Swimming and Diving Points of Emphasis - 2019-20

By NFHS on June 18, 2019 swimming & diving Print

1. Preventing Shallow Water Blackout - TherulesforNFHSswimminganddivingexisttoensurefaircompetitioninapositive,safeandhealthyenvironment. Consequently, the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Committee recognizes concerns that have been raised over instances of shallow water blackout, which can affect swimmers of all experience levels.  Shallow water blackout is a potentially fatal condition that causes a swimmer to lose consciousness while under water.  Shallow water blackout can be prevented through education, awareness, and understanding of the dangers of breath-holding.  The tips below are provided by Shallow Water Blackout Prevention.  For further information, visit shallowwaterblackoutprevention.org.

How to Avoid Shallow Water Blackout

  • Never hyperventilate
  • Never ignore the urge to breathe
  • Never swim alone
  • Never play breath holding games
  • No repetitive underwater lap

2. Suit Coverage – Suit coverage continues to be a focus of administrators, coaches, and officials, and competitors.  While the rule itself has not changed, language addressing coverage and the protocol for addressing violations has been reorganized in the rules book.  In addition, pre-meet coaches and athlete meetings have been mandated, which is an opportunity for the coach to verify that his/her athletes are properly and legally equipped AND an opportunity for captains/peers to consult with their teammates to assure suits and caps meet rule guidelines.  It is recommended that coaches address suit coverage with parents and athletes during their pre-season meetings, to specify that suits should be worn as the manufacturer has intended and that athletes purchasing personal suits for competition only obtain suits that comply with NFHS rules regarding appropriate coverage as well as design and decoration.

3. Accommodations for Students with a Disability – Language and officials signals regarding the inclusion of students with a disability have been updated and will be available in the 2019 NFHS Swimming Officials Guidelines Manual.  Included are updated images of officials signals for the forward and backstroke start as well as images for modified starting positions. Specific accommodations for visually impaired and hearing-impaired competitors are also provided in this publication.

4. Sub-Varsity Participation – The policy permitting state associations to modify events and distances for non-varsity competition remains in effect. (5-1-1 NOTE 1).  States have the authority to shorten/lengthen distances and add other events in non-varsity competition.  NFHS playing rules are written specifically for varsity competition. Modifications for levels other than varsity are at the discretion of the state association.

5. Pre-Meet Conference - The mandatory pre-meet conference as applied to championship meets can become problematic in some contexts, particularly in large meets.  The pre-meet conference is a time to review meet procedures, special instructions and any unusual pool conditions. A comprehensive list of items to be covered is included in Appendix G of the 2018-19 Swimming Officials Guidelines Manual. State associations may determine an alternative method or methods of communication in situations where the size of the meet makes a pre-meet conference impractical.  State associations are encouraged to provide appropriate policy direction for officials and meet administrators in assuring that the stated purposes for this conference are fulfilled and that both coaches and athletes are fully informed and prepared for the ensuing competition.