St. Andrews Swim Coach Named Olympic Referee
The Summer Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro are fast approaching, and athletes, coaches, and officials are preparing. The Olympic teams have been chosen from some of the top athletes that the United States has to offer. Officials and Referees for the games are also picked from the most elite men and woman in the world representing their country through the task of ensuring that the games remain fair and that the rules are followed.
Following this selection process, FINA ( “Fédération Internationale de Natation) has selected longtime USA Swimming volunteer and Boca Raton community member Stephen “Sid” Cassidy as one of only three referees for the men’s open water swimming race at the Summer Olympics Games in Rio.
Cassidy currently serves as aquatic director for the Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton. He is one of the most respected coaches in the sport, not only in the south Florida area but also in the world. He has been recognized by his peers many times by receiving the “USA Swimming Award”, and twice being named “Florida Coach of the Year”. Cassidy played a great role in creating the open water swimming event in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games by serving as Chair of the committee in charge of the sport.
“My father taught me how to navigate through and ride back to shore on the ocean waves as a young boy,” Cassidy said. “I have always considered that one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. As a coach and administrator of open water swimming it is my dream to pay it forward by opening such doors for young athletes today and in the future.”
Sid has been one of the leaders of the open water swimming movement for his entire life and was formerly a professional marathon swimmer himself. As a swimmer, he broke many records including one for swimming a relay across the English Channel.
A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Cassidy has been a member of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee for nearly 20 years. This will not be the first major event that Cassidy will be officiating. He has previously been a referee at NCAA championships, World Championships, and most recently the Olympic Trials.
“Forty years ago I missed out on a pool team slot for the Montreal Olympics and immediately began competing in open water races just for fun. Within a few years, it occurred to me that if Track could have a marathon run, why not swimming a marathon swim? After more than three decades of pushing that dream, to be able to live it – even as an official – is something I am extremely proud of.”
Cassidy continues his role of promoting and leading Open Water Swimming in America by officiating the Olympics. As the sport grows in popularity, his leadership in educating referees and officials on how to correctly and consistently interpret rules and regulations has ensured his spot to represent the United States as an Official in Rio this summer.