USA Swimming held its annual House of Delegates meeting in late September, where the Rules and Regulations Committee voted on a number of rules changes, some of which are effective immediately, and others take effect on January 1, 2023.
As part of these rules changes, USA Swimming has eliminated the use of the term “Junior Olympic” for Age Group Championship meets. In some LSCs, their Age Group Championship has historically been named the Junior Olympics, but USAS has struck that terminology from the language surrounding rules and regulations for sanctioned meets, meaning LSCs are no longer allowed to call those meets “Junior Olympic,” which is also sometimes referred to as “JOs.”
Perhaps the most impactful change revolves around the so-called “120 day rule.” Previously, when a USA Swimming athlete switched clubs, there was a period of 120 days, dating from their last competition with their previous club, before they could officially compete as an attached member of their new club. The HOD has voted to cut that requirement in half, meaning that now a swimmer must only wait 60 days after their last competition with their previous team before becoming an attached member of a new team. This change is effective immediately.
There are also rules changes surrounding minimum requirements for officiating at LSC-sanctioned meets. As per the new rule, which was approved by the HOD, at a minimum LSC’s must require one referee, one starter, three timers per lane (unless automatic timing system is being used, in which case only one timer per lane is required), one clerk of course (if applicable), one place judge (two are preferred), two stroke judges and two turn judges or two stroke and turn judges, relay take-off judges (if applicable), one administrative official, one announcer (if applicable), and two marshals, at least one of each gender. These are the USA Swimming requirements, meaning LSCs are able to add additional minimum requirements if they so choose.
The minimum officiating requirements are less stringent for development, dual, and intrasquad meets. Those categories of meets will require at a minimum one referee, who may also act as a stroke and turn judge, one starter, one other stroke and turn judge, one announcer (if applicable), three timers per lane (unless automatic timing system is being used), one administrative official, one place judge, relay take-off judges (if applicable), timing equipment operators (as needed) and two marshals, one of each gender.
USA Swimming also notes in regards to the officiating requirements for sanctioned meets that officials other than the referee and administrative official may act in more than one capacity only when a sufficient number of qualified officials aren’t available, but no one may simultaneously time and judge the order of finish.
There have also been changes with regards to the reporting process for world records and USA Swimming records. For World Records, supporting evidence must now be filed on official FINA World Record application forms, which must be submitted to the Executive Director of FINA within 14 days after the performance. Previously, there was a 21-day window to file the forms. The responsibility for filing rests with the meet and/or administrative official.
As for USA Swimming records, one of the key changes is that for LSC and local records, official split times may be used, provided those splits are taken with a fully automatic timing system. There have been slight changes to the reporting process for National Age Group records as well. Going forward, the record application form must be filled out, signed by the designated officials, and sent in along with the completion of pool measurement within 30 days.
You can find the full list of items voted on here.