There’s been plenty happening in the world of our technical officials (TO), with a host of TOs receiving gold, silver and bronze service pins at the recent Australian Swimming Championships, while two dedicated TOs have been promoted to the official FINA list.
Read more about their achievements below.
Harris and Macleod recognised for 20-year service
Devoted Technical Officials Dorothy Harris and Karen Macleod have been awarded gold pins for their services to swimming in Australia.
Harris, who hails from Western Australian and the Waroona Amateur Swimming Club, has volunteered as TO for more than 20 years and has officiated both domestically and internationally.
Upon receiving this recognition, she said she was honoured to have been involved with swimming for the last two decades.
“I’m really proud to have been part of the national swimming family for 20 years,” she said.
“It’s been a great experience getting to meet some wonderful people, swimmers, coaches and other officials.
“I’ve made lifelong friends along the way and it’s a privilege to be at the forefront of a sport I love.”
Harris’ journey as a TO has seen her garner a myriad of highlights including the 2004 Olympic Trials in Sydney and the 2007 Swimming World Championships in Melbourne.
She has officiated events overseas including three Pan Pacific Games in New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea and Samoa as well as the 2010 Pan Pacific Games in Los Angeles. Harris is also known for being the first FINA-accredited Australian female starter.
She says her passion for swimming has rewarded her with amazing experiences.
“I love the sport of swimming and have been involved in swimming all my life,” she added.
“Being a TO gives me the chance to volunteer and give back to my sport in the best way possible. Officials also have the best seats in the house, and you couldn’t get any closer to the pool and the action.
“At the end of the day, we are volunteers and give a lot of time to the sport so it’s really nice to see that work acknowledged.
“There have been some amazing highs and I’ve been fortunate to have gone to some great events in Australia and overseas.”
Fellow TO Karen Macleod (Queensland) was also awarded a gold pin for her two decades’ worth of service to swimming.
While echoing Harris’ sentiments, Macleod also added how much she loves witnessing athletes achieve their aspirations.
“The knowledge that we can support swimmers at all levels achieve their goals is what I love about being a TO – whether it’s a young swimmer at their first meet or an elite swimmer attempting to make the Olympics,” she said.
“I also love working with the fabulous technical officials from all over Australia and feel so lucky to have made lifetime friendships through my involvement in this sport.”
With an abundance of experience and memories, Macleod also shared some highlights from her journey.
“My standout memory is becoming the first Queensland woman to be appointed as a FINA Referee, as well as being the Referee at Australian Championship events where many of our Australian swimmers have broken World Records.”
The duo were presented with their gold pins in front of fellow officials during last month’s Australian Swimming Championships on the Gold Coast.
Also awarded pins were:
Jackie Madden (VIC) – Silver
Katherine Reynolds (WA) – Silver
Michelle Gristede (VIC) – Bronze
Linda Anthonsen (VIC) – Bronze
Top photo L-R: Jackie Madden, Katherine Reynolds, Swimming Australia CEO Alex Baumann, Karen Macleod, Dorothy Harris, Director Tracy Stockwell, Michelle Gristede and Linda Anthonsen.
Australian TO’s rise to FINA status
Two Swimming Australia TOs have been promoted to FINA-accredited officials for the next four years.
Queensland’s Stephen Carsley and Sydney’s Philip Jobling joined the ranks alongside 18 other Australian TOs across pool and open water events.
Jobling said his appointment was a lovely surprise, and one he was very humbled to receive.
“It certainly was a very pleasant surprise,” Jobling said.
“Being appointed to FINA is a huge honour and personal recognition for the hours and hours a technical official spends at club, area, state and national events.
“Once you’re appointed to FINA it doesn’t mean you can now put your feet up and relax. You must reassess your goals and continue work on continuous improvement every time you step out on pool deck.”
Like many TOs, Jobling started his journey in the sport while looking for new opportunities when his daughter was swimming.
“I was looking for a new challenge while my daughter swam competitively,” he said.
“Becoming a technical official was one way to work on my own personal development to challenge myself and learn new skills. I’ve been able to spend time with like-minded people and have created lifelong friendships with technical officials locally, nationally and overseas.”
Meanwhile, Carsley acknowledged the prestige of becoming a FINA official, admiring the work many Australian officials have done in the past and continue to do. He says he’s committed to further contributing on the world stage.
“The appointment is taken in great earnest as I'm extremely conscious of the calibre, reputation and tremendous achievements that previous and current Swimming Australia Technical Officials have held globally – of which I'm keen to contribute,” Carsley said.
Carsley also shared his advice on what makes a good technical official.
“I think the attributes of being a good Technical Official transcends the sport. The qualities required to be successful here are relevant to other areas of life – find a mentor or two, be humble, teachable and willing to learn, and understand they have the sport's best interests at heart, as well as yours.”
Carsley and Jobling’s promotion to FINA level gives the duo the ability to officiate FINA events around the globe from world championships to Olympic Games.
Below is a list of Australia’s appointed as FINA officials effective from January 1, 2021:
Australian FINA Pool Officials
Australian FINA Open Water Officials
Damian Van De Berg