The Post-Journal

Shirley Smith - One of the Nation's Top Swim Officials

Shirley Smith is on the road or in the air several weeks of the year because the veteran swimming official and former swimming coach has been active in the sport for 35 years and is still going strong.

Smith was endorsed by the Jamestown Area Chapter of Swimming Officials and received the New York State Distinguished Service Award for the 1988-1989 swimming season. Because of this honor, Smith's name will be the second name on the plaque at the Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, FL, for high school swimming officials.

Previously, Smith was named the 1985-1986 Official of the Year for the Niagara area of U.S. Swimming.

She returned last month from Portland, OR, where she spent a week as a delegate-at-large for the U.S. Swimming Convention. Shirley is on two national committees - insurance and national championship coordination.

"This was the fifth convention I've attended," Smith said. "This is my second year on the committees."

The convention covered five sports - swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming and masters swimming.

Smith will be working least three big U.S. Swimming meets this winter and spring. She will be in Orlando, FL, December 3-5, officiating the U.S. Open Invitational meet; she will be in Nashville, TN, for the U.S. Seniors Nationals March 19-23; and she will be at the U.S. Junior Nationals East at Cleveland State on March 27-31.

"I've enjoyed swimming," Smith said. "I've met some wonderful people all over the country. They are very strict at the nationals. I look up to U.S. Swimming for its strict rules. The first and second place finishers in each event are required to take a drug test."

Last January, Smith was the referee at the National Junior Olympics in Austin, TX. She also worked at the NCAA Division 2 Championships at the University of Buffalo and the Empire State Games. In 1984 and 1988, she worked the Olympic Trials.

This season is Smith's 29th year as a swimming official. She is on the executive board of the Jamestown Area Chapter of Swimming Officials and has served on all committees.

For several years, she has scheduled officiating assignments for all boys' and girls' teams for Chautauqua and part of Cattaraugus County.

Another important job Smith has is planning and teaching the training program for both new and experienced officials. Since she serves as the Jamestown Area Chapter representative to the state meetings, she keeps the local chapter updated on the current trends and the impending new rule changes. She also meets with the local coaches and explains the new rules and helps with rules interpretations.

She works most of the county and sectional meets and last years was a timer at the New York State Girls Championship Meet.

Smith also taught Red Cross swimming for 30 years, WSI, CPR, First Aid and Instructor Training. She has been on the staffs of 22 National Aquatic Schools, and coached age group swimming for 30 years.

Now smith has a new hobby. She raises and shows champion Schipperkes at dog shows in the East and may some day enter the prestigious Westminster Show at Madison Square Garden.

"This is a family hobby," Mrs. Smith stated. She has also shown German shepherds.

But her main hobby remains her involvement in competitive swimming.


The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.

Font Resize
Contrast