Pool Depth Among Swimming And Diving Rules Changes

 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 16, 2004) — Much work has been done over the past several years by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Swimming and Diving Rules Committee in order to minimize risks for swimmers, particularly when a starting platform is used. This year’s annual meeting, held April 4-5 in Indianapolis, Indiana, held fast to this focus.

 

The most important change, made to Rule 2-7-2, now requires the minimum water depth (4 feet) for racing starts to be measured from a distance of 3 feet, 3½ inches (1 meter) to 15 feet, 5 inches (5 meters) from the end wall when starting platforms are used. The committee’s intent is to ensure that swimmers using a racing start from a starting platform enter the water at a point where it is at least 4 feet deep.

 

“Anytime you have a student-athlete diving into water less than 4 feet deep, it poses a risk,” said Cynthia Doyle, NFHS assistant director and liaison to the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Committee. “We want to minimize the risk at the point of entry.” 

 

In a major rule change pertaining to the individual medley event, Rule 8-2-5 now states that each section of the individual medley must be finished in accordance with the rule which applies to the style concerned. The current rule states that swimmers in the individual medley may complete each section of the race with a turn; however, with this change, swimmers will end that stroke section in the same manner as if it were the end of a race involving that stroke, Doyle said.

 

Over the past few years, the committee has discussed this rule at length in response to a number of proposals from coaches, officials and state associations.  These proposals have emerged, in great part, because of confusion in administering an event that involves all four competitive strokes.

 

“With this rule change, we hope to make finishes for the student-athlete more efficient, while making judging more consistent from the official’s standpoint as well,” Doyle said.

 

Further refining and simplifying relay entry procedures, a change to Rule 3-2-5 states that a coach must submit the name of the leadoff swimmer for a relay event to the referee or the referee designee. Other than the lead swimmer, the racing order does not have to be designated.

 

In the past, Doyle said the exact lineup of swimmers had to be submitted on a relay card prior to the race. Now, names of all swimmers must still be present, but officials need not be concerned with the order, so long as the lead swimmer is listed correctly.

 

“This is because in some states, the lead swimmer may qualify for a record in his or her leg of the race,” Doyle said.

Another rules change, targeted toward pools constructed after June 2004, was made to Rule 2-7-5, stating that the proper distance for placement of backstroke flags for 25-yard pools is five yards, and for 25-meter pools, the proper placement is five meters from the end walls of the pool.

 

Now that new pools are being set up to swim both yards and meters, there has been confusion on exactly where to place the backstroke flags when meter races are swum.  This change brings consistency among all swimming rules codes, so that facility modifications are not needed when pools are used for collegiate or club activities.

 

A change to Rule 6-4-1 assigns responsibility to the referee for determining the need for integration of backup times if there is a malfunction of the primary timing system. If a backup time is integrated, the backup time must be adjusted for the timing system difference before integrating it with the accurate primary times.

 

Two additional rules changes dealt with dual confirmation. Originally, Rules 4-6-2 and 4-6-3 allowed dual confirmation only in championship meets. The change to Rule 4-6-2 permits dual confirmation to be used in all meets if there are enough officials present, and the change to Rule 4-6-3 recommends dual confirmation in relay races.

 

An adjustment made to Rules 1-3-15 and 1-3-16 defines a dive as beginning when the diver assumes a starting position and ending when the diver has passed below the surface of the water. This definition is necessary for officials to help clarify non-technical related infractions and specifies that which has been implicit in Rule 9 for several years. 

 

Swimming and diving is the eighth-most popular sport for girls at the high school level with 141,468 student-athletes participating in 6,120 different schools, according to the 2002-03 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS. On the boys side, it is 10th in popularity with 94,612 participants in 5,588 schools.

 

 

2004-05 Swimming and Diving Rules Changes

 

1-3-15 & 16            Define a dive as beginning when the diver assumes a starting position and ending when the diver has passed below the surface of the water.

Rationale: Athletes and officials needed the NFHS to define the beginning and end of a swim/dive to help clarify when to address non-technical related infractions.

 

Rule 2                     The NFHS does not perform scientific tests on any specific items of equipment to determine if the equipment poses undue risks to student-athletes, coaches, officials or spectators.  Such determinations are the responsibility of equipment manufacturers. 

 

2-7-2                       When starting platforms are used, the minimum water depth for racing starts shall be measured from a distance 3’3 ½” (1 meter) to 15’5” (5 meters) from the end wall.

Rationale: The intent of the committee is not to have swimmers using a racing start from starting platforms to enter water less than 4 feet deep. This change requires a 4 foot minimum depth of water at the point of entry. 

 

2-7-5                       Proper distance for placement of backstroke flags for 25 yard pools is 5 yards, and for 25 meter pools is 5 meters.

Rationale: New pools are set-up to swim both yards and meters, and there is confusion on exactly where to set the backstroke flags when meter races are swum. Pools constructed prior to June 2004 are not required to move flags.

 

3-2-5                       For relay events in all meets, the coach shall submit to the referee or the referee’s designee, the name of the lead off swimmer for the relay, not later than the conclusion of the race.

Rationale:  Other than the lead swimmer, an order does not have to be designated.

 

4-6-2                       Dual confirmation may be used for all meets.

Rationale: Currently, the rule only allows dual confirmation for championship meets.  This change and a change to Rule 4-6-3 would allow dual confirmation at meets other than championship meets, if there are a sufficient number of officials present.

 

4-6-3                       Dual confirmation is recommended for relays.

Rationale: Currently, the rule does not allow dual confirmation to be used for anything other than championship meets.  This change and a change to Rule 4-6-2 would allow dual confirmation to be used at meets other than championship meets, if there are a sufficient number of officials present.

 

6-4-1                       When the referee determines there is a malfunction of the primary timing system, and determines the need for integrated back-up times, the back up times(s) shall be adjusted for the timing system difference before integrating them with the accurate primary times and determining the official times and order of finish.

Rationale: The referee must determine the need for integrated back up times.

 

8-2-5                       In the individual medley, each section must be finished in accordance with the rule which applies to the style concerned.

Rationale: High school athletes are less likely to have an infraction if the end of each section of the i.m. is like the end of a race. Consistency at the end of the section and the end of the race are easier to officiate.