Girls Swimming & Diving - Rules & Regulations

Rules and Regulations

3-3-5, 6   The prohibition of wearing jewelry has been removed form the swimming and diving rules.  The wearing of a medical alert with the alert visible is still encouraged for purposes of risk minimization.

4-1-7    Officials are required to dress in the same uniform attire as approved by the state association, and white is no longer the default uniform.

4-3-1a, b   The starter may designate another individual to sound a device for the lead swimmer during the 500-yeard/400-meter freestyle when the lead swimmer has two lengths plus 5 yards remaining in the race.

9-6-1    The judging panel in diving may or may not include the diving referee.

2015-16 Major Editorial Changes

Suggested Meet Warm-up Procedures, 2-NOTES, 2-4-5, 2-7-3 NOTE, 3-2-2, 3-3-2d, 9-4-1b, 9-6-1 

2015-16 Points of Emphasis

1. Uniform responsibilities – making sure you have it right – The ultimate responsibility of ensuring that all athletes are attired in legal and appropriate suits and caps rests with the coach. It may be that the school is purchasing the suits/caps or it could be the individual student has the purchasing responsibility. Regardless, the coach maintains the responsibility for educating the students of what is legal and appropriate. Construction and design is of concern as well as the size and number of the manufacturer’s logo, size of any post-construction logo, size of American flag and size and permission for any commemorative patch. For example, suits not manufactured in the United States will many times exceed the allowable size of a manufacturer’s logo. Jewelry is no longer prohibited. Religious and medical-alert medals are still legal. The medical alert should be worn so the alert is visible to assist a health-care professional. Coaches and athletes have the responsibility to refrain from wearing jewelry that takes away from the integrity of the sport or poses a high likelihood of coming loose during competition. A review of what is legal and required by rule should be conducted each season by the coach and with his/her athletes each year before the competitive season begins.

2. Focus on risk minimization in development of warm-up procedures – It is very important that each school has an established warm-up procedure that focuses on risk minimization. Likewise, state associations may want to consider establishing a warm-up procedure similar to the suggested procedures located in the front of the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Book. Before any contestants enter the water to begin warm-ups, there should be a meeting including head coaches and captains from each participating team. The information to be reviewed should include, but is not limited to, the warm-up procedures for the venue. Coaches should insist that his/her athletes always follow the rules for warm-ups to provide an environment free of unnecessary injuries.

3. Coaching starts and turns can prevent injuries – Coaching the proper techniques for starts and turns plays an important role in preventing the swimmers from incurring an unnecessary injury in addition to assisting in their success in these two components of the race. Coaches should take the time to properly instruct and review with all swimmers. It is important for the coach to observe the individual swimmers to be certain he/she masters the start and the turns for their respective events.

4. Ensuring the 16.4 yards (15-meter) mark is clearly visible – The 16.4 yards (15-meter) mark must be clearly visible. It is preferred to be marked on the deck on each side of the pool with a painted mark, bright tape or a bright cone, although it is easy to move a cone unintentionally. The 16.4 yards (15 meters) should also be marked on the lane markers. The mark on the pool deck is the most definitive and should the lane markers not be consistent with the mark on the deck, the deck marking takes priority.

5. Preparing the lap counter – Each school has the duty to adequately train individuals to serve as lap counters for their school. The host school is required to provide a visual lap counting system for the visiting teams as well as for their own school. Individuals serving as lap counters shall not enter the water, must remain on deck within the boundaries of their respective lanes and know when to change the visual count. This takes place by changing to the next higher odd number as the competitor makes each turn at the starting end. Once changed, as the swimmer approaches the end wall for the turn, the visual lap counting system is lowered into the water and removed before the swimmer initiates the turn. The solid orange card is shown to indicate the final length of the race. The individual serving as a lap counter may also give a verbal count and is not there to cheer on his/her teammate.

Publisher’s Note: The National Federation of State High School Associations is the only source of official high school interpretations. They do not set aside nor modify any rule. They are made and published by the NFHS in response to situations presented.

SITUATION 1: At the state meet, the coach of Team A notifies the meet ref- eree between the consolation finals and finals of the 50-yard freestyle that his/her swimmer is withdrawing from the finals with a declared false start. The coach provides the referee with the reason, although not required. The referee acknowledges the declared false start, reminds the coach that the competitor is eligible for further competition in the meet and then notifies the appropriate meet personnel of the declared false start. No change in seeding occurs as the consolation finals are completed. RULING: Correct procedure. The event counts as one of the competi- tor’s events. COMMENT: A competitor may withdraw from an event dur- ing the preliminaries or the finals, including diving, with a declared false start. Notice must be given to the referee at a specified time set by the referee. It is preferred that this time be set before the championship finals to allow a reseeding. (3-2-3, Points of Emphasis)

SITUATION 2: A diver from Team A approaches the board for the first dive of the competition and the diving ref- eree observes that the diver is wear- ing tape for support on one knee. No note for medical reasons for the tape has been provided to the official. The diving referee takes no action and the diver completes his/her first dive of the competition. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: Divers may wear tape or a wrap for support with no limitation to the location on the body. (3-3-4b)

SITUATION 3: During the individual medley, the swimmer, when finishing the backstroke section, does not com- plete the stroke with some part of his/her body on or above the surface of the water. The swimmer is disqual- ified. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: Within the individual medley, each section must be finished in accordance with the finish rule that applies to the style concerned. (8-2-5, 8-2-1e)

SITUATION 4: All divers have been allowed a specified amount of time for practice prior to the start of the meet. Once the diving competition begins, the coach from Team A approaches the diving referee at the completion of the preliminaries stat- ing that the divers are to have at least two practice approaches during this break before the semifinals com- mence. The diving referee clarifies to the coach that the requirement for the practice approaches applies to the time immediately prior to the start of diving competition and thus, does not apply to the time between prelim- inaries and semifinals in this meet as semifinals immediately follow the preliminary rounds. RULING: Correct procedure. (9-2-1)

SITUATION 5: In a championship meet, the meet director informs the coaches at the coaches’ meeting that the order of the divers shall be seeded after each cut based upon the divers’ scores. RULING: Incorrect procedure. COMMENT: In championship meets, the meet director has the option to seed the finalists based on their semi- final scores (lowest to highest). This option is only permitted between the end of the semifinals and heading into the finals. (9-2-2)

Printable Version -- Please print and place in your rule book for future reference.


Rule 3-2-1a: Exhibition

(1) There must be prior written mutual agreement among the involved schools. This must be facilitated prior to the day of the meet.


(2) Officials should be informed that the meet will include exhibition performances and in what events. The notification should be prior to the day of the meet.


(3) The number of individual exhibition entries in an event should not exceed the maximum allowed for the meet. If a school is allowed three entries per individual event, the maximum allowed for exhibition is three.


(4) Exhibition performances should not adversely affect the length of the meet.


Rule 3-2 PEN: For competing without submitting an entry card (sign-up sheet), the competitor or relay team shall be disqualified from that event only. Other legally entered competitors or relay teams from that same school will not be penalized.


Rule 3-2-3: In dual meets, the entries for the varsity event become official and no changes will be allowed upon the start of the JV event which precedes it. Coaches and officials may elect to use another system if agreed to prior to the start of the meet.


Rule 3-2-4: When it is noted a heat is missing a contestant, the meet referee will hold that heat until the situation can be resolved. The involved contestant must be charged with a false start for delay of the meet for that event, but shall be allowed further competition in the meet.


Rule 5-1-1: The length of events may be modified for nonvarsity competition and invitational meets.


Rule 8-1-3: In all meets (championship and nonchampionship) there must be dual confirmation of a false start by the referee and starter before a school swimmer or relay team is disqualified.


Rule 8-3-5: In all championship meets having at least three officials, there must be dual confirmation of relay takeoffs before a school swimmer or relay team is disqualified.


Rule 9-1-1: Diving Competition

(1) Diving competition will be allowed only in facilities with a water depth of 10 or more feet, 2-5 feet in front of the end of the board. NOTE: Pools remodeled or constructed after January, 1987 must have a water depth of 12 or more feet.


(2) Diving competition will be conducted on one meter boards only.


(3) If a host school cannot conduct diving competition because of the water depth, the following options are available: (a) With prior mutual consent, conduct diving at an alternate site and add diving points to total meet score. (b) No diving competition - points are lost to the meet. Total team score from 11 swimming events only. NOTE: A break of at least 15 minutes, including at least 10 minutes in water, must be taken during the normal diving event unless there is mutual agreement of all involved schools to shorten.


(4) If a host school can conduct diving, but is competing with schools which do not sponsor diving because of illegal facilities, the conference (if a conference meet) or the meet contract (if a nonconference meet) shall determine if diving will be scored. If diving is not conducted, the length of the break needs to be determined.


(5) If a school, however, has a legal facility but is not sponsoring diving because of lack of a coach or athletes, diving must be conducted in meets with schools sponsoring diving and appropriate points for diving forfeited to opponent(s).


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Wisconsin Interscholastic
Athletic Association
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