had Jacqui Forsythe as the sole technical official at the recent 2022 FINA World Junior Championships that were held in Lima, Peru. Jacqui has shared some of her experiences from her first international FINA event, which she was selected from being on the FINA List #21.
1. What opportunities did you have as an official?
The day before the meet there was an official’s seminar presented by the four meet referees. This was like a FINA school, but it focused on the meet protocols, which included what to wear, how to stand, walk, and how to observe the swimmers when we worked as an inspector of turns. There were also some team-building exercises which was a great opportunity to get to know the other technical officials from around the world. This was particularly beneficial because I didn’t know anyone other than Ryan and Theresa from Australia. During the meet I was fortunate to be rostered onto a lot of positions. These included inspectors of turns (IOT) and chief inspector of turns (CIOT), call room and judge of stroke (JOS).
2. What was the venue and event like?
The venue was part of a big sports complex, with two 50 metre pools. The competition pool had plenty of space around it and was covered in non-slip matting. There were two call rooms at the start end and another two for the 50m races – a massive control room and media room! There were lockers, change rooms and a lounge for the officials. There were also lounges for the FINA Technical Swimming Committee (TSC) members, and another for guests of FINA. The event itself was very well presented with lots of coloured strobe lights and images of the swimmers projected on the walls when they came out for finals. There was a big crowd for the finals in the evening and on the last night when the 18-year-old Romanian, David Popovici (who had recently broken the 100m Freestyle World Record), swam the 100m Freestyle the crowd was massive and louder than I have ever seen before!
1. What did it mean to you to officiate at a FINA event?
It meant a lot! When I was named as a referee on the FINA list, the world was already dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in lots of the FINA meets being cancelled or postponed. So, I was really excited to get the email inviting me to attend the World Junior Champs in Lima. It was great to be at the first FINA meet that have an all-female referee and starter team.
2. What was your favourite moment at the FINA World Juniors?
I enjoyed it all but working as a judge of stroke (JOS) was a highlight.
3. What was something you learnt in your officiating role?
It was the first time I had seen a FINA call room in action. It was run by members of the TSC and there were a lot of technical officials working in all the rooms. Everyone had a job, checking names, swimsuits, goggles, caps, etc, seating the swimmers, walking them between call rooms, and sticking bibs on them for the finals.
The meet itself was hard work, you need to concentrate every minute of the session. I was grateful that New Zealand swim meets are run at a high standard, so a lot of that came as second nature.