Girls Swimming & Diving - Rules & Regulations

Rules and Regulations

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

Tom Shafranski, WIAA
Assistant Director

1-5-2, 3-6-1d: Deck changing has been defined as changing into or out of a swimsuit when wearing just one suit in an area other than a permanent or temporary locker room, bathroom, changing room or other space designated for changing purposes.  Incidents of deck changing will result in the assessment of an unsporting behavior penalty.

Rationale: High school athletes should not be changing into or out of swimsuits except in designated changing areas.

6-4-1b:  The protocol for determining an official time when a touch pad malfunctions on a lane was changed. Backup buttons and/or watch times, as outlined in the protocol, will now determine the official time. 

Rationale:  Research indicates that the current practice of calculating the average difference between the automatic and backup timing systems, and adjusting the backup time in the malfunctioning lane(s) does not improve the accuracy of the final time.  Utilizing backup times without adjustment results in a final time that is just as accurate and avoids an exercise which is both time-consuming and difficult to perform during a meet.

8-2-4c: The final leg of the individual medley and the medley relay requires the swimmer to be at or past vertical toward the breast before any stroke, kick or propulsive motion.

Rationale: This language clarifies the required body position during the final leg of the individual medley and the medley relay.

9-4 Table: The Flying Back 1 SS (212) and the Flying Reverse 1 SS (312) have been removed from the NFHS Diving Table, while new dive (5142) has been added.

Rationale: The added dive is an intermediate step to performing more difficult dives listed on the diving table.

9-5-5: The balk has been more clearly defined and should be called when a diver assumes the starting position and he/she makes an obvious attempt to start the approach or press, and stops the continuous execution of the dive prior to the water entry.

Rationale:  This rule change adds clarity and consistency to the balk call, requiring a diver to actually commence, then stop the dive.

9-7-5q: When using the forward approach, a dive is failed if, in the diving referee’s opinion, the diver performs an additional bounce(s) on the end of the board after the culminating hurdle.

Rationale: The forward approach shall begin with not less than three steps and finish with a hurdle, defined as a jump off one foot to a landing on both feet at the end of the board.  The diver should not be permitted to do an additional bounce prior to the take-off.   

2016-17  Major Editorial Changes

3-3-2c, 3-6-1 NOTE

2016-17  Points of Emphasis

1. Backstroke ledge - The backstroke ledge is currently prohibited in high school competition. High school swimmers will vary in skill levels, from those who are beginners to those who have extensive experience. The swimmers who are less experienced will demonstrate a wider variance in their ability to control their trajectory and depth when performing a backstroke start. Additional information is needed to determine whether the use of the backstroke ledge poses an increased risk to a high school swimmer performing a backstroke start.

2. Swimsuit fastening systems - Swimsuits that use a “fastening system” for closure, such as the tie back suit, are not permitted during competition. Rule 3-3-3b(4) states that the suit shall be 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 openings).

3. Designated areas for photographers - Guidelines for photographer access should be clearly defined prior to the swimming and diving event. It is recommended that state associations and event hosts consider the areas, and specifically the angles, for photography of swimmers that they consider appropriate/inappropriate and set reasonable guidelines.  Due to swimmer attire and the starting positions in the sport, media access in the starting area may not be fitting. If a designated media area is used, it should be established before the meet begins.  It may be more appropriate for photographers to be limited to areas adjacent to the starting area (starting area is defined as that behind the blocks). When there is not a designated area for press/media or others, photographers can be limited to taking photos from the side and/or the end of the competition pool.

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 © 2015

Corrections to Rules Book: (Underlining shows additions; strikethrough shows deletions.)

Page 68, 8.3.8 SITUATION C, Ruling: Correct Incorrect procedure.

SITUATION 1: The visiting team’s locker room was destroyed by a fire the night before the meet, and there is no other facility at the pool in which the visiting team can change into their competition attire. The host school uses large towels and other equipment to create a private space on the deck, where the visiting swimmers change into their suits. The referee disqualifies the entire team for “deck changing” and declares the meet forfeited to the home team. RULING: Incorrect procedure. When circumstances arise that prevent the use of locker rooms or similar facilities, the use of a temporary facility meets the requirements of Rules 1-5-2 and 3-6-1d.

SITUATION 2: A parent reports to the referee that visiting team swimmers are “deck changing” behind the seating area/bleachers that block the referee’s view of that space, and points out two swimmers who were involved. The referee, without further inquiry, disqualifies the swimmers from further participation in the meet, including all events for which the competitors previously qualified. RULING: Incorrect procedure. The referee must observe the “deck changing” in order to apply the unsporting behavior penalty. (3-6-1d)

SITUATION 3: A diver submits a dive sheet with dive 212 (flying back 1 SS). RULING: Illegal. A diver can only list and perform those dives listed on the diving table. If the sheet is not corrected prior to the start of competition, the dive will be scored as a failed dive. (9-4-7, 9-7-5p)

SITUATION 4: A swimmer is observed wearing a swimsuit during warmups containing a manufacturer’s logo that appears to exceed 2¼ square inches. RULING: The size of the manufacturer’s logo on the swimsuit shall be measured off the swimmer’s body. If that measurement exceeds 2¼ square inches in any dimension, the swimsuit is illegal and the swimmer will be directed to replace the swimsuit before he/she swims again.

SITUATION 5: Upon arrival at the host school, the visiting head coach approaches the meet referee and presents a letter from the state association permitting the swimmer to start in the water because of a physical disability. The referee allows the accommodation to be made. RULING: Correct procedure. (3-3-4 NOTE). However, it is not necessary to have state association approval for an in-water start; the referee may permit this on his/her own authority (8-1-1 NOTE). As a matter of practice, such requests should always be granted by the referee.

SITUATION 6: To signal the last lap, during the 500-yard/400-meter freestyle, the lap counter changes to the number “29” instead of the fluorescent orange card. The official disqualifies the swimmer and charges the lap counter with unsporting conduct. RULING:Incorrect procedure. COMMENT: Neither the use of the lap counter nor the fluorescent orange card to indicate the final length of the race is required; further signaling the number “29” would not rise to the level of unsporting conduct.

SITUATION 7: When performing a forward approach, the diver bounces on the board three times after the culminating hurdle and completes a 101A. The diving referee fails the dive. RULING: Correct procedure. A dive is failed if, in the opinion of the diving referee, the diver performs an additional bounce(s) after the culminating hurdle. (9-7-5q)

SITUATION 8: On a back dive, the diver assumes the starting position, initiates the dive, but loses his balance and uses his arms to regain his equilibrium while continuing to oscillate the board. The diver does not completely stop the dive, however, and completes the performance. The diving referee does not make any comment to the judges following the completion of the dive. RULING: Correct procedure. The progress of the dive did not actually stop after the diver initiated the dive. (9-5-5) The diving judges could plausibly conclude that the performance is deficient under 9-7-3a, which is a judge’s discretionary call and not subject to diving referee direction. Certainly, such a performance would need to be considered as part of 9-7-1.

SITUATION 9: During the pre-meet warm-up, a swimmer is observed wearing a tie-back swimsuit. The meet referee notifies the swimmer’s coach that while the swimmer may wear the suit during warm-ups, she may not compete wearing this suit. RULING: Correct procedure. Swimsuits that use a fastening system for closure, such as the tie-back suit, are not permitted during competition. (Points of Emphasis 2, page 90, 3-3-3b(4))

SITUATION 10: During the pre-meet warm-up, the meet referee observes a swimmer who is wearing a swimsuit that does not adequately cover all required parts of the body. The referee confers with the starter, who confirms the problem and then notifies the swimmer’s coach, asking that the situation be corrected. RULING: Correct procedure. It is recommended to address the issue with the swimmer’s coach rather than directly approaching the swimmer. The official should state what was observed, and indicate that the swimmer may not wear the suit during competition unless it complies with Rule 3-3-1.

SITUATION 11: During the final leg of the 200-yard medley relay, the swimmer pushes off the wall on his back, but rolls onto his stomach before any propulsive motion is made. The referee disqualifies the swimmer because he does not push off the wall toward his breast and his feet leave the wall while he is still on his back. RULING: Incorrect procedure. Provided the swimmer is at or past vertical toward the breast before the first kick, stroke or propulsive motion, the turn is considered legal. (8-2-4c)

SITUATION 12: During the 200-yard freestyle relay, the second, third and fourth swimmers move the wedge to the forward edge of the block so that when the incoming swimmer touches the wall, the swimmer is taking off from the top of the wedge rather than the starting block surface. RULING: Illegal. The top front edge of the starting platform shall be no more than 30 inches above the water level and flush with the pool end wall. The wedge may not be moved to the front of the block as it would then cause the block to exceed the maximum height above the water. (2-7-2b)

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


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Wisconsin Interscholastic
Athletic Association
5516 Vern Holmes Drive
Stevens Point, WI 54482-8833
Phone (715) 344-8580
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