September 22 –
Hello again from the Ontario Officials Committee! We hope that everyone has had a safe and healthy summer. It is hard to believe that it is mid-September, and the beginning of the 2020-2021 season!
As we head into this new season, there will be some things that are different and many the same. The one main thing that remains constant is that we are a community of officials, who will continue to work together. The OOC is committed to helping officials on all levels feel involved and part of the community. As such please feel free to reach out to any member of the committee at any time if you have questions.
Registration is underway and if you have not yet done so, there is a link to the Registration Package on the OAS website. Just a reminder that the deadline to register is September 30, 2020.
In this newsletter you will see an update on Virtual Competitions from Erika Lindner, who was instrumental in the organization and running of the Virtual Land Testing that was held at various levels this summer, from club qualification the UANA event held in July. This is an especially interesting topic as we will be entering the season with virtual competitions and may continue in this format for some time, depending on how things progress in regards to Covid.
You will also see a summary of the Officials Survey that was completed by Alanna Harman, Director at Large with OAS. Thank you to all of you who completed the survey. We are hoping that positive changes and progress in officiating will be made based in part on the results of this survey. The survey results may be accessed through the Officials Portal on the OAS website. The current password for that is Catalina20. There will be an updated password this fall. Just a reminder, please do not share this password with anyone in the artistic swimming community who are not Officials.
As mentioned in our May newsletter, we are planning an online Level 1 Judging Course this Fall. Our Course Facilitators are currently finalizing course dates based on the 2020-21 season.
You can access the schedule for the 2020-2021 season on the OAS website
Finally, we would like to announce the retirement of two of our longstanding officials in Ontario, Janice McLaughlin and Jennifer Saunders.
Janice has been judging since 1989 in Ontario and Canada and as a FINA level Judge since 2005. She was President of Synchro Ontario, sat on or chaired several committees including the High Performance Committee, Officials Committee, Hiring committee to name only a few. She also sat on the Synchro Canada Board of Directors.
Janice has taught and presented at both Provincial and National level courses and seminars. Throughout her years as an Official with Ontario and Canada she has attended many international competitions with National Teams. She will be nominated this year at the CAS awards for 25 years’ service as a National Official.
Jennifer is retiring from our committee and from Artistic Swimming. Jennifer has been an active member in the Synchronized/Artistic Swimming world for several decades on many different levels. As well as being a very active Provincial and National Judge, she has coached and been a course facilitator for coaches and judges, sat on several committees including the Ontario Technical and Hiring Committees, and most recently, the Provincial Jury of Appeal and the Ontario Officials Committee.
Please join us in wishing Janice and Jennifer the very best of luck in their retirement! Stay tuned for more on the website about retired officials, including Jennifer and Janice!
With Jennifer leaving the OOC, we welcome Erika Lindner to the committee, who shares a wealth of knowledge on many levels.
Ontario Artistic Swimming OOC
Julie Chin – Committee Chair
Maria Shuwera – Ex-Officio
Brad Davis – OAS Board Member
A word about Virtual Competitions
With all clubs in Ontario shut down due to the pandemic, OAS took advantage of the virtual platform in offering a competition opportunity for all Ontario athletes. OAS was the first province to partake in a club wide qualifier leading up to a Canadian Virtual Competition, which ultimately qualified athletes through to the UANA Virtual Challenge.
The judging component was organized by Diane van der Pol who not only led the officiating for our Provincial competition, but also organized the judges for the UANA competition and several other provincial qualifiers. Seventeen Ontario judges officiated in club qualifications and the provincial competition. The enthusiasm of our officials to provide this opportunity for the athletes was fantastic!
It was also a great opportunity for many of us to see one another again after months of lockdown!
Organized by UANA, the virtual competitions were incredibly popular. The first competition which was open to all UANA countries saw 19 countries and 170 athletes take part. After the success of the event an additional one was planned for all countries which saw 40 countries and 200 athletes enter. With only 52 countries in the world which participate in Artistic Swimming, it was an incredible level of participation.
Work is beginning on how our own competitions will look this season using the virtual platform. The opportunity that technology allows us is amazing and with the adaptability of our athletes, coaches and officials, I have no doubt that Ontario will be a leader in this.
Submitted by Erika Lindner
OAS Strategic Plan Survey Summary
Prepared by Alanna Harman
Complete survey available through OAS
- Completed in May-June 2020
- 46 Officials completed the survey- Almost half of respondents were Level 4-5 Officials.
- Most identified that they volunteered as officials at 5-8 competitions per year, and the higher level of certification correlated with more competitions volunteered at and also with years of service.
Officials indicated they are motivated by:
- The love of the sport, a sense of making a contribution to the athletes, the camaraderie they experienced as officials, and the intellectual challenge they experienced being an official.
- 84.7% of respondents indicated their intent to return the following season.
- Respondents showed a keen interest in professional development opportunities as well as routine analysis and formal mentoring programs.
Barriers that may limit future volunteering included:
- Conflicts with family commitments and job
- Amount of necessary travel
- Number of certifications/re-certifications required
- Schedules: very long days and concern for their ability to accurately evaluate and provide feedback.
Areas for improvement:
- Improving culture amongst officials- making it more inclusive and welcoming for all.
Recommendations based on Feedback:
- Effort should be made to recruit new Officials to reduce workload of current officials
- In concert with that recommendation is that OAS and/or the OOC develop a mentorship program for new officials and develop space/opportunities for team building.
- Consider the financial cost if there are ways to reduce the individual cost of being a volunteer.