The NFHS swimming and diving committee had a relatively quiet session during their meeting on March 28-30 in Indianapolis, especially compared to last year’s rules changes that included overhauling the suit regulations. The biggest changes were to diving rules that were designed to bring more safety and standardization to competitions.
Many of the diving changes were administrative, such as an amendment to rule 9 stating that both coaches and swimmers must sign off on the dive sheets to ensure that the diver is in fact capable of completing the dives. This help responsible coaches keep their divers from sneaking in dives that they do not have the skill to complete, which can be dangerous.
There were also several new distinctions as to what constitutes a successful and failed dive. A new rule, 9-7-4d states that a diver must at least attempt to come out of a twist for a dive to be considered successful.Rule 9-7-5g takes this a step further by stating that a diver’s twisting must be within 90 degrees of what is listed on the score sheet, based on where the diver’s shoulders are when the diver’s hands or feet touch the water.
Rule 9-7-5h also deals with twisting, and says that a diver’s shoulders cannot rotate more than 90 degrees before the diver leaves the board. The final ruling regarding diving was that a diver will receive a half-point to two-point deduction for failing to stop the oscillating of the board immediately before or after the starting position is taken (Rule 9-8-2a).
“This year, the committee spent a considerable amount of time on the event of diving,” said Becky Oakes, NFHS assistant director and liaison to the Swimming and Diving Rules Committee. “The changes were about creating consistency in the diving rules and risk minimization for the diver.”
The biggest rules change that pertains to swimming was an official declaration on “kinesio” tape that has been a growing trend throughout sports. The tape, which first gained fame during beach volleyball competitions during the 2008 Beijing Olympics thanks to American superstar Kerri Walsh, has been popping up around the swimming pool lately, and several state organizations made independent rulings outlawing it at their state meets last season. The NFHS decided to standardize the ruling, classifying the tape as a “device…worn to compress any part of the body to aid in speed…”
“Most of the work of the committee this year was administrative,” Oakes said. “It focused on swimsuit questions that still needed to be addressed and focused on the consistency of rules and risk minimization in the event of diving.”
Other Swimming Rules Changes:
- 3-3-2b(2)- Clarifies that suits worn in competition must be 100% permeable to air and water, except for the school’s logo, which is allowed to cover no more than a 9 square inch area.
- 3-3-1 – Puts in writing that which had been the in-practice ruling that the FINA logo which adorns many suits, indicating that they conform to FINA suit standards, is not considered advertising and thus does not count towards the rules limiting suits to a single brand logo.
- 8-3-8b – An expansion to the rule made last year, declaring that a leadoff relay split is nullified if a relay is disqualified for a conduct rule. In addition, if the relay is disqualified for an entry rule violation, such as a swimmer entered in too many events, the leadoff time is nullified.