Swimming and Diving Rules Changes - 2018-19

By NFHS on June 08, 2018 swimming & diving Print

Rule 1: Rule 1 has been reorganized to more accurately reflect and define meet specifications and organization.

Rationale: Clarifies and consolidates terminology and reorganizes sections to reflect the order in which rules appear in the rules book.

2-4-5: The 16.4-yard/15-meter marks must be visible on both sides of the pool deck.

Rationale: Although markings may be integrated into each lane marker/lane line, because the position of such floats are often irregular, the marks on the sides of the pool are the uniform default marking for all lanes.

2-7-2b: Backstroke starting ledges are not permitted in high school swimming.  

Rationale: Clarifies that backstroke starting ledges are prohibited in high school swimming due to risk minimization.    

2-7-2c (NEW), 2-7-2 NOTE (NEW): Options for starting platform malfunctions are provided, and direction for malfunctioning swimming equipment has been re-organized.

Rationale:  Clarifies directives when swimming equipment malfunctions or is non-compliant.  

4-2-1d: The referee shall conduct a pre-meet conference with the starter, the coach and the captain of each team for all non-championship meets.

Rationale: Emphasizesthe importancethat participants are aware of all details associated with the event.                                  

4-5-3, 4-7: The responsibilities of stroke inspectors and turn/finish judges can now be combined by the referee.  

Rationale: Specifies when the availability of officials is limited, the referee has the option to staff the deck effectively and efficiently with available officials. 

5-1-2a: In non-championship meets, thedivingeventmaybe held first, last or simultaneously with the swimming events, in addition to the traditional placement as Event 5 between the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly.

Rationale: Allows for flexibility in conducting the diving event within the dual meet program which will permit more options for competing teams. 

5-3, 5-3-2, 5-3-6 NOTE: Section 5-3 has been updated to provide lane and heat assignment protocol from the dual meet to the championship meet.  

Rationale: Clarifies direction for situations in which the number of teams and/or entries cannot be equally divided into the number of available lanes. 

5-4-2: New language provides scoring protocol based on pool facilities with differing numbers of available lanes.  

Rationale: Clarifies protocol for number of qualifiers and scoring for facilities that have 4, 6, 8, 9, or 10 lanes available.   

9-4-6 NOTE 2 (NEW): The NOTE clarifies that it is permissible to conduct eleven-dive competitions during dual meets, double-dual meets, and other non-championship multi-team meets. 

Rationale: Provides for additional options for competitors to prepare for tournament series events.



2-6: Reorganizes water condition requirements and provides directives for non-compliant conditions.     

2-7-9, 7-2-5:
Clarifies the recommendation for posting team scores through a meet.

4-1-2: C
larifies that a meet committee and meet director are only required for championship meets.  Other meets are administered by the referee or other officials appropriate to the type of meet.

8-3-3 NOTE: Instruction for the starting procedure during a backstroke relay was moved to a NOTE, as this is not an NFHS event.  The NOTE can provide the guidance that may be needed.


1-2-3, 3-1-1, 3-1-2, 3-2-1, 3-2-2, 3-2-3, 3-2-3 PENALTIES, 3-6-1 PENALTY, 4-1-2, 4-1-4, 4-1-7, 4-3-1b, 4-6-2, 4-6-3, 4-6-4, 4-9-3, 5-1-1 NOTE, 7-1-2, 7-1-3, 9-1-1f, g, 9-2-4


  1. Suit Coverage
  2. Guidelines on Handling Contests During Lightning or Thunder Disturbances
  3. Officials Retention and Recruitment
  4. Scratch/Declared False Starts/Failing to Compete