NCAA Will Post Designated Officials at Winter Nationals, Winter Junior Nationals

As a way to close the gap between different rules between USA Swimming/FINA and the NCAA, the NCAA Rules Committee has announced that it will have designated officials at both the USA Swimming Winter National Championships and Winter Junior National Championships to monitor college swimmers.

Over the weekend in Doha, Qatar, FINA approved a rules change that allows breaststrokers to take their dolphin kick at any point prior to their breaststroke kick rather than requiring it be after the separation of the hands.

The rule went into effect immediately and USA Swimming verified that the new rules would be in effect at the upcoming Winter National Championships and Winter Junior National Championships.

The NCAA, however, won’t change their rules mid-season, meaning that if approved, this new breaststroke rule wouldn’t go into effect until the 2015-2016 season.

To work around the difference in these rules, along with those prohibiting NCAA swimmers from using backstroke start wedges which may or may not be in use at Winter Nationals, the NCAA’s solution will be to have an official present to observe collegiate swimmers specifically and to certify adherence with NCAA rules.

In an email sent to all NCAA coaches on Monday, Brian Gordon, the secretary-rules editor for the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Rules Committee says that more information about that official will be made available at the General Meeting at the USA Swimming National Championships.

The email didn’t address the matter of the FINA Short Course World Championships that begin on Wednesday. A similar rule will be in effect there, and that meet is designated as an NCAA Championship qualifying meet (with the designated meters-to-yards conversion standards).

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How is that legal?

Will every college breaststroker have there own official over their lane? And if so, does this mean the Tennessee women’s best breaststroker wont be able to do a fly kick with every stroke like she usually does?


Are you talking about Molly Hannis?


How ridiculous; they could have EASILY done what US Swimming did and make it effective immediately. The change isn’t really that significant.


The NCAA has a policy that it does not allow rule changes for any reason once the playing season has begun. This protects those athletes who potentially have already achieved a high ranked “B Standard” time under the old rule that could be supplanted by a time swimming under a different set of rules.


A rules change mid-season is not without precedent, however. In mid-December 2008, the NCAA rules committee had an emergency meeting and implemented an immediate rules change. After many teams double-layered the Speedo LZR and the Blue70 bodysuits (LZR under for compression, B70 over for buoyancy), and these same teams put up INSANE relays and backstroke times, the NCAA immediately implemented a rule that there was to be no more doubling of suits. (They waited until FINA outlawed the plastic suits to outlaw as well, however.) It was a radical approach to create no loopholes, so even the practice of guys wearing a brief and a drag suit over it was forbidden thereafter. In the current situation, I’m not sure there… Read more »


Do you happen to have a link to the designated meters to yards standards that the NCAA use? Thanks

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, …

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