One of the most heated rules in the sport of swimming without any real competitive significance has officially been lifted by the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS), the organization announced today.
Rule 3-3-5 of the NFHS rule book that governs almost all high school swimming in the United States no longer makes any reference to the restriction of wearing of jewelry.
“We’ve been working for the past 10 years on the role of prohibiting jewelry, and we finally came to the conclusion that prohibition presented little concern for injury,” said Becky Oakes, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Swimming and Diving Rules Committee. “We determined the penalty’s severity was no longer based in sound rationale.”
As lanes have become wider and interaction between competitors have become less likely, the risk from jewelry has greatly decreased.
This rule, often ignored at high school meets and more often scoffed at, will now be more in line with uniform rules in USA Swimming’s rule books, which do not bar jewelry.
According to a press release, the rules committee decided that “the wearing of jewelry presents little risk of injury to the competitor or opponents,” calling it an “unnecessary restriction.”
- Rule 4-1-7 regarding officials’ uniforms was amended to allow state associations to make any instruction on official uniforms, and eliminate any confusion that existed under the new rule that said officials must wear all white or the approved uniform by the state association. According to Oakes, “We felt that it was more appropriate for state associations to handle officials’ uniforms, so long as, in each state, every official wears the same uniform.”
- Rule 4-3-1 allows the starter to designate another individual to ring the bell (or sound the equivalent devide) for the lead swimmer during the 500 yard free/400 meter free to indicate that an athlete is entering their final lap + 5 yards.
- Rule 9-6-1 (diving) now allows the official diving referee to be one of the judges on the scoring panel or a separate official.