Rules FAQ

2018 NFHS Rule Books were distributed at the Spring General Meeting. PDF versions are no longer available but you can purchase an ebook directly from NFHS

WIAA Washington State High School Rules


Rules Bulletin Board

6/22/16 question was raised about relays in regular season v post season...

To qualify a given relay team for prelims, does that relay team itself (maybe not same order, but same athletes) need to make the qualifying time, or does a qualifying time for that age group count (i.e. the high school rule)?

Response  We have included the wording directly from the GSSSL 2016 Operating Plan that deals with the Post Season Relay’s. You can find it in the Operating Plan Article D. Meets/Post Season/10.

10. Once a relay team has qualified for the Post Season meets, substitutions can be made only for illness or injury. Substitutes must be listed as subs. “B” relay members are considered as subs for the “A” relay and “C” relay members are considered as subs for “B” relays etc… A note signed by a physician, coach and parent must be submitted to the meet referee in order to allow replacement of an ill or injured swimmer by a substitute swimmer. Any extenuating circumstances should be reported to the Meet Referee prior to the meet and discussed at the scratch meeting for that meet.

The consensus of the board is that any combination of swimmers can be used to establish a qualifying time. Once a team establishes a qualifying time and the post season line-ups are due, then the four swimmers need to be listed, with four swimmers on the “B” relay serving as alternates for the “A” relay, “C” relay as alternates for the “B” etc… all the way through the age group. There is no limit to the number of relays that can qualify. Teams can also use the provision for one additional relay, without establishing a qualifying time, in the 8 and under as well as the 10 and under age groups. Once the line-ups are submitted for the Post Season, you need to stay with the same four and substitutions can only be made for an injured or ill swimmer. Per rule changes in 2018, relay substitutions are allowed to be made up to the time of the coaches meeting at prelims without challenge as long as the swimmer was included as a relay alternate with entry submission. Any subsequent changes need to fall under the illness/injury provision for substitution.


Are teams allowed to make changes in their event line up, including relays, during regular season meets after heat sheets have been printed?

The current rule allows for changes at any point as long as the Meet official has been notified prior to the change.  In NHS rule book page 19 under ART. 4 mentions that prior to the start of the race changes may be submitted to the referee (or whoever the referee designates - this could be the computer operator) as long as it is prior to the race.  Page 24 gives a situational example that clarifies this as well.  Under our current rules, changes can be allowed for strategic reasons.  This can be a challenge for all the volunteers and can really rattle a swimmer, but it is allowed in both high school and summer league meets.  At this time the officials have no basis to disallow changes as late as 1 event prior to the race. 

The board plans to have further discussion about this issue in the fall.

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