Swim seminar helped local officials keep abreast of rules

Two Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association referees attended the sport’s governing body’s annual world seminar in Miami last weekend.  

The Fédération Internationale de Natation, widely known as FINA, held its 11th World Swimming Officials Seminar hosted by USA Swimming. Around 130 delegates from 65 different countries attended.  

Amanda Roberts (FINA and CIASA referee) and Tom McCallum (CIASA referee) joined referees from all over the world there to refresh and enhance their technical knowledge and to exchange ideas about the future of swimming and competitions at all levels. 

FINA continually raises standards of swim officiating and ensure the rules are applied consistently in competition. 

Roberts said that the seminar was good for understanding some of the processes FINA makes its decisions whether on the rules or the choice of technical officials for events.  

She said, “We are not alone when it comes to working with old and failing equipment, not having enough officials and timers for a full deck for every meet – although we are much better off than some countries – and trying to get our officials enough experience in the larger regional and continental competitions and the prohibitive costs of doing so.” 

Some federations pay all the expenses of their officials when traveling to a meet or clinic but others do not.  

For Cayman’s technical officials, the CIASA assists with a subsidy towards the travel expenses for regional events. Even at world championship level, FINA only pays for accommodation, not travel. For the Olympic Games, travel and accommodation is paid. 

Roberts felt that by attending the seminar, Cayman will benefit by getting themselves and the other Cayman Islands FINA referees known as credible choices for the regional and higher events. 

“If the committee who chooses the officials for a FINA event has never seen or heard of you, there is not much chance of being picked,” she said.  

CIASA is one of the 42 federations in the Union Americana de Natacion (UANA) from which officials are selected and five CIASA officials are accredited on UANA’s list of technical officials. Some technical officials are also chosen directly by the FINA technical committee for high level competitions.  

Roberts said, “The consensus amongst the referees was that the small discussion groups on specific points, interpretation of the rules and odd meet experiences were all extremely useful but the most beneficial aspect was the making of new friends and contacts from around the swimming world all working towards the development of the sport.” 

FINA has introduced additional judges and referee schools around the regions.  

Roberts’ husband Adam recently attended the FINA School in St. Lucia prior to submitting his application for renewal as a FINA referee.  

At these clinics FINA distributes material and presentations for use at local swim clinics in the home countries of participants.  

The same basic rules and protocol clinic is delivered at all levels – from beginner, turn judge to referee and then studied in more depth at the referee level and learning from practical experience at all the different levels of competition.  

The use of underwater cameras for certain events – especially to monitor the one permitted fly kick in breaststroke – is under discussion but approval has not been granted yet. 

With assistance from CIASA, Amanda and Adam Roberts will be representing the Cayman Islands together with Olive Balderamos and Caroline Courtis as officials at the upcoming Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships in Barbados. 

Amanda Roberts (FINA referee) and Tom McCallum (Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association referee) were amongst referees from all over the world there to refresh and enhance their technical knowledge and to exchange ideas about the future of swimming and competitions at all levels. 


Tom McCallum


Amanda Roberts