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).