High School Federation Modifies Backstroke Finish, Diving Score Rules

Changes in ruling on backstroke finishes and diving scores highlighted the eight changes made by the National Federation of State High School Associations Swimming and Diving Rules Committee at the end of its meeting last month in Indianapolis.

The biggest one for the swimming community was a revision of Rule 8-2-1e.  Beginning this fall, swimmers may no longer be completely submerged on a backstroke finish; a part of the swimmer’s body must be on or above the surface of the water on their backstroke finish. Swimmers may still be submerged immediately before the turn and for the first 15 meters off of each wall.

“There’s been a difference of opinion as to what constitutes a finish, and the committee believed it needed to be cleared up,” said Becky Oakes (NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Swimming and Diving Rules Committee) in a press release on the NFHS website.  “Clarification is going to focus on the finish and that the swimmer remains on the surface of the water.”

Additionally, three changes were made to modify seeding and scoring of diving.  Rule 9-2-2 was altered to permit a reseeding of divers going into finals of championship meets.  Previously, the initial diving order from the preliminary sessions was carried over to the semifinals/finals portions of the competition.  The choice of whether or not to reseed diving is to be decided by the meet director prior to the beginning of the meet.

The committee also adjusted five of the seven scoring categories to better resemble the scale used in the NCAA, USA Diving and FINA:

  • Excellent – 10
  • Very Good – 8.5 to 9.5
  • Good – 7 to 8
  • Satisfactory – 5 to 6.5
  • Deficient – 2.5 to 4.5
  • Unsatisfactory – 0.5 to 2
  • Failed – 0

Additional rule changes included Rule 9-2-1 to help minimize risk of injury by permitting practice dives during certain warm-up periods, and Rule 3-6, modifying the penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct during a meet (disqualification from the meet, including previous events in which a competitor qualified for finals).

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Cedric P. Todd

2nd paragraph it was stated the swimmer may no longer be submerged during a turn or finish. Is this a typo concerning the turn

Noah Comet

Would I be disqualified if I touch the pad if I stretch my hand out to touch the pad? ?‍♂️?‍♂️?‍♂️

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Morgan Priestley

A Stanford University and Birmingham, Michigan native, Morgan Priestley started writing for SwimSwam in February 2013 on a whim, and is loving that his tendency to follow and over-analyze swim results can finally be put to good use. Morgan swam competitively for 15+ years, primarily excelling in the mid-distance freestyles. While …

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