PEORIA — Kevin Moss has been a swimming and diving official for so long, some swimmers might not recognize him if he's not wearing white.
That's the uniform for the officials at meets, which Moss has been officiating since shortly after graduating from Limestone in 1975.
"Some of the parents don't recognize me, either, if I'm not wearing white," he said. "When I didn't have a full schedule, I'd sometimes run and get into the balcony at some of the other swim meets and watch. That helped me learn a little bit, too."
Moss, 60, has been a familiar figure around area pools for 41 years, working meets at both the local and state levels. He was recently named the IHSA girls swimming and diving Official of the Year, an honor he received for working the boys meets about 15 years ago.
Moss also received the 2003 National Federation of State High School Associations boys swimming and diving Official of the Year, and the 2007 Illinois Swimming Officials Association Official of the Year.
The Illinois Swimming and Diving Association honored Moss with the 2014 Romsted-Drumm Award, presented to a swimming official "who had exemplified excellence in the officiating profession and who has demonstrated a significant contribution and commitment to the sport."
Moss has done that and more over the years.
Because of his expertise, Moss serves as the IHSA Rule Interpreter and Clinician. He also helps run the referee clinics that all officials are required to attend once every three years.
For the past 16 years, Moss also has been a paid official at the IHSA state meet, where most of the workers are volunteers.
"My first assignment at state was 2002, when they let me be the starter for the boys," Moss said. "You see kids for four years, and see them progress, especially the divers. You see them one-on-one, so you pick out their names a little more.
"When you see the swimmers, you see six or eight at a time, and don't learn their names as much . . . unless their names happen to be like Matt Elliott. Then you look at them."
Moss saw Elliott win seven individual state titles for Richwoods from 2007 to 2010. That's one of the perks of being an official for Moss, watching the younger swimmers progress.
He has been involved with swimming since he was a child himself, growing up in the south side of Peoria.
"We lived three blocks from Proctor Center, and my mom sent me and my brothers there almost daily," he said.
After moving to Bartonville, Moss was part of the inaugural swim team at Limestone his senior year. After that, he got his water safety instructor certification while attending the University of Illinios, and became an official his freshman year.
Moss retired from Caterpillar at the end of 2015 after a 33-year career, and now spends his free time organizing adult bible study groups, being a lector and helping his church with funeral luncheons.
But Moss said he will continue to be a swimming and diving official as long as he is able.
"I'm losing a little bit of cartilage in the legs," he said. "Glucosamine keeps me lubricated, and Aleve takes the swelling down. I'm actually doing pretty good since I've discovered that. I can get up and down the deck a little quicker."
Johnny Campos can be reached at 686-3214 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnnyCampos59.