Jacki Allender, OMS Officials Chairperson, was recently awarded the 2022 Kenneth Pettigrew Award. This award was created to honor Ken Pettigrew, a swimming official who devoted over 30 years to swimming. Each year the recipient is chosen by the USA-Swimming Officials’ Committee and the award is presented at the annual convention.
The following text is a testament to Jacki and her professionalism on and off the deck. Several of her colleagues have submitted personal stories about their interaction and experiences with Jacki over the years.
“When one thinks of leadership styles, rarely is the phrase “humble servant” used. But this is exactly the role taken by this year’s recipient of the Pettigrew Award for outstanding official. As information was solicited about this official, the same words were used to describe her.
• Concern for others – do the officials on deck need more water or to get out of the sun? Are our athletes and deck staff safe from any harm? She is always concerned for the safety of others, often ahead of her own, for both athletes and volunteers. Once aware of a Safe Sport issue, she sought advice and input promptly to ensure that everyone was protected. During the pandemic, she took on the role of Meet Referee for someone whose family situation made them more vulnerable to serious complications. You could always count on her to be honorable.
• Committed – even after her daughter finished swimming, her officiating at the local, zone, national, and international level has continued for many years.
• Kind and welcoming – There are stories that would fill a book about Jacki’s willingness to mentor, be a sound ear for officiating and those with personal needs, and inclusivity to the new ones, either on the deck or at conventions.
• Competent – her skills and knowledge are matched by few, and she has spent hours teaching others while having the highest of expectations. She is known to often go over the administrative paperwork so as to ensure accuracy.
• Unpretentious, unassuming, egoless – She never expected her appointments, or felt as though she was somehow deserving, which made it all the sweeter to witness the emotion and sincere surprise on her face when she learned of her assignment at the last Olympic Trials.
• Not a push-over – We all know that she will give you the truth and an answer you might not want to hear. It’s just that the message is coated by her delivery. It has been said that she can tell you where to go in a way that you believe you will enjoy the trip.
• Nobody’s fool and a heck of a whit – Ask Vandelay about her quick responses to his steady stream of jokes as he drove her around Omaha!
• Team player and steadfast collaborator – There is really nothing more we can say, except congratulations to Jacki Allender, our 2022 Pettigrew Award winner.”
Congratulations to Jacki on receiving this high honor from USA-Swimming. Earlier this year, she was awarded the 2022 Officials Excellence award from U. S. Masters Swimming.