The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has released its rule change proposals to the NISCA (National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association) for the 2020-2021 school year. Below is a link to a survey asking for coach input on the proposed changes.
One of the notable changes proposed is an amendment made to the rules regarding suit etiquette that created controversy back in September when a 17-year-old female student was disqualified (and ultimately reinstated) over the fit of her suit at a meet in Alaska.
The proposed change reads: “Suits worn for competition must be non-transparent and conform to the current concept of the appropriate.” Previously, it said: “A competitor shall not be permitted to participate wearing a suit that is not of decent appearance.”
In the rationale section, it’s noted that the rules as they’re currently written “requires officials to make subjective calls.”
The change aims to take the ambiguity out of the decisions officials need to make, as it uses language from USA Swimming bylaws 102.8 1D.
“As seen this year in Alaska, this puts officials in a precarious position and potentially causes shame to a student. By substituting the language regarding ‘decent appearance’ with language from USA Swimming bylaws 102.8 1D, the official is still able to eventually address the issue. While both still speak to the appearance of the suit and not how the suit fits the athlete, the word ‘decent’ still carries a stronger moral connotation.
Another proposed change eliminates the distinction “developed from a flexing and extending of the knee” when describing that “no scissors, flutter, or downward butterfly kick” is allowed during breaststroke.
This revision puts the NFHS rule in congruence with USA Swimming, the NCAA and FINA, and “eliminates the misperception that has arisen in some areas that the only vertical leg movement that can be sanctioned is one involving both flexion and extension of the knees.”
It adds: “The change also eliminates the unfair advantage gained, and inappropriate tactic employed in some coaching strategies, of teaching the swimmer to utilize vertical leg movements developed from other than knee flexion/extension.”
NISCA is asking its membership to complete the survey by March 20th, 2020. The committee will be meeting Mar.22-23 to discuss the proposed rules.