Long Island Swimming Officials Association  
Serving Long Island Swimmers and Divers since 1957
 May 2020
It's best to keep a balanced outlook - accept the reality of now and have faith that we will prevail.

Live in the moment and try not to worry about the future. See the beauty in the midst of whats going on.

Today's problems are enough. "Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today."

Life is not always easy and we do not know what the future will hold, but we will survive, overcome, and triumph.

Thank you,
George Fleckenstein
NYSPHSAA Selects COVID-19 Task Force Committee

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) has selected members to serve on a COVID-19 Task Force to examine potential impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the fall 2020 season and the 2020-2021 school year.

Task Force members were selected by Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA President, with input and consultation from NYSPHSAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Zayas. The Task Force is comprised of NYSPHSAA member superintendents, principals, athletic directors and executive directors in addition to representatives from New York State Athletic Administrators Association and State Education Department. It is anticipated the committee will meet for the first time in late May or early June.

“The goal of this task force is to bring together a group of experienced administrators and professionals to examine potential impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the upcoming school year and to provide guidance and recommendations to the 11 Sections of NYSPHSAA,” said Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA President.

“At this time we are planning to start fall sports on August 24th,” Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director said. “With the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis, I want to make sure we are prepared to focus attention on keeping student-athletes engaged in their school communities and active, while also abiding by Department of Health and Governor Cuomo’s guidelines. We must have innovative and creative thought to provide beneficial participation playing experiences for students.”
President – Paul Harrica (Section X) *Task Force chair 
Vice President – Julie Bergman (Section IV) 
2nd Vice President – Russell Bartlett (Section X) 
Immediate Past President – Jim Osborne (Section IX) 
Incoming 2nd Vice President – Tim Mullins (Section XI) 
Past President – Steve Broadwell (Section VII) 
NYSPHSAA – Dr. Robert Zayas (Executive Director) 
District Superintendent – Jim Dexter (Section 2) 
Superintendent East – Dr. Ivan Katz (Section IX) 
Superintendent West – Adam Stoltman (Section VI) 
Section Executive Director East – Tom Combs (Section XI), Matt Walentuk (Section VII) Section Executive Director West – Carl Normandin (Section X), Kathy Hoyt (Section V) 
Principal East – Jim Mackin (Section I) 
Principal West – Paul Gasparini (Section III) 
Athletic Director East – Chris Ceruti (Section VIII), Athletic Director West – Scott Barker (Section V) 
NYSAAA – Dr. Jim Wright (Section XI) 
Athletic Trainers – Rick Knizek (Section 2) 
District Transportation Director – Chris Durdon (Section IV)
Officials – Dennis Burkett 
NYS Education Department – Karen Hollowood & Ann Lanoue
NYS Department of Health – TBD 

The first NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force meeting will be held on June 10 , according to Dr. Robert Zayas, Executive Director of the NYSPHSAA.
click for video
The National Federation of State High School Associations ( NFHS ) has released guidance for its 51 member state high school associations to consider in re-opening high school athletics and other activity programs across the nation.  

Trying to Read the Crystal Ball for Re-opening High School Sports, Activities

Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff , Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations

Re-opening is the key word in sports at all levels right now. Every day, there are new projections for when the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball will resume – and if the National Football League will start on time this fall.
Along with leaders of youth-level sports and the NCAA, the NFHS and its member state associations are exploring all options for conducting sports this fall. And while we all want answers, the truth is that there are more questions than answers at this point. 
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading national medical authority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, told ESPN earlier this week that “the virus will make the decision for us” on whether sports will return this fall. His comments underscore the need for leaders of all levels of sport in the United States to exercise great caution as we re-engage in activities.
Without a doubt, education will play a larger role in the decision-making process for high school programs than for non-scholastic programs. Despite the significant loss of revenue that could occur at some levels if programs remained closed, health and safety concerns must take priority when it comes to re-opening the sport or activity. 
At the high school level, sports and other activity programs will most likely not return until schools re-open. High school sports and performing arts are education-based programs and complete the learning process on a day-to-day basis. As such, academics during the school day and sports and other activities after school are inseparable. 
Could any of those sports and activities return without fans? That option is certainly not one schools favor, but it is a very real possibility. While a few state associations opted for that arrangement to complete state basketball tournaments, that is not a desired ongoing plan for school sports. Besides, this troubling question would have to be addressed: If it is unsafe for fans in the stands, is it safe for the students to be participating? 
Students, parents and other fans in the stands cheering for and supporting student-athletes, and applauding from the theatre audience, are among the most wonderful aspects of education-based activities. Before accepting that arrangement, efforts will continue to make attending events a safe experience for everyone. 
While we remain uncertain as to the timetable for the return of high school sports and other activities, we believe that when these programs return – and they will return – that everyone will bring renewed zeal to provide the 12 million participants in these programs the best experience possible. 
One of the challenges to solving the crystal ball of high school sports and activities this fall is the uncertainty of the spread of the virus as states begin to re-open this month. The NFHS will continue to work with its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee on an ongoing basis to provide the most updated information.  

With the non-negotiable tenet of safety for student activity participants, expect every avenue to be pursued so that students can be involved in football, soccer, volleyball, field hockey, speech, debate, music and many other school activities this fall. 
NASO’s 13-Point Plan: Getting Back To Officiating Sensibly
by National Association of Sports Officials
Much has been written and aired about organized sports reorganizing themselves such that games can again be played. When sports reignite, what will be expected of us? At the barest minimum and for your personal safety, strictly adhering to CDC guidelines, OHSA guidelines where applicable and others which have been adopted by the communities in which we intend to officiate. Err on the side of safety!

Take a common-sense approach to the restart of your officiating. It could well be that you will be inundated with requests for your services. This will be the result of the pent-up demand to once again hold organized contests. Those contests could well be played with no fans. But it is safe to say that those who own the games, who govern the games, are not contemplating holding their games with no sports officials. If games are to be played, we will be needed to referee and umpire those games.

The common-sense approach I mentioned above has these components:

1. NASO advocates in the strongest of terms that an organization/association intending to relaunch its games pay special attention to the needs of the officials it will so desperately need. It should adopt and publicize provisions designed to enhance the safety and wel being of the officials.

2. Those staging the games should make sure the playing area has been properly cleaned and organized in a way that the officials are not also turned into virus maintenance workers. The officials will already be saddled with the extra burden of enforcing new playing rules and variations in game management to ensure safety of participants.

3. Officials must be provided an equally safe working environment as is provided for the players, coaches, fans and site management personnel.

4. The rules of the upcoming games may be adjusted by the rules-makers. NASO urges that any adoptions made in regard to the Covid-19 landscape be done in a way that gives strong consideration to the officiating role in the application and enforcement of those adoptions.

5. If you are an amateur official you are an independent contractor and thus, do not have to take any assignment which will make you uncomfortable from the standpoint of your personal health. If you choose to not take an assignment, turn it down respectfully. Don’t preach. Just state your beliefs and move on. This choice is yours. Yes, there could be some negative fallout from an assigner. But since the choice is yours, just accept that potential downside. Your health comes first.

6. If you serve as an assigner, please show forbearance toward any official who decides to not accept one of your assignments because of health concerns. Your thoughtfulness will make things better.

7. If you are feeling sick or are experiencing even a low-grade fever, don’t go out and officiate. Stay home and find out what the problem is. Do not do something that could cause harm or impose a health risk to someone else.

8. Pay special attention to your personal hygiene. Wash your hands. Make sure hand sanitizer is available for your use. Minimize touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

9. Get a mask and use the mask. When in doubt about wearing a mask, wear one. If the assignment you are fulfilling has a requirement for mask usage, embrace that and wear the mask. Explore ahead of time ways your decisions can be heard while working with a mask: electronic whistles, air-whistles, horns, etc.

10. There will be times when wearing a mask simply is not reasonable in your mind. In those cases, you have a decision to make: Work with no mask and accept the inherent risk or choose to not work. Know before you go what will be expected of you in this regard.

11. Be vigilant about social distancing (6 feet), which will take concentration during the time you are at a game site: before, during and after. Do your very best to keep your distance protected. This protocol will be challenging of course. There are going to be times when proper social distancing gets violated. Minimize those incursions. Learn to physically keep yourself at as safe a distance as you reasonably can. Stay away from handshakes, until those are green lighted by the health professionals. Plan ahead.

12. When instant Covid-19 testing becomes easily or widely available, stop what you are doing and go get tested and retested as your situation warrants.

13. When a Covid-19 vaccination becomes easily or widely available, stop what you are doing and get vaccinated.

Do these things and you can feel much more confident in taking the floor, field, pitch and diamond…and aren’t we itching to do just that! We need the games. Our culture needs the games. The games need us. Let’s help make that happen but only with a commitment to the safety of all concerned: the officials, the players, the coaches and the fans, if they happen to be in attendance.

Barry Mano
President, NASO
from Swim Swam
The CDC has issued an updated set of guidelines for pools and other aquatic facilities to re-open in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. Although the agency does not explicitly state when facilities can begin to re-open, several states have already begun to re-open their facilities and some teams have started practices again.
  • Many of the new guidelines continue to follow previously announced social distancing measures including:
  • Encouraging people to frequently wash their hands using soap and warm water.
  • Wearing face coverings when unable to remain 6 feet apart. (Though not when in the water)
  • Cleaning and disinfecting all frequently touched surfaces including ladders, slides, and railings.
  • Posting signs around the facility to educate people about the impact of the virus.
Some newer, pool specific guidelines were also added to the list. These include guidelines for cleaning deck furniture, ensuring proper ventilation systems are in place, and changing pool deck layouts to maintain social distancing. Some guidelines also pertain to the staffing of aquatics facilities, and procedures to follow when actually in the water.
These pool specific guidelines include:
  • Cleaning all deck furniture and equipment daily, including chairs, tables, kickboards, and pull buoys.
  • Ensuring all cleaning products are EPA friendly by checking with supply companies.
  • Washing all borrowed towels and shared equipment directly after use.
  • Making sure all indoor pools have a working ventilation system, and opening doors and windows when possible.
  • Moving all chairs and tables 6 feet apart, unless being utilized by people from the same household.
  • Moving lifeguard and staff areas into socially distant areas so as to not put them at risk of contracting the virus.
  • Staggering shift start times for staff to limit the amount of staff in the facility at one time.
  • Training all staff on how to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if they come in contact with someone with the virus.
  • Designating staff to ensure all social distancing measures are being practiced by patrons, separate from the lifeguards on duty.
  • Reducing pools’ capacity to comply with local regulations.
  • Keeping patrons 6 feet apart in the pool whenever possible.
  • Staggering the start times of activities such as swim lessons and swim teams to limit the amount of people in the facility at one time.
  • Minimizing the use of shared equipment such as kick boards, noodles, and goggles.
Voluntary athletic activities approved to resume beginning June 1 following NCAA vote

Another big step in the return of college athletics has reportedly been taken:
Wednesday afternoon, Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported that the NCAA Division I Council voted to approve the return voluntary athletic activities beginning June 1 and running through June 30. The association had implemented a moratorium on such activities through May 31 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Pete Thamel
Sources: The NCAA Division I Council voted to approve voluntary athletic activities in football, MBB and WBB to start June 1st and go through June 30th. There had been a moratorium on that through May 31st. Other sports will be acted on on a later date.

The sports that are permitted to resume are football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. The other sports will be discussed at a later date, per the report.

The NCAA’s vote is a huge step towards the return of college athletics, especially college football. Though there had been some momentum trending in that direction anyway, this was an important vote from the association.

Earlier this week, Ohio State announced that football players would be returning to campus on June 8. With the NCAA’s ruling, it’s likely that other B1G football programs implement a similar time frame for student-athletes to return.
from Swim Swam
T he  NCAA  has begun to explore options for holding its fall championships in the wake of COVID-19. The organization, which governs most collegiate athletics across 3 divisions, is hopeful that they will be able to hold them after having to cancel all winter and spring championships due to the virus.

As highlighted on the  NCAA  social series, discussions are currently occurring between senior members of  NCAA  staff and the COVID-19 Advisory Panel “centered on ways to protect the health, safety and well-being of student-athletes, coaches, administrators and spectators”.

In the press release , the organization also states that “At the foundation of the talks is maintaining fair and equitable selection protocol and retaining the same formats under the same timelines and at the same previously determined sites.”

However, due to a predicted spike in the virus during the months of November and December, the  NCAA  is also looking to push up fall tournament dates to avoid any possible conflicts. One scenario that they are looking into is pushing all championships up to the week of Thanksgiving (November 22-28).

This coincides with plans by many institutions to conclude their fall academic semesters before Thanksgiving an attempt to minimize the number of mass migrations back-and-forth between campus and home for students.

The plan is also contingent on the availability of testing for coronavirus. The organization is currently looking into a viral antigen test that is in development, which if improved, could provide accurate results in about 10 minutes.

Officiating Courses Available for Free Through July 1 on the NFHS Learning Center

Current high school sports officials, as well as individuals interested in joining the officiating ranks, will be able to access online education courses on the NFHS Learning Center for free through July 1.

Since many individuals are at home for an indefinite period of time due to the current health crisis, the NFHS has decided to make its 11 sports officiating courses available for free on the Learning Center at  www.NFHSLearn.com.
Stockdale Paradox: Why confronting reality is vital to success.

It's the idea of hoping for the best, but acknowledging and preparing for the worst.

Balancing realism and optimism in a dire situation is a key to success.

"You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."

US Navy Rear Admiral James Stockdale was the most senior naval officer held captive in  Hanoi North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Commander Stockdale was held as a POW and tortured for seven and a half years.

Please patronize the advertisers from our dinner banquet - and tell them that you saw their ad in the LISOA dinner program!
St. Charles Sports Medicine
All County Block
Eagle Abstract
Charles Shemet Dentistry
Fish Window Cleaning
 Long island Premiere Swim Camp
Barbara Cronin-Stagnari, USAT Coach
Kelleher Kreations
Nelson Gonzalez Car & Trucks Sales
OxiClean - Bellport
We are considering holding a Golf Outing next spring (2021). Some of the money raised will go toward food, transportation and housing to the LISOA officials attending the NY State Boy's Swimming & Diving Championship meet in Ithaca.

We will need at least ten foursomes - we have so far identified five. Please let me know if you are interested in playing and/or could field a foursome (friends, relatives, office/company).

Tentatively the cost would be $175.00 per golfer or $700.00 per foursome- which will include the greens fees, golf cart, driving range, balls and tees, closest to the pin and longest drive contests, full buffet dinner with open bar, prizes, raffles, and a 50/50!

All swimming officials must remember their primary purposes when on deck. Officials shall conduct the meet in a professional manner, assure compliance with the NFHS rules and assure that no competitor has an unfair advantage. Officials shall remain mindful of the inherent risk of injury that competition poses to student athletes. Where appropriate, they shall inform event management of conditions or situations that appear unreasonably hazardous.

The purpose and goals of the LISOA and its members shall be to:   
  • Officiate all meets in a competent and professional manner.
  • Have its members actively work to improve interscholastic swimming and diving officiating.
  • Provide a consistent interpretation and administration of interscholastic swimming and diving rules.
  • Service and collaborate with the swimming and diving community for the improvement of swimming and diving.
George Fleckenstein
Vice President:
Ray Willie
Chris Zimmet
Barbara Wendt
Doug Virkus
Larry Wachter
Rules Interpreter:
Bob Kersch
Past President:
Frank Dowd

Charlie Schlegal
George Columbo
Jim McAllister
Dick Atwater
Jack Reilly
Frank Krayer
NYSCSO Distinguished Service Award Members

Jim McAllister (2019)
Doug Virkus (2011)
Mush Masters (2008)
Pete Moeschen (2004)
Stan Adler (1993)
Bob Kersch (1990)