Girls Swimming & Diving - Rules & Regulations

Rules and Regulations

Swimming and Diving Rules Changes - 2018-19

By NFHS on June 8, 2018


Rule 1: Rule 1 has been reorganized to more accurately reflect and define meet specifications and organization.

Rationale: Clarifies and consolidates terminology and reorganizes sections to reflect the order in which rules appear in the rules book.

2-4-5: The 16.4-yard/15-meter marks must be visible on both sides of the pool deck.

Rationale: Although markings may be integrated into each lane marker/lane line, because the position of such floats are often irregular, the marks on the sides of the pool are the uniform default marking for all lanes.

2-7-2b: Backstroke starting ledges are not permitted in high school swimming.  

Rationale: Clarifies that backstroke starting ledges are prohibited in high school swimming due to risk minimization.    

2-7-2c (NEW), 2-7-3: Options for starting platform malfunctions are provided, and direction for malfunctioning swimming equipment has been re-organized.

Rationale:  Clarifies directives when swimming equipment malfunctions or is non-compliant.  

4-2-1d: The referee shall conduct a pre-meet conference with the starter, the coach and the captain of each team for all non-championship meets.

Rationale: Emphasizesthe importancethat participants are aware of all details associated with the event.                                  

4-5-3, 4-7: The responsibilities of stroke inspectors and turn/finish judges can now be combined by the referee.  

Rationale: Specifies when the availability of officials is limited, the referee has the option to staff the deck effectively and efficiently with available officials. 

5-1-2a: In non-championship meets, thedivingeventmaybe held first, last or simultaneously with the swimming events, in addition to the traditional placement as Event 5 between the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly.

Rationale: Allows for flexibility in conducting the diving event within the dual meet program which will permit more options for competing teams. 

5-3, 5-3-NOTE (NEW): Section 5-3 has been updated to provide lane and heat assignment protocol from the dual meet to the championship meet.  

Rationale: Clarifies direction for situations in which the number of teams and/or entries cannot be equally divided into the number of available lanes. 

5-4-2: New language provides scoring protocol based on pool facilities with differing numbers of available lanes.  

Rationale: Clarifies protocol for number of qualifiers and scoring for facilities that have 4, 6, 8, 9, or 10 lanes available.   

9-4-6 NOTE 2 (NEW): The NOTE clarifies that it is permissible to conduct eleven-dive competitions during dual meets, double-dual meets, and other non-championship multi-team meets. 

Rationale: Provides for additional options for competitors to prepare for tournament series events.

Major Editorial Changes

2-6: Reorganizes water condition requirements and provides directives for non-compliant conditions.      

2-7-9, 7-2-5: 
Clarifies the recommendation for posting team scores through a meet.

4-1-2: Clarifies that a meet committee and meet director are only required for championship meets.  Other meets are administered by the referee or other officials appropriate to the type of meet.

8-3-3 NOTE: Instruction for the starting procedure during a backstroke relay was moved to a NOTE, as this is not an NFHS event.  The NOTE can provide the guidance that may be needed.

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.
Robert B. Gardner, Publisher, NFHS Publications © 2017

SITUATION 1: A school hosts a “last-chance” meet to allow athletes who have not achieved a qualifying time/score an opportunity to qualify for the state championship meet. The state association wants to use the preliminaries and finals format, but not use the rules applicable to championship meets. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: State associations may determine which meets are championship meets. (1-3-12)

SITUATION 2: In a non-championship meet, Team A, which only has five eligible swimmers, submits an entry that provides for each swimmer to swim two individual events and, in addition, enters a team in each of the three relay events. The meet director informs Team A that its entry is inaccurate as there are not enough eligible competitors to fill all three relays without two of the competitors exceeding their permitted maximum number of events, and requests that the entry be corrected before the deadline of entry submittal. Team A does not modify its entry. The referee informs Team A prior to the start of the meet that the third relay team (the 400-yard freestyle relay) will be permitted to compete, but will ultimately be disqualified for exceeding the event limit. RULING: Correct procedure. To field a team of four in the 400-yard freestyle relay, two of the competitors would be competing in their fifth event. (3-2-1, 3-2-2, PENALTY 1)

SITUATION 3: At the regional meet where participants qualify for the state championship meet, School A’s 200-yard medley relay team wins the event and secures that region’s entry at the state meet the following week. Swimmer A-3 is unable to participate because the meet is held the same weekend as the state one-act play competition. The coach of School B, which finished second, requests that the team from School A be disqualified and the region entry given to School B because one of the swimmers who earned the School A time will not be at the state meet. RULING: Incorrect procedure. COMMENT: Relay times belong to the school not the athletes who swam the event. Provided that there were other eligible athletes entered in the relay, and state association entry rules permitted, the relay would be allowed to advance. (3-2-3)

SITUATION 4: During the 500-yard freestyle, the lap counter inadvertently dropped the lap counting device into the pool. She takes no further action while the race progresses and makes no attempt to provide a verbal count to the competitor. The lane judge disqualifies the swimmer in that lane from the event and disqualifies the lap counter from her next event. RULING: Incorrect procedure. COMMENT: No violation occurs
when the lap counting device is inadvertently dropped, provided that the lap counter does not enter the pool to retrieve it until after the race is completed and only after securing permission from the referee. (3-4)

SITUATION 5: During the 500-yard freestyle, the lap counter shows something other than the fluorescent orange card for the last turn of the race. The turn judge disqualifies the swimmer in that lane from the event
and disqualifies the lap counter from her next event. RULING: Incorrect procedure. COMMENT: While the fluorescent orange card typically is shown prior to the swimmer’s last turn, it is not a requirement. (3-4)

SITUATION 6: In a dual meet, Swimmer A participates on the winning 200-yard medley relay team and places second in the 200-yard individual medley. Just prior to her 100-yard backstroke race, she is observed by the referee performing a deck change into a different competition suit. The referee immediately disqualifies her from participation in the 100-yard backstroke and 400-yard freestyle events, and also disqualifies the 200-yard medley relay and forfeits her place and participation in the 200-yard individual medley, making adjustments in the placing/scoring for both events. RULING: Incorrect procedure. COMMENT: While the removal of the swimmer from the backstroke and relay events is correct, there is no provision in the penalty for unsporting conduct for nullification of previous performances. However, had this been a preliminaries and finals meet and the infraction had occurred during the preliminaries round, barring Swimmer A from participation in the finals round, including in events for which previously qualified, would be correct. (3-6-1 PENALTY)

SITUATION 7: In the finals of a championship meet, Swimmer A has competed in the 200-yard medley relay and the 200-yard individual medley, scoring points in both events. Just prior to her 100-yard backstroke
finals, she is observed by the referee performing a deck change into a different competition suit. The referee removes her from the backstroke event and also the 400-yard freestyle relay but does not adjust her prior
performances. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: The offending swimmer is removed from the remainder of the meet. In the backstroke event, re-seeding should occur if possible (if the consolation heat has
not already been completed) to fill all lanes. In the relay, her team may compete if an eligible alternate is available to take her place. (3-6-1)

SITUATION 8: Swimmer C, who is competing in the finals of the conference championship meet, completes his event and looks up at the scoreboard and realizes he has won the event in a personal best time. He does a fist pump, shouts “YES!” and slaps the water before turning to congratulate the swimmers in the adjacent lanes. The finish judge raises his arm signaling a disqualification under the conduct rule, arguing that personal celebration is a form of taunting and thus constitutes unsporting conduct. The referee overrules the disqualification. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: NFHS rules define unsporting behavior as making insulting or derogatory remarks, gestures or acts. Celebrating a personal achievement in the manner described does not rise to the level defined. (3-6-1 NOTE)

SITUATION 9: In a championship meet, the referee raises her hand after the second relay exchange in Lane 4 and declares that the feet of Swimmer A-3 left the surface of the block prior to the touch of Swimmer A-2. RULING: Incorrect procedure. COMMENT:Championship meets require the use of dual confirmation relay takeoff judging for which the protocol requires that no signal occur until after the last competitor in the heat is in the water. Only if the side judge and the takeoff judge have recorded the same takeoff violation shall a disqualification occur. (4-6-4)

SITUATION 10: When using electronic relay judging equipment, a relay exchange disqualification is called when the violation is confirmed by one official and the electronic equipment. RULING: Correct Procedure. (4-6-4, Appendix B)

SITUATION 11: In the 200-yard individual medley event, the swimmer, while finishing the backstroke leg, crosses his lead arm across his chest and, in doing so, before the lead hand touches the wall, the shoulders rotate past the vertical plane. An official disqualifies the swimmer for the position of the body during the finish of the leg. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: The position of the body for the backstroke requires that the shoulders do not turn over beyond the vertical plane except while executing a turn. The 200-yard individual medley requires that the swimmer finish each section in accordance with the finish rule that applies to that stroke. (8-2-1b, 8-2-5, 8-2-5 PENALTY)

SITUATION 12: Diver A, performing a dive requiring a forward approach from the starting position, takes two steps followed by a leap and a forward hurdle to the end of the board executed from one foot into the takeoff, which occurs from both feet simultaneously. The diving referee deducts two points from each judge’s score for a violation of the forward approach. RULING: Incorrect procedure. COMMENT: The diver must take three steps, hops, leaps and/or jumps before the culminating hurdle. (9-5-2)


Swimming and Diving Comments on the Rules - 2018-19

By NFHS on July 17, 2018

Rule 1 – Rule 1 has been reorganized and terminology has been added and removed to more accurately reflect and define meet specifications and organization.  The changes provide clarity while also consolidating the terminology used in the rules book.  Also, sections were re-ordered to reflect the order in which rules appear in the NFHS Swimming and Diving rules book.

2-4-5 - New wording clarifies that 16.4-yard/15-meter marks must be visible on both sides of the pool deck.  The 16.4-yard/15-metermarkings may also be integrated into each lane marker/lane line. However, because the position of such floats are often irregular, the marks on the sides of the pool deck are the uniform default marking for all lanes.  

2-7-2b – Backstroke starting ledges are not permitted to be used in high school swimming.  The NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Committee has consistently opposed the use of backstroke starting ledges because of concerns about athlete safety and risk minimization, which is one of the principal responsibilities of the Committee.  

2-7-2c, 2-7-2 NOTE -  Language regarding options for starting platform malfunctions are provided in this new provision and updates have been made with regard to the penalties.  PENALTY 2, which is applied in situations of improper water conditions, was removed because it is not applicable to the subject matter within the rule.  PENALTY 3 verbiage is now contained in Rule 2-7-2c ART. 2c, which provides directives when starting platforms are not secured non-compliant.  PENALTY 1 was moved to a NOTE ART. 3 and describes what occurs when water depth or distance from the starting platforms to the water are non-compliant.  

4-2-1d
 – The pre-meet conference is now a requirement of the referee, the starter, the coach and the captain of each team.  This serves a risk minimization function and promotes positive sporting behavior.   Suggested topics to be covered include sportsmanship, illegal attire, medical issues involving tape, students with a disability, and any general concerns/comments. 

4-5-3, 4-7 – The responsibilities of stroke inspectors and turn/finish judges can now be combined by rule.  When the availability of officials is limited, it is important that the flexibility to staff the deck effectively and efficiently with the available officials is preserved. 

5-1-2a – In non-championship meets, thedivingeventmaybe held first, last or simultaneously with the swimming events, in addition to the traditional placement as Event 5 between the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly.  Allowing for flexibility in conducting the diving event within the dual meet program will permit more options for the competing teams.  Regardless of when the diving event is conducted, there shall be a break of at least 15 minutes, with at least 10 minutes warmup in the water, prior to the 100-yard butterfly.

5-3-2, 5-3-6 NOTE – Section 5-3 has been updated to provide lane and heat assignment protocol in a logical fashion from the dual meet to the championship meet.  This change also clarifies direction for situations in which the number of teams and/or entries cannot be equally divided into the number of available lanes.  Meet hosts should have the responsibility/right of deciding between seeding and leaving lanes open, because that decision affects meet duration and facility constraints.

5-4-2 – New language provides scoring based on pool facilities with different numbers of available lanes.  It clarifies the use of finals and consolation finals heats and provides an opportunity to use more than 6 lanes for each and thus score more than 12 swimmers.  It also stipulates that when both a finals heat and a consolation finals heat are swum, the finals heat is to be full even if doing so leaves only 1 or 2 athletes in the consolation finals heat.

9-4-6 NOTE - The NOTE clarifies that it is permissible to conduct eleven dive competitions during dual meets, double-dual meets, triple-dual meets and other non-championship multi-team meets. This provides additional options for competitors to prepare for tournament series events.


Swimming and Diving Points of Emphasis - 2018-19

By NFHS on July 17, 2018

Suit Coverage
Rule 3-3-1 states all suits shall be of one piece and competitors shall not be permitted to participate wearing a suit that is not of decent appearance.  Boys shall wear suits which cover the buttocks while girls shall wear suits which cover the buttocks and breasts.  If individuals or teams are in violation of this rule, officials are encouraged to contact the head coach of the offending team, rather than the student, requesting that all team members be appropriately equipped with uniforms that meet specified standards.  School administrators and coaches are also asked to be proactive in monitoring their athletes’ compliance with this rule. If the athlete cannot or will not comply with the suit coverage rule, they will be disqualified from events until they are in legal attire. Coaches are encouraged to select team suits that provide appropriate coverage as it pertains to NFHS rules.

Guidelines on Handling Contests During Lightning or Thunder Disturbances
The NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) convened in March 2018 and revised its “Guidelines on Handling Practices and Contests During Lightning or Thunder Disturbances” (see Appendix H).  These revised guidelines provide a model policy for consideration by those responsible or sharing duties for making decisions concerning the suspension and restarting of practices and contests based on the presence of lightning or thunder.

Even though large, substantial buildings containing electrical wiring and plumbing are generally considered as safe, there may still be a potential risk of lightning injury in certain situations indoors. Lightning can enter a building through electrical or telephone wiring and plumbing, which makes locker-room shower areas, swimming pools (indoor and outdoor), landline telephones, and electrical appliances unsafe during thunderstorms because of the potential contact injury. Even if the building is customarily grounded for electricity, lightning is often fast enough and powerful enough to spread and injure someone before the ground fault interrupters or other systems are triggered to protect the person touching any of these systems. Indoor swimming pools are just as dangerous as outdoor pools because lighting, heating, plumbing, and drains used in indoor pools ultimately connect to materials outside the building that can be used to transmit the lightning energy into the building or pool.  If people cannot reach a safer location when thunderstorms are in their area, they should at least avoid the riskiest locations and activities, including elevated places, open areas, tall isolated objects, and being in, on, or at the edge of large bodies of water, including swimming pools, as all of these locations are not lightning safe!  

Remember, The NFHS Guidelines state that activities should be suspended at the first sound of thunder or sighting of lightning and should not be resumed until 30 minutes after the last thunder is heard or lightning is seen.  Host management should have a plan in place regarding inclement weather that includes assignment of a staff member to monitor local weather conditions, development of an evacuation plan, and development of criteria for suspension and resumption of play.  The lightning safety policy should be reviewed annually with all administrators, coaches, officials, and meet personnel.  Student-athletes and their parents should be informed of the lightning policy at the start of each sports season.   A lightning safety policy is only effective if it is enforced.  Everyone should be aware of lightning as a threat, and those who oversee participants, whether they are responsible for health care, are coaches, or meet officials, should be proactive in vacating all student-athletes and spectators to a safer location.

Scratches/Declared False Starts/Failing to Compete
Scratches, declared false starts, and the penalty for failing to compete are applied differently to championship and non-championship meets.  Competitors, once officially entered, shall compete in all races.  In championship meets:
a.    A scratch is the withdrawal of a competitor from the remainder of his/her events in the meet. (1-4-10)

  1. A declared false start is the withdrawal of a competitor from a specific event (1-4-11).  A competitor may withdraw from a preliminary event or final with a declared false start, if submitted to the referee/designee at the specified time and place.  The time and place could be during a pre-competition coaches meeting, at some point prior to the start of the meet, or prior to the start of that specific event.  The designated time and place must be specified in the meet announcement (1-4-7).  The event shall still count as an entry, although it does not disqualify the competitor from further competition.  When a relay team withdraws by a declared false start, the coach shall designate which four swimmers from among the potential participants in the event are charged with an entry.
  2. By state association adoption, an alternate qualifier is one of the next two fastest swimmers/relays after the finalists are designated with the faster of the two being the first alternate qualifier and the next being second alternate qualifier. If a finalist cannot participate, an alternate qualifier may be called to take his/her place.  The process and procedures for moving alternate qualifiers into finals and consolation finals must be specified in the meet announcement. (1-4-7)  
  3. A competitor who fails to compete in an event in which he/she has officially entered, shall be disqualified from further competition unless the failure to compete is due to a medical reason certified by an appropriate medical professional and declared to the referee in advance of the event. The competitor shall not be disqualified from events for which he/she has previously qualified. (3-2-2 PENALTY 3)

In non-championship meets:
A competitor who fails to compete in an event in which he/she has officially entered, shall be disqualified from that event only. (3-2-2 PENALTY 2)

Officials Recruitment and Retention
High school swimming needs dedicated men and women to become involved so that the sport can continue to prosper for years to come.  Administrators, coaches, and officials are encouraged to reach out to local graduating seniors, area college students, retiring coaches, and/or officials who are licensed in other sports to recruit new individuals as prospective swimming and diving officials.


In August 2016, each state association administrator responsible for swimming and diving received a memo from the NFHS office regarding an editorial change that was made to Rule 3-3-2c for the 2016-17 NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Book.  The change clarifies that a single visible manufacturer’s logo/trademark/reference, no more than 2-1/4 square inches with no dimension more than 2-1/4 inches is permitted on each item of the uniform.  The underlined phrase that was added to the rule had been inadvertently omitted in a previous edition of the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Book.   

 

It has come to our attention that at least one manufacturer was not notified about the editorial change in a timely manner.  While their current manufacturer’s logo meets the size specifications listed in the above rule for the 2015-16 season, it does not meet Rule 3-3-2c criteria including the editorial change that was made for the 2016-17 season.  Therefore, the NFHS will provide a one year extension concerning the size restrictions relative to the manufacturer’s logo.  To reiterate, a single visible manufacturer’s logo/trademark/reference, no more than 2-1/4 square inches is permitted on each item of the uniform through the 2016-17 season. 

 

Please inform your constituents of this change, as there may some swimsuits that do not meet newly revised NFHS logo size requirements for 2016-17. The logo must be measured when the swimsuit or cap is not being worn.  

If you have any questions, please contact our offices.


Kim Y. Adams

Assistant to the Directors of Sports and Sports Medicine

National Federation of State High School Associations

PO Box 690 | Indianapolis, IN 46206

(317) 972-6900


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 tshafranski@wiaawi.org.

Tom Shafranski, WIAA
Assistant Director

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

 

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