Swimming and Diving Rules Changes - 2020-21
By NFHS on April 17, 2020
1-1-1: Additional languagewas added to define the end wall.
Rationale: Since swimmers may now finish the race by contacting the end wall or touchpad, a more complete definition of what constitutes the end wall was necessary.
1-4-5, 1-4-6, 9-2-1, 9-4-1d, 9-4-2, 9-4-4, 9-4-5: Diving rounds and diving sessions were defined.
Rationale: Rounds and sessions were used interchangeably in the rules book and clarity was necessary when referencing sessions during and 11-dive competition.
3-3-3 NOTE, 3-3-4c: The rule was updatedto comply with current requirements of suit manufacturers.
Rationale: New language clarifies that a check mark placed adjacent to the FINA logo is compliant for high school competition.
6-3-2: New language describes the manner in which an official time is obtained.
Rationale: This rule change clarifies that other data points such as touchpad, buttons, or stopwatches may need to be used by the Referee to determine the swimmer’s time.
6-3-4: Added language describes when the backup system for timing and judging shall be operative.
Rationale: The change more accurately describes the protocol for determining an official time when automatic timing equipment malfunctions or is not activated.
9-3-3, 9-3-5: Headings were added to articles to assist with identifying a two-pronged process for entering a diver participating in a championship meet.
Rationale: New rule organization clarifies the entry process.
Swimming and Diving Rule Interpretations - 2020-21
By NFHS on July 22, 2020
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 © 2020
SITUATION 1: In order to conduct a large invitational meet within limited pool availability, meet hosts utilize timed finals for all relays and the 500-yard freestyle event, while providing heats and finals for the remaining events. RULING: This is permissible. COMMENT: For multi-team meets, there is no prohibition on combining meet formats. Meet hosts may exercise this sort of flexibility, subject to state association policies, in order to create better competitive environments for athletes. (5-1-1)
SITUATION 2: Coaches from two schools decide to conduct a virtual dual meet and would like to utilize a 1,000-yard freestyle event instead of the 500-yard freestyle. RULING:Incorrect procedure. COMMENT: Virtual competitions may be conducted provided state association policy permits, and all NFHS Swimming and Diving rules regarding athlete entry, participation and conduct shall apply. Events may not be altered when conducting a dual meet.
SITUATION 3: In a championship diving competition, divers qualifying for the semifinal session are permitted to warm up before the start of that session; however, no warm-up is allowed between semifinals and finals. RULING: Legal. Warm-up immediately prior to the beginning of the preliminary session is required by rule; additional warm-up between other sessions is at the discretion of meet management. (9-2-1)
SITUATION 4: The referee is using an electronic whistle to signal swimmers to prepare for a heat and to “step up” or “step in.” RULING: Legal. COMMENT: Provided all participants are aware of the circumstances and are able to respond appropriately to the official’s signals, a human-blown whistle is not required.
Swimming and Diving Points of Emphasis - 2020-21
By NFHS on April 17, 2020
- Communication between the Referee and Table
- Establishing the Official Time
- Diving Entries
- Signals for Officiating Swimmers with Disabilities
Rule 3‐3 Uniforms
ART. 1 . . . It is recommended all swimmers and divers on the team wear suits of identical coloring and pattern.
ART. 2 . . . Suits shall be of one piece. A competitor shall not be permitted to participate wearing a suit that is not of decent appearance. Males shall wear suits which cover the buttocks and shall not extend above the waist or below the top of the kneecap. Females shall wear suits which cover the buttocks and breasts and shall not extend beyond the shoulders or below the top of the kneecap, nor cover the neck.
PENALTIES: When an official discovers a competitor wearing illegal attire as described in Article 2, the official shall:
- when observed prior to the start of the heat/dive, notify the coach of the competitor to make the suitlegal before becoming eligible to compete. If the competitor cannot comply without delaying the startof the heat/ dive, the competitor is disqualified from that event/dive and shall not be eligible for furthercompetition until in a legal suit;
- when observed after the heat/dive officially begins, disqualify the competitor at the completion of theheat/dive; nullify the competitor's performance time/score and he/she shall not be eligible for furthercompetition until in a legal suit.
ART. 3 . . . The uniform consists of a suit and, if worn, cap(s).
- The suit or cap(s) may display the competitor's name, school name, school nickname and/or the school logo.
- Advertising or name other than that permitted in 3‐3‐3c is prohibited.
- A single visible manufacturer's logo/trademark/reference, no more than 2¼ square inches with no dimension morethan 2¼ inches is permitted on each item of the uniform .
- One American flag, not to exceed 2 inches by 3 inches, may be worn or occupy space on each item of uniformapparel. By state association adoption, to allow for special occasions, commemorative or memorial patches, not toexceed 4 square inches, may be worn on the uniform without compromising its integrity.
NOTE: The FINA mark, individual barcode and/or USA Swimming approved checkmark logo on certain suitsdesignating that the suit has been approved for FINA and/or USA Swimming competition is not considered to bea second manufacturer's logo nor a form of advertising. Such suits with a FINA marking and/or checkmark, ifotherwise legal, shall be legal for NFHS competition.
ART. 4 . . . Suits worn by swimmers (excluding divers) shall be limited to the following requirements:
- Only one suit shall be permitted in competition. (A swimmer with special needs may request forcustomization to the state association through his/ her school.)
b. The suit shall be:
1. constructed of a woven/knit textile material; permeable (100 percent to air and water), except for
one post‐construction, impermeable school name and/or logo which shall not exceed 9 square
2. made so as not to aid in buoyancy and shall not be altered to aid in buoyancy;
3. made with no zippers or other fastening system other than a waist tie for a brief or jammer and
elastic material within the casing/ribbing in the terminal ends (straps, leg openings and waist
c. Suits with a FINA marking, if otherwise legal, shall be legal for NFHS competition.
PENALTIES: When an official discovers a competitor wearing illegal attire as described in Articles 3 and 4,the official shall:
- when observed prior to the start of the heat/dive, notify the coach or the competitor to make the attirelegal before becoming eligible to compete. If the competitor cannot comply without delaying the start ofthe heat/ dive, the competitor is disqualified from the event/dive and shall not be eligible for furthercompetition until in legal attire;
- when observed after the heat/dive officially begins, disqualify the competitor at the completion
of the heat/dive; nullify the competitor's performance time and he/she shall not be eligible for
further competition until in legal attire.
ART. 5 . . . Competitors shall not wear or use any device or foreign substance to aid their speed, buoyancy or body compression. The following may be used within the stated conditions:
a. A foreign substance may be applied if not considered excessive by the referee (if excessive, the
referee shall require the competitor to remove it;
b. Adhesives are not allowed for swimmers or divers;
c. Divers may wear tape or wraps for support.
Tape may be used by a swimmer to treat a documented medical condition. The referee must be presentedsigned documentation from an appropriate health‐care professional before permitting the athlete to compete.
NOTE: Each state association may, in keeping with applicable laws, authorize exceptions to NFHS playing rules toprovide reasonable accommodations to individual participants with disabilities and/or special needs, as well asthose individuals with unique and extenuating circumstances. The accommodations should not fundamentallyalter the sport, heighten risk to the athlete/others or place opponents at a disadvantage.
PENALTY: When team personnel/competitor uses an unapproved artificial device during an event, thecompetitor(s) is disqualified from further 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.