Decision Made in ‘Boys Competing with Girls’ Issue in Mass HS Swimming

Update: The MIAA reversed its decision, after hearing concerns, and plans to hold both a boys’ and a girls’ tournament indefinitely.

The MIAA, which is the governing body for high school athletics in the state of Massachusetts, has finally come to a decision regarding the fall championship season in late 2011 that caused a national uproar when the country learned that boys were competing in, and breaking records for, girls’ swim meets.

The issue stemmed from the longstanding interpretation of the MIAA that if one gender is not offered a certain sport during a season by their school, then that sport must be offered as a coed program.

In swimming, there are currently two seasons in Massachusetts: one winter (boys & girls is offered) and one fall (girls only).

But the MIAA, to alleviate the obvious downfalls of having boys and girls compete in an individual sport, have ruled that for the next three years (2012, 2013, and 2014) that both boys’ and girls’ swimming will be offered in the fall. Beginning in 2015-2016, the fall season will be completely eliminated, and only a winter season will be offered.

From one perspective, this is the easy decision. If you offer both boys and girls seasons simlutaneously, you don’t run in to the same issues. Fundamentally, however, this alters high school swimming in the state. With limited pool space available, and a northern climate causing a high cost for indoor pools, this could choke the state’s teams of valuable training space.

Ultimately, this was the only smart decision that could be made.

As for the matter of the boy who broke a girls’ regional meet record in the 50 free, the MIAA has previously stated that those issues will be left up to the meet directors, given that the MIAA doesn’t keep those records (the meet directors do).

The e-mail sent last night outlining the decision is below.

TO:         MIAA Swimming & Diving Committee Members
The MIAA Swimming & Diving Sub-Committee met today, Monday, February 27, 2012 at the MIAA Office.  After much discussion and deliberation, the sub-committee voted in favor (4) and opposed (2) to bring the following recommendation to the full MIAA Swimming & Diving Committee at our Thursday, April 12th spring meeting.
For the next three years (2012, 2013, 2014), we will sponsor both a Boys’ and Girls’ Fall Swimming & Diving Tournament.  Effective with the 2015-16 school year, ALL swimming & diving will be moved to the Winter Season.
Please discuss within your districts and be prepared to bring that information to our spring meeting.
Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 years ago

Think that’s the best they could’ve done. Like you mentioned, it’s gonna be tough to wrangle pool time for everybody in the winter…but at least that’s three years away.

8 years ago

OK yeah, so after some consideration, I’m convinced this is the wrong move. Just go back to what the ideal goal of letting boys swim with girls was / should have been – allowing more kids to participate in swimming. The ramifications of this decision will have the opposite effect – not only will dozens of high school teams either drop swimming or have significantly fewer members (pre-dawn practices’ll do that to people) but youth teams are also going to face an even bigger pool space crunch. Keeping everything as it is now, but either keeping boys results separate from the girls at championship meets or adding boys heats serves both purposes – won’t have a boy as girl’s state… Read more »

8 years ago

Addendum – Do paragraph breaks not work anymore? I had that comment broken up; that block of text looks terrible.


About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »