Skip to main content

NFHS: Meet official responsibilities and communication clarified in high school swimming and diving rules

The Highland County Press - Staff Photo - Create Article
Cameron Baker, NFHS

Language in the 2024-25 NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Book will be changed in an effort to ensure consistent notification protocols when violations regarding swimming attire are detected.

This revision was one of two changes recommended by the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Committee at its March 17-19 meeting in Indianapolis. All changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

The change comes in conjunction with one of the committee’s fundamental goals, which is to increase communication between coaches and officials to promote the flow of a swim meet.

“One thing I love about the committee is all the different perspectives, from coaches representation to officials representation and even administrative representation,” said Rod Garman, chair of the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Committee and assistant executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association. “I think our sport is in a great spot.”

In Rule 4-4-2e, language was changed to bring the rule in line when violations of Rule 3- 3-2 are detected. Rule 3-3-2 describes the types of legal suits for males and females. According to the new language, the referee shall advise the coach that the swimmer may not compete until their suit is made legal.

This change ensures that the referee directly communicates with the head coach of the athlete if there is a violation and will bring less disqualifications if an athlete has an illegal uniform. Previously, if the coach of the athlete was not able to be reached without delaying the meet, a verbal announcement of the violation sufficed.

Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Committee, said the committee believes that the consistency of language between rules will help bring a better meet experience.

In Rule 4-1-4, the word “clerical” was removed to help clarify the authority of a meet official. This change is intended to create a more efficient and effective process for fixing problems that may arise during a swim meet.

“The committee believes that the majority of problems that arise during a meet are minor and can be easily fixed if the official’s authority stays consistent with the scope of their authority during the actual competition – without having to be addressed by outside entities, including state associations,” Searcy said.

A complete listing of the swimming and diving rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Swimming and Diving.”

According to the 2022-23 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, swimming and diving is the 10th -most popular sport for boys with 116,741 participants in 7,831 schools, and the ninth-most popular sport for girls with 140,711 participants in 7,937 schools.

About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS): The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Ind., is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,500 high schools and 12 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.8 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at 

Publisher's note: A free press is critical to having well-informed voters and citizens. While some news organizations opt for paid websites or costly paywalls, The Highland County Press has maintained a free newspaper and website for the last 25 years for our community. If you would like to contribute to this service, it would be greatly appreciated. Donations may be made to: The Highland County Press, P.O. Box 849, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133. Please include "for website" on the memo line.