Swimming and Diving Rules Changes - 2019-20
By NFHS on April 23, 2019
3-3-1, 3-3-2, 3-3-2 PENALTIES, 3-3-3, 3-3-4 PENALTIES: Rule 3-3 was reorganized to identify penalty protocol for specific uniform violations.
Rationale: All current language addressing suit coverage was moved to Rule 3-3-2. The penalty associated with this rule was written to provide clear indication that the coach of the competitor should be notified when a violation of this nature has occurred.
8-1-7, 8-2-1g, 8-2-2h, 8-2-3g, 8-2-4e, 8-3-5: A legal finish now requires the competitor to contact either the touchpad or the finish end according to the finish rules pertaining to the stroke being swum.
Rationale: A competitor has legally completed the race once he/she touches the touchpad or the finish end.
9-1-3: The rule was updatedto comply with current industry standards.
Rationale: Aligns with current diving board manufacturers installation directions.
9-4-Table: The degree of difficulty for back and reverse double somersaults was lowered to be consistent with back and reverse 1½ somersaults degrees of difficulty.
Rationale: Provides consistency of degree of difficulties assessed to back and reverse dives versus back and reverse somersaults.
9-5-6: Clarified descriptions of diving positions.
Rationale: Diving descriptions were adjusted to maintain consistency with national trends.
9-7-4 NOTE (NEW): The diving referee may confer with a member of the diving panel regarding a possible unsatisfactory dive.
Rationale: Consistentwith the diving referee’s capability of consulting with a designated member of the judging panel concerning a possible fail dive.
Swimming and Diving Rule Interpretations - 2019-20
By NFHS on August 14, 2019
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. Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, Publisher, NFHS Publications © 2019
CORRECTION: (Underlining shows additions; strikethrough shows deletions.)
3.6.1 SITUATION A: While waiting behind the starting platform for a race to begin, a competitor taunts an opponent on the basis of relative ability. RULING: The competitor is disqualified from that event and from further competition and is also removed from events in which he/she previously qualified or had previously scored points.
8.3.5 SITUATION B: The second swimmer on Team A’s 400 freestyle relay completes her leg of the relay but instead of touching the pad or end wall, she finishes in the recessed gutter area above the touchpad without contacting the pool structure at the finish end. The swimmer breaks the vertical plane of the end wall but has no legal touch when the next swimmer leaves the block. RULING: Legal Illegal exchange. COMMENT: Rule 8-3-5 requires the swimmers to contact the finish end in accordance with the finish rules applicable to each stroke.
SITUATION 1: The referee instructs timers to stop their watches/push their back-up buttons when the swimmer, at the end of the race, touches (a) the touchpad, (b) the front of the starting platform, (c) the wall between the touchpad and the lane line, (d) the back wall of the gutter. RULING: Correct procedure in all cases. COMMENT: The finish rules require the swimmer to touch some part of the pool structure at the finish end of the pool in order to have completed the race. This is defined as the vertical portion of the pool, contiguous surfaces of the deck and overflow gutter, the front portion of the starting block or platform, or the touchpad at the end of the course.
SITUATION 2: The referee instructs timers to stop their watches/push their back-up buttons when the swimmer, at the end of the race, touches (a) the open space of the gutter, (b) when some part of the swimmer crosses the vertical plane contiguous to the vertical end wall, (c) the wall above the gutter. RULING: In (a) and (b), incorrect procedure. In (c), correct procedure. COMMENT: The finish rules require the swimmer to touch some part of the pool structure at the finish end of the pool in order to have completed the race. This is defined as the vertical portion of the pool, contiguous surfaces of the deck and overflow gutter, the front portion of the starting block or platform, or the touchpad at the end of the course.
SITUATION 3: At the finish of the backstroke event, Swimmer A initially contacts the end wall above the gutter and subsequently contacts the touchpad with his shoulder. The result is a touchpad time of 57.62 and a button/ watch time of 57.41. The qualifying time for section championships is 57.50. The referee declares the official result for Swimmer A as the touchpad time; the coach insists that the official time should be the backup time, since the swimmer legally finished the race upon initial contact with the end wall. RULING: The backup time is the official result for Swimmer A, and that time is also used to establish the order of finish for the event. COMMENT: There is no longer any basis in the rules for the referee to select the touchpad time over the backup time, since a legal finish does not require contact with the touchpad nor use of that result as the primary outcome. (6-3-2, 8-2-1g)
SITUATION 4: In the medley relay, the backstroke swimmer contacts the starting block, but not the touchpad, at the end of his/her leg of the relay. The breaststroke swimmer leaves the platform when the backstroke swimmer makes contact with the block but before that swimmer contacts the touchpad. An exchange violation is declared for an early take-off by the breaststroke swimmer. RULING: Improper decision. COMMENT: A legal backstroke finish is accomplished by touching any part of the pool structure, including starting block, at the end wall. It is no longer necessary to touch the touchpad. Once the previous swimmer has legally finished his/her leg of the relay, the subsequent swimmer may legally relinquish contact with the starting platform.
SITUATION 5: A competitor in a dual meet reports to the blocks for race. It is obvious to the referee that the manufacturer’s logo exceeds the acceptable standards. RULING: The official asks the swimmer to step back, as there is no way he can fix the suit problem without delaying the heat. COMMENT: Correct procedure. After the race the official should discuss the disqualification with either the coach or the competitor. While NFHS rules do not require the official to notify the coach in matters of information on the suit, the official could – and perhaps should – so the coach can join the educational team process.
SITUATION 6: The referee notices a diver is wearing a suit that is not covering the buttocks. The referee notifies the coach of the competitor to make the suit legal before the diver can participate in the event. The competitor cannot make her suit legal without delaying the meet. RULING: The referee declares a failed dive. COMMENT: If the diver is able to correct the suit issue before her next scheduled dive, then she may perform that dive and continue competing, with the one failed dive in the books. However, if she cannot make the correction before the next dive, then it would be a second failed dive and she would be disqualified from the event.
Swimming and Diving Points of Emphasis - 2019-20
By NFHS on June 18, 2019
1. Preventing Shallow Water Blackout - The rules for NFHS swimming and diving exist to ensure fair competition in a positive, safe and healthy environment. Consequently, the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Committee recognizes concerns that have been raised over instances of shallow water blackout, which can affect swimmers of all experience levels. Shallow water blackout is a potentially fatal condition that causes a swimmer to lose consciousness while under water. Shallow water blackout can be prevented through education, awareness, and understanding of the dangers of breath-holding. The tips below are provided by Shallow Water Blackout Prevention. For further information, visit shallowwaterblackoutprevention.org.
How to Avoid Shallow Water Blackout
- Never hyperventilate
- Never ignore the urge to breathe
- Never swim alone
- Never play breath holding games
- No repetitive underwater lap
2. Suit Coverage – Suit coverage continues to be a focus of administrators, coaches, and officials, and competitors. While the rule itself has not changed, language addressing coverage and the protocol for addressing violations has been reorganized in the rules book. In addition, pre-meet coaches and athlete meetings have been mandated, which is an opportunity for the coach to verify that his/her athletes are properly and legally equipped AND an opportunity for captains/peers to consult with their teammates to assure suits and caps meet rule guidelines. It is recommended that coaches address suit coverage with parents and athletes during their pre-season meetings, to specify that suits should be worn as the manufacturer has intended and that athletes purchasing personal suits for competition only obtain suits that comply with NFHS rules regarding appropriate coverage as well as design and decoration.
3. Accommodations for Students with a Disability – Language and officials signals regarding the inclusion of students with a disability have been updated and will be available in the 2019 NFHS Swimming Officials Guidelines Manual. Included are updated images of officials signals for the forward and backstroke start as well as images for modified starting positions. Specific accommodations for visually impaired and hearing-impaired competitors are also provided in this publication.
4. Sub-Varsity Participation – The policy permitting state associations to modify events and distances for non-varsity competition remains in effect. (5-1-1 NOTE 1). States have the authority to shorten/lengthen distances and add other events in non-varsity competition. NFHS playing rules are written specifically for varsity competition. Modifications for levels other than varsity are at the discretion of the state association.
5. Pre-Meet Conference - The mandatory pre-meet conference as applied to championship meets can become problematic in some contexts, particularly in large meets. The pre-meet conference is a time to review meet procedures, special instructions and any unusual pool conditions. A comprehensive list of items to be covered is included in Appendix G of the 2018-19 Swimming Officials Guidelines Manual. State associations may determine an alternative method or methods of communication in situations where the size of the meet makes a pre-meet conference impractical. State associations are encouraged to provide appropriate policy direction for officials and meet administrators in assuring that the stated purposes for this conference are fulfilled and that both coaches and athletes are fully informed and prepared for the ensuing competition.
The NFHS along with the WIAA offices continue to receive questions regarding the application of NFHS Rule 3-3-2b(2), school logo restrictions, to swimsuits with logos and mascots applied to the suit during construction.
A process known as "sublimation" allows colors, designs, prints, etc. to be dyed into the fabric to be used for suits in a pre-construction phase. Using "sublimation," colors or designs, such as a school mascot, are dyed into the fabric and the textile material remains 100% permeable.
The restriction of a single, post-construction, impermeable school name or logo, not to exceed 9 square inches, does not apply to suits using sublimation for the process to include a school mascot, name and/or logo on the suit. This means that if a school desires more than one logo, or a logo and school initials on their sublimated suits, this is legal and allowable.
The single, post-construction, impermeable school name or logo, not to exceed 9 square inches, only applies to post-construction logos which render the material to no longer be 100% permeable.
If you have any questions regarding this interpretation, Tom Shafranski, WIAA Assistant Director and Swimming/Diving Liaison, can be contacted at email@example.com
Tom Shafranski, WIAA
Printable Copy - Please print and place in your rule book for future reference.