Rules & Regulations


Rules & Regulations

Pool Markings Focal Point for 2022-23


Pool Markings Focal Point of 2022-23 High School

Swimming and Diving Rules Changes


INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 19, 2022) — A collection of new markings for pool facilities constructed or renovated after January 1, 2023, stands out among the high school swimming and diving rules changes approved for the 2022-23 school year.

The markings, placed in a Table within Rule 2-4, were the most notable of the three rules changes brought forth by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Swimming and Diving Rules Committee, which held its annual meeting March 20-22 at the Conrad Hotel in downtown Indianapolis. The NFHS Board of Directors accepted all three rule change submissions.

The table includes four new measurements that constitute changes of the width of the line along the pool bottom, longer cross lines, shorter end wall targets below the water, and an exact listing for the distance between the end of the line on the pool bottom and the end wall.

The width of that line can now be anywhere from 8 to 12 inches rather than the previous range of 10 to 12 inches. The cross line has been extended from 36 inches to 3 feet, 4 inches (1 meter); the end wall targets below the water have been reduced from 3 feet, 6 inches to 3 feet, 4 inches (1 meter); and the space between the end of the pool line and the end wall should now be 6 feet, 7 inches (2 meters).

“Nationally recognized standards for newly constructed or renovated facilities after January 1, 2023, provides consistency for high school swimming,” said Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Committee. “Facilities constructed prior to this date will remain in compliance in accordance with current specifications and will not require prior mutual consent of the competing teams unless state association regulations determine otherwise.”

Updated dimensions pertaining to the non-slip surface on the end wall were written into Rule 2-3-1. In addition to reaching 0.8 meters (2 feet, 7½ inches) below the water level, the non-slip surface should also extend at least 2 inches above the water beginning with the 2022-23 season. Additional new language in Rule 2-3-1 reads: “for pools constructed or renovated after January 1, 2023, it is recommended the end walls extend no less than 0.8 meters (2 feet 7½ inches) below and no more than 0.3 meters (12 inches) above the water surface.

Finally, an editorial change was made to Rule 2-4-4, as it no longer includes the information referencing end wall height above the water now found in Rule 2-3-1.

A complete listing of the swimming and diving rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Swimming and Diving.”

According to the most recent NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, swimming and diving is the 10th-most popular sport for boys with 136,638 participants in 7,704 schools, and the eighth-most popular sport for girls with 173,088 participants in 8,007 schools

2022-23 NFHS Rules Changes

Swimming and Diving Rules Changes - 2022-23

By NFHS on April 20, 2022 


2-3-1, 2-4-4Moves all language from referencing end wall height Rule 2-3-1 and establishes new nationally recognized standards for newly constructed or renovated facilities after January 1, 2023.
Rationale: The new specifications provide consistency for high school swimming and adheres to national trends. 

2-4 Table: Establishes new nationally recognized standards for newly constructed or renovated facilities after January 1, 2023.     
Rationale: The new specifications provide consistency for high school swimming and adheres to national trends. 

2-7-2b, 2-7-3, 3-4 PENALTY, 4-2-2e, 6-5-3, 7-2-4, 8-1-3 PENALTY 2, 8-3-2 NOTE, 9-7-5 NOTE 


  1. Sportsmanship
  2. Diving Announcer Error
  3. Relay Entries
  4. Provide Deck Space for Officials
  5. Diving Area Safety 

2021-22 NFHS Rule Interpretations


Swimming and Diving Rule Interpretations - 2021-22

By NFHS on July 28, 2021 


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 © 2021

The following two situations are clarifications to situations added to the Swimming and Diving Rules Book: 

9.5.2 SITUATION E: Diver A is performing a dive requiring a forward approach. (a) Prior to assuming the starting position, the diver declares to the referee that the dive will be performed with a standing forward takeoff. Once the dive is performed, the diving referee declares a violation of the forward approach and deducts two points from each judge’s score. (b) The diver performs the dive from a standing forward takeoff with no declaration. The diving referee instructs the judging panel to score not more than two points for an unsatisfactory dive. RULING: (a) and (b) Correct procedure. COMMENT: If the diver does not declare the standing forward takeoff, the dive shall be considered unsatisfactory. If the diver declares a forward standing takeoff, two points are deducted from each judge’s score. The referee has discretion in establishing the manner in which the declaration is made. (9-3-7)

9.6.4 SITUATION C: During the second round of diving competition, the announcer reads Diver A’s third listed dive, which the diver then performs. The error is discovered upon completion of the dive. The referee instructs the scorer to enter the awards for the dive that was performed adjacent to that dive’s listing in round three of the competition (9-6-4). In round three, the announcer is instructed to announce Diver A’s second listed dive with the scores for that dive to be entered adjacent to that dive’s listing in round two. RULING:Correct procedure. In this instance, the diver is not penalized for performing the dives out of order (9- 7-5a). No penalty is imposed for the officials’ error, which can be rectified by a simple clerical adjustment. COMMENT: The diving referee’s discretion is broad but may be limited based on when the error occurs. The objective is to place the minimal burden necessary on the diver. 

SITUATION 1: Prior to the start of the heat/long whistle, the starter/referee notices that the swimmer in Lane 3 is wearing a suit with an illegally oversized manufacturer’s logo. The official notifies the coach who indicates that the swimmer is not able to make an immediate adjustment. The official permits the swimmer to participate in the heat and disqualifies the swimmer upon completion of the race. RULING: Incorrect procedure COMMENT: If discovered prior to the start of the heat/race, and if a swimmer is unable to make immediate correction of the problem, the swimmer shall not be permitted to compete in that race, shall be disqualified from that event, and shall be charged with that event as one of the swimmer’s two individual events. (3-3-2)

SITUATION 2: Swimmer A comes to the blocks wearing a full-body suit including tight head covering that captures all but her face. She indicates that this attire is required by her religious convictions. The referee, noting the apparent compression provided by the suit and assuming a competitive advantage, disqualifies Swimmer A and advises her that she may not compete until she alters her attire to make it legal. RULING: Incorrect procedure. When a swimmer cites religious reasons for wearing a suit as described, the official must permit the swimmer to compete. If the official has concerns about the attire, the official must report those to the state association. (3-3-5)

SITUATION 3: During the 500-yard freestyle, the team member designated as lap counter for Lane 5 (a) is shouting splits to the Lane 5 swimmer; (b) is encouraging the Lane 5 swimmer to “pick it up”; (c) tells the Lane 5 swimmer, “you’ve got to catch Lane 4.” The referee disqualifies the Lane 5 swimmer in all three instances. RULING: Incorrect procedure. In (a), the swimmer can easily see his/her splits on the scoreboard and is thus not assisted improperly by the lap counter. In (b) and (c), the counter is providing no physical assistance to the swimmer and is behaving appropriately. COMMENT: “Aid” to the swimmer requires some sort of physical action that creates a competitive advantage. (3-4)

SITUATION 4: Timing results are being displayed to thousandths of a second. The referee instructs the scorekeeper to record times to hundredths only and utilize a rounding procedure so that times displaying 5-thousandths or higher are recorded with hundredths rounded up to the next digit. RULING: Incorrect procedure. All official times are stated to hundredths only; any times displayed to thousandths are adjusted ONLY by dropping the thousandths digit. (6-2-2)

SITUATION 5: A diver performs 302C using an undeclared standing forward takeoff. In the process of performing the dive, a balk is committed. Upon completion of the dive, the referee instructs the scorer that the score for the dive is zero. RULING: Correct procedure. The diver’s undeclared standing forward takeoff reduces the score to a maximum of two points (unsatisfactory dive); the balk further reduces the score by two points, resulting in no score. This is NOT considered to be a failed dive for purposes of implementing Rule 9-8-3. COMMENT: Other examples of zero-sum dives include failing to come out of a somersault after committing a balk, doing a dive clearly in the wrong position on an undeclared standing forward takeoff, balking and then hitting the board, or failing to come out of a twist with a balk or undeclared standing forward takeoff. (9-3-7)

2022-23 Comments on the Rules

Swimming and Diving Comments on the Rules - 2022-23

By NFHS on April 20, 2022 

2-3-1, 2-4-4, 2-4 Table
All language addressing end wall height is now located in Rule 2-3-1. Nationally recognized standards for newly constructed or renovated facilities after January 1, 2023, provides consistency for high school swimming. Facilities constructed prior to this date will remain in compliance in accordance with current specifications and will not require prior mutual consent of the competing teams unless state association regulations determine otherwise. After January 1, 2023, pools undergoing renovation or repair that makes repainting or replacing of tile feasible, should utilize the updated pool markings. Because “old” and “new” pools will be marked differently, it is important that one aspect of warm up include becoming aware of where the markings are in relationship to the end walls so that competitors are able to turn safely.

2022-23 Points of Emphasis

Swimming and Diving Points of Emphasis - 2022-23

By NFHS on April 20, 2022 


Good sporting behavior is one of the fundamental ingredients to the continued success and enjoyment of education-based high school sports and activities. In fact, in the 103-year history of organized high school sports in the United States, good sportsmanship has been one of the most important outcomes of high school activity programs. NFHS playing rules are written to encourage sportsmanship. Participation in these programs should promote respect, integrity and sportsmanship. However, for these ideals to occur, everyone involved in these programs must be doing their part. The NFHS is concerned that unsporting behavior in education-based athletics has increased across all sports. As a result, the NFHS has made sportsmanship the No. 1 Point of Emphasis for the 2022-23 school year. Sportsmanship, or good sporting behavior, is about treating one another with respect and exhibiting appropriate behavior. It is about being fair, honest and caring. When these types of appropriate behavior occur, competitive play is more enjoyable for everyone. Coaches set the tone at athletic contests with their display of sportsmanship. If these individuals act in a sportsmanlike manner, their behavior sets the tone for players, spectators and others. If coaches, however, are complaining constantly about the decision of contest officials, spectators are more likely to do the same. There must be a collaborative, working relationship between contest officials and game administration to promote good sportsmanship and safely conduct the contest. Everyone has their roles to play in creating a positive, sportsmanlike atmosphere at contests. Officials should focus on the actions of players, coaches and other bench/sideline personnel. A positive, open line of communication between officials and coaches ultimately results in a better contest for everyone involved. Contest officials, however, should never engage with spectators who are exhibiting unsporting behavior. Once the contest begins, school administration is responsible for dealing with unruly spectators. A proactive approach by school administration includes monitoring the behavior of spectators and intervening as needed. If spectators are using demeaning or profane language at officials – or at others in the stands – those individuals should be removed from the contest by school administration. In recent years, a heightened level of unsportsmanlike behavior has been occurring by spectators at high school sporting events, and it must be stopped. The use of demeaning language, or hate speech, by students, parents and other fans must cease. High school sports and other activities exist to lift people up, not demean or tear people down. The goal is to treat everyone fairly and treat each other with respect. Any speech or harassment that is insulting, demeaning or hurtful will not be tolerated. High schools must establish a culture that values the worth of every single person – both players on the school’s team and players on the opposing team. There must be a no-tolerance policy regarding behavior that shows disrespect for another individual. Good sports win with humility, lose with grace and do both with dignity. It takes the efforts of everyone every day to ensure that sportsmanship remains one of the top priorities in education-based activity programs.

Diving Announcer Error
Announcer errors occur most frequently in dual meets but may occur in championship meets as well. When errors do occur, they should be corrected to prevent divers from being penalized by doing dives that they are not prepared for, or repeating dives already performed. In all cases the diver should be given time to be properly prepared to perform the dive. When an announcer error occurs:

(a)   during a dual meet or a championship format meet without cuts, the diver performs the dive announced and chooses to accept the scores. The referee should instruct the table to record scores for the dive actually performed and in the appropriate round on the scoresheet. The dive that was not performed will then become the next dive and the rest of the dives will be performed in the appropriate order. Additionally, the announcer and table should note the adjustments on the scoresheet; 
(b) during a championship meet which includes cuts, when the diver chooses to accept the scores, the referee should verify that acceptance will not create a violation of a legal order of dives, causing an unfair competitive advantage (and possibly result in a penalty in a later round). Before allowing the diver to accept the scores the referee needs to check the diver’s list to verify that no rules are being violated. Changes can be made if both dives occur in the prelims, both occur in the semifinals, or if both occur in the finals without creating a penalty; 
(c)   if accepting the scores will cause a violation of the NFHS Championship meet dive order, or the diver does not accept the scores, or the dive announced was not written on the score sheet, the announcer shall announce the correct dive and the diver shall perform that dive when they have  had proper time to prepare. A referee should never allow a change that will result in penalties later in the meet. Within these limitations, the diving referee has broad discretion to assure the least possible negative impact upon the diver for the official’s error.

Relay Entries
A competitor becomes a participant in an event when the official entry card is delivered to the meet director, or designee, at a specified time and place. For relays, eight individuals may be designated, if the state association requires.  The penalty for submitting an inaccurate entry card, one that does not bear the name of the event, coach’s signature, school name, and submitted time if one exists, is disqualification from the event. Four swimmers declared on the relay card, submitted at the designated time and place prior to the start of the event, are permitted to report to the blocks and compete. The coach shall submit the name of the lead-off swimmer at the specified time and place prior to the start of the event, although there is no penalty for incorrectly listing that name. There is no NFHS mandate to list the order of swimmers, which is not a required part of the entry process. 

Provide Deck Space for Officials
NFHS swimming and diving officials work in swimming facilities with a wide variety of pool configurations which sometimes necessitate creative ways to officiate strokes. Schools are reminded of the importance of officials to be provided space on the deck that allows for free movement during the swimming event. It is recommended that a minimum of 3 feet be established for officials on the deck. In addition, adequate space should be provided for coaches and competitors to safely move about on deck. The referee shall determine the positioning and jurisdiction of all deck officials, which depend on the number of officials being used and the pool configuration. Officials may need to ask meet management for assistance in keeping a clear path to move up and down the sides and ends of the pool.

Diving Area Safety
Rule 9-1-1 states the diving pool may be separate from or part of the swimming pool and the following standards for clearance are recommended for one-meter diving, with the measurement from the center of board to pool side wall a distance of 10 feet. Risk minimization and athlete safety should be a high priority. Divers, by rule are required to dive in front of the diving board and judges are instructed to reduce scores accordingly when they fail to do so. In addition, it is recommended that facilities management and officials remove any obstacles that may pose a risk (lane lines, backstroke flags, other athletes, etc.) as best practices and to minimize risk.

2021-22 NFHS Swimming and Diving Uniform Rules

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:

  1. 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 legal attire;
  2. 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 legal attire.


ART. 3 . . . The uniform consists of a suit and, if worn, cap(s).

  1. The suit or cap(s) may display the competitor's name, school name, school nickname and/or the school logo.
  2. Advertising or name other than that permitted in 3‐3‐3c is prohibited.
  3. A single visible manufacturer's logo/trademark/reference, no more thansquare inches with no dimension morethan inches is permitted on each item of the uniform .
  4. 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:

  1. Only one suit shall be permitted in competition. (A swimmer with special needs may request forcustomization to the state association through his/ her school.)
  2. The suit shall be:
    1. constructed of a woven/knit textile material;
    2. permeable (100 percent to air and water), except for one post‐construction, impermeable school name and/or logo which shall not exceed 9 square inches.
    3. made so as not to aid in buoyancy and shall not be altered to aid in buoyancy;
    4. 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); and

     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:

    1. 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;
    2. 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 . . . For religious reasons, suits providing full-body coverage are permitted. The suit must meet requirements of 3-3-4b(1-3). If a competitor’s suit does not meet rule specifications, the referee must notify the state association following the completion of the contest.

ART. 6 . . . 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;

c.    Divers may wear tape or wraps for support and may also use temporarily applied adhesives.

d.   Tape may be used by a swimmer to treat a documented medical condition. The referee must be presented signed 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.

ART. 7 . . . Prior to the meet, the coach shall verify with the meet referee that all competitors are legally attired.

NOTE: Religious and medical-alert medals are not required to be taped to the body. It is recommended the medical alert itself is visible to assist in care by a health-care professional.

NFHS Rule 3-3-2b(2) Clarification

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

Rules Related Materials

WI Adaptations to NFHS Rules

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

NFHS Rule 8-3-4c Clarification


Swimmer two in the 200 freestyle relay started with one foot behind the wedge and one foot in front of the wedge, stepping over the wedge with her back foot as she moved forward for a legal relay exchange. The wedge was 2/3 of the way to the back on the block.  Neither foot was on the wedge and both feet were on the surface of the starting block.  Rule 8-3-4c, page 68, does not seem to prohibit this action.  But some of our officials thought it was an unsafe act, and therefore should result in disqualification.  According to the girl who did this at our clinic, it was allowed at the state USA (club) meet.  Because were use NFHS rules, that don't address this action, is it legal?



Starting wedges are permitted by rule 2.7.2. Relay exchanges are governed by rule 8.3.   8.3.4 provides that moving from the back to the front of the starting platform is permitted.  8.3.4 c requires the swimmers in relay starts to have at least one foot in contact with the surface of the starting platform in front of the wedge during takeoff.

While the use of wedges may be unsafe, the rules permit wedges to be installed. There is no rule prohibiting the movement of the contestant from the back to the front of the starting platform during relay exchanges/starts.

There are many risky components in a swim and dive meet. Use of starting platforms may be considered ‘high risk’ in some one’s opinion. We don’t prohibit use of these platforms since the rules provide for its use.

While risk minimization is paramount in high school sports, we permit coaches and athletes to determine the safest practices in the pool arena. 

We cannot prohibit use of starting platforms or wedges that are allowed by rule. 

USA Swim Info

Submission of Times - Observed HS Swim Meet

Please email Sara Lanholt for information