Open Water Swimming Referee

Flight Sergeant Paul Kendall from Eng Logs will be heading off to London this summer to assist in the London 2012 Olympics as an Open Water Swimming Referee.

Having been a moderately successful competitive swimmer before joining the RAF, it was a natural progression for Phil to join the RAF swimming and water polo squads whilst undergoing trade training at Cosford in 1976. For the next eight years membership of these squads saw Phil participate at events in Germany, sports tours in Scotland, as well as being a member of teams selected for Inter-Service competitions. In 1984 however a training injury resulted in a much reduced competitive ability, and forced thoughts of retiring from the sport, until it was suggested that he should try officiating; which would allow him to remain involved with the sport and “repay” the time and support shown by this body of people during his time in the pool.

Phil’s entry into pool officiating coincided with a need for a new “Safety Officer” to oversee the Inter-Service Open Water Championships held annually at Lake Bala, North Wales, and it was through this role that he became hooked on the open water side of this sport. It is what launched him on the path to eventually become a Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) International Open Water Referee. Progression from novice official to his current position has taken over 16 years, during which he has participated in numerous Service and Amateur Swimming Association events throughout the country, plus involvement at International events in London, Scarborough, and most recently Yalta in the Ukraine.

At the 2012 Olympics Phil will be supporting the men’s and women’s 10km Marathon swimming competitions, which are being held over an oval course in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, on 9th and 10th August. Of the thirteen race officials officiating at this Open Water event seven are British Swimming Referees, and it is noteworthy that another three of these are ex-Royal Air Force personnel – Mr S Gunter, Mr I Hodgson, and Mr D Weetman. At the time of writing the Olympic roles of each official have still to be officially announced, however is likely that Phil’s role will be that of Recorder, working from the automatic officiating equipment suite. His responsibilities will include ensuring rule violations are notified to the Chief Referee, interpreting any “photo finish”, and confirming and publishing the official race results to the world.

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