By Mike Watkins//Contributor | Thursday, December 19, 2019
If you ask officials who have been around for a while why they continue to volunteer even after their kids stop swimming, you’ll hear many different answers.
For Trish Martin, swimming has given her children tremendous advantages, and officiating is one way to give back to the sport that has been so good to her family.
“Plus, officiating is a fantastic hobby, and officials make terrific friends,” she said.
But, of course, it’s more than just that for Martin. Below is a Q&A with her as she looks back on past meets – including a past Trials – and also looks ahead to next summer’s meet in Omaha.
Q: Where do you live? What do you do for work, fun, hobbies? Family?
A: I live in Greensboro, NC. When I’m not officiating, I work in marketing as my real job. I also volunteer with North Carolina Swimming governance, the Southern Zone and with the USA Swimming Safe Sport Committee.
Q: What do you remember most from past Trials? Any particular memory or memories/experiences stand out?
A: I was most impressed with the professional production, the special effects, and the intense excitement in the arena. The enthusiasm extended to the entire city of Omaha with pictures of Katie and Michael on the buildings and swimmer art all over town. The College World Series was next door and officials were invited to the championship game. The entire week was a truly special experience… like Disney World for swim fans.
Q: What was your first Trials like?
A: 2016 was my first Trials, and I loved every minute. Everything that I had learned about officiating and protocols was put into action. It was very rewarding to be a part of the ultimate swim meet in the United States.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working swim meets (in the various roles you've played)?
A: I enjoy all the people with whom I engage at a swim meet—my official friends, the coaches, the athletes and the other volunteers. I like helping to put on good swim meets and seeing athletes at every level participate to the best of their abilities.
Q: How many meets (including Trials) would you say you've officiated?
A: Hmm, let’s just say that – like many others – I spend a lot of time on a pool deck.
Q: How were you selected to be an official at next year's Trials?
A: The pool of officials who meet the criteria for consideration is sizable, and I consider myself very lucky to have been selected.
Q: What will you be doing as an official at Trials next summer? Have you done multiple officiant roles at meets before?
A: I will be a Chief Judge at Trials. I will work with a team of CJs to help make sure all our judges can do their best work. I will also facilitate communications between the judges and the deck referees. I have been a CJ at several national meets in the past and paid close attention to the officials who served so well in the CJ role at the 2016 Trials.
Q: What was your role and responsibilities at your last Trials?
A: I was a S&T (stroke and turn) judge at the 2016 Trials. During those Trials, I had the opportunity to experience the show as a spectator when I viewed a finals session from the Press Box high up in the arena. It was spectacular!
Q: How long have you been officiating at swim meets?
A: I have been officiating for about 16 years. Like most, I got started with my kids’ team when they asked for parents to help run their swim meets. I’m not very good at timing, so I needed another volunteer job. Officiating was it.
Both of my children were swimmers. My daughter swam all through college. My son swam through his freshman year of college then switched to the track and field team. (And no, I never became a track and field official.)
Q: Are you a swimmer/former swimmer yourself?
A: I swam as an age grouper with ACAC in Oak Ridge, Tenn. I love running into the team at our Sectional meets. Brings back great memories.
Q: Describe what an honor it is to be chosen for Trials?
A: Our sport is incredibly fortunate to have so many officials who give their time, talent, and money to enable fair and safe competition at every level of swimming. I am very happy and honored to be one of the lucky officials who got picked for 2020.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about Trials?
A: I am most looking forward to seeing my official friends from all over the USA and to watching our country’s swimmers put on a fantastic show for the world.