We reported in late March that the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) had proposed rule changes for the 2017-2018 season during their rule committee meeting from March 19-21.
The NFHS has recently confirmed the proposed changes, which will take effect this coming fall. The committee cites risk minimization as the primary reason for the changes.
Seven total changes have been made, highlighted by changes that address the definition of season culminating meets and relay starts. Beginning next season, rule 1-3-12 will say that state associations must now identify what their culminating meets are that will take place in the championship meet format. This change comes due to NFHS recognizing the extreme variation between each individual state’s meet schedule and format.
According to Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Swimming and Diving Rules Committee, “the committee agreed that state associations are in the best position to determine which competitions must adhere to the championship meet format. The language also allows non-championship meets to be conducted using the championship meet format.”
Another notable confirmed rule change deals with clarifying relay starts for swimmers after the lead off. The new rule, 8-3-5c, states that a swimmer must have one foot touching the block in front of the starting wedge.
The other confirmed changes are:
- Rule 9-5-2, which addresses the approach and hurdle requirements in diving. This clarifies the intent for hops, leaps and/or jumps to count toward the three-step forward approach requirement.
- Rule 3-3-2a, which provides consistency for all NFHS sports regarding what school and competitor information is permitted on the uniform which, in swimming and diving, consists of the suit and swim cap.
- Rule 4-6-4, which requires dual confirmation for relay exchanges during championship meets. The referee and the starter may serve as the relay takeoff judges.
- Rule 3-4, which provides competitors more flexibility when competing in 500-yard events to count either up or down with visual lap counters. This practice permits flexibility for the competitor, and is in keeping with current trends in the sport.
- Rule 3-6 makes dealing with conduct issues easier by categorizing them within the rulebook. This is connected to 4-1-8 by providing language to make dealing with issues for officials easier