By Mike Watkins//Contributor | Thursday, December 5, 2019
Like a lot of swim parents, Dana Covington (and husband, Steve) got involved with officiating because of their kids.
And just like most who are still officiating (and that’s many), while their kids have moved on from their competition days, the parents remain committed - and excited - about swimming.
Covington is no exception. Her three daughters swam for many years but two stopped once college came (the third swam in college) around to focus on other things.
Meanwhile, Covington is returning to Omaha next summer to hit the pool deck as a Chief Judge – her second consecutive Olympic Trials.
For the Covington family, swimming just made sense in a lot of different ways – and still does.
“My husband and I wanted to get our daughters into a sport that would develop their identity as strong girls/women,” she said. “We wanted something we could do as a family. So, we chose swimming.”
Following is a brief Q&A with Covington about her officiating experience and what she is most looking forward to about coming back for her second Olympic Trials.
Q: Where do you live? What do you do for work, fun, hobbies? Family? Names?
A: I live in Placerville, Calif. – where gold was found that started the Gold Rush in 1849. I am a registered nurse (RN) and worked as an Emergency Room RN for 20 years. Now I work as a hospital administrator. I love my job! My hobbies include yoga, hiking and volunteering at church. My husband, Steve, is also a USA Swimming official.
Q: What do you remember most from past Trials? Any particular memory or memories/experiences stand out?
A: One of my favorite memories from last Trials (my first Trials) was the first night standing under the pool with my colleagues, getting ready to enter the pool, hearing the music, announcer and fans, seeing the lights and thinking there was nowhere else I’d rather be. I was with some of the best people in the world! I remember feeling so honored to be there. I also felt like it was a swim meet tucked into a party. The atmosphere was very patriotic and festive.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working swim meets (in the various roles you've played)?
A: What I enjoy most about working swim meets is seeing the athletes’ results of hard work and goal setting. Seeing athletes work through disappointments and celebrating success.
Q: How many meets (including Trials) would you say you've officiated?
A: I don’t know - a lot.
Q: How were you selected to be an official at next year's Trials?
A: The selection committee asked for input from LSC officials chairs. Looking for officials who had National Certifications. I am sure the decision was not easy. There are many qualified officials. I have also had experience as Chief Judge at other National selection meets.
Q: What will you be doing as an official – what is your role, duties, where will you be, etc. Have you done multiple officiant roles at meets before?
A: I will be part of the Chief Judge team lead by Don Hougardy. The CJs role is to help other officials and be the intermediary between the stroke official and the deck referee. The CJ Team collectively helps to put together all the pieces of officiating at the meet to make the puzzle whole. I have served in every role as an official at different meets over the years
Q: What was your officiant role at 2016 Trials?
A: I was a stroke and turn official.
Q: How long have you been officiating at swim meets? How did you get started doing this?
A: I have been officiating since 2008. My kids’ club team needed officials and asked me to help.
Q: I imagine this is quite an honor to be chosen for Trials?
A: Being invited to Trials is an incredible honor. I am thankful to my official friends/mentors who have gone before me and gracefully taught me the ropes.
Q: How far/long did your daughters swim?
A: All three of our daughters swam through high school. One swan through college.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about Trials?
A: Seeing my friends from across the nation and developing a team of officials who collectively will put our best foot forward to serve the athletes that have worked so hard to be here.