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Officials Diary – 2022 Junior Pan Pacs – Honolulu

Officials Diary – 2022 Junior Pan Pacs – Honolulu

New Zealand had 2 technical officials at the 2022 Junior Pan Pacs in Honolulu, alongside the 24 swimmers. Jo Russell (Canterbury West Coast) and Karen Wilkinson (Manawatu) officiated and have shared some of their journey. Officiating at JPP was an opportunity for them to develop at an international swimming event. Both were supported in their development by Swimming New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Scholarship.

Karen’s Diary

Thank you very much to Swimming New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for the opportunity to travel to Honolulu as a technical official for the Junior Pan Pacs.

The whole experience was very rewarding. Having the opportunity to officiate at an international competition was both nerve racking and a wonderful experience. This was a great opportunity to develop and will give me greater confidence as I officiate in the future.

Our systems are somewhat different to Swimming USA, so it took a bit of adapting, but all the officials, including Kathleen Scandary, the Chief Referee, were very supportive and welcoming. There were officials from Australia, Canada and Japan as well as the local officials and others from all over the USA

Communications before departure from Kenneth Chung and Sandy Drake were great, with rosters and pool deck protocols emailed in advance and Group Me was used during the meet to keep everyone updated.

Our hotel was 30 mins from the pool. Lisa and Ann, our driver and navigator, became great friends and we had many fun moments in the car.

There was a great feeling of pride watching our New Zealand Swimmers competing at this meet. It was a fantastic meet, with a fantastic group of people!

Jo’s Diary

Karen and I were very privileged to have been nominated and supported by Swimming New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Scholarship to officiate at Junior Pan Pacs in Honolulu. I was very fortunate to have been selected as one of the four starters at this meet, and Karen was one of the meet referees. Veteran’s Memorial Aquatic Centre in Honolulu was the venue for this meet, a 50-metre outdoor pool. The pool was very well dressed, extra seating had been erected, and shaded seating created for the teams. The temperature was a constant 29-30 degrees, with varying degrees of humidity. Maintaining hydration was very important, not only for the swimmers, but for the technical officials too with the sun beating down on us. We were given wide brimmed hats for shade as part of our uniform. We were also provided with uniforms for morning and afternoon sessions. USA swimming did an excellent job with dressing the pool and to create a professional atmosphere. Omega provided the timing equipment and operated the system, however the starting blocks were not electronic. This made observing relay changeovers particularly important. Attending this meet meant a great deal to me, is was an honour to have been selected, and it was my first international starting appointment as a FINA starter. My goal for this experience was to gain confidence and knowledge, whilst observing and adapting to a different countries method of running a meet. I learnt a lot from working with a variety of different referees and adapting to their preferences. My favourite moment at Junior Pan Pacs was when a relay I had started ended with a Junior world record time – not something that happens very often! I was also very proud of the fact that I did not have any false starts for any of the races that I started, that’s the ultimate goal for a starter. From this experience I learnt there are many ways of conducting a meet, some which differ to the way we run things here in New Zealand. This highlighted that fact to me, that our standards of officiating here are very high and very professional. I made many new friends from this experience, and I enjoyed it immensely. The only downside was contracting Covid-19 on the way home, but thankfully this was a mild dose and I’m mostly recovered now. Thank you Swimming New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for supporting me.

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