Bill Marlin
Jul 2, 2019
An issue came up this past weekend at the PVS LC 2 meet where two of our swimmers were told by the meet referee that they were not allowed to use Kenesio Tape on their bodies and had to take it off if they wanted to swim. I wanted to put out this clarification on the use of tape since it's been a few years since this was clarified by USA Swimming...

Coach Bill



June 20th, 2016

On June 13th, 2016, Jay Thomas, Chair of the Rules and Regulations Committee of USA Swimming, sent out some further clarifications on USA Swimming Rule 102.8.1E; in regards to the use of Tape.Reminder that these clarifications do not necessarily pertain to NFHS rule 3-3-4.

The use of tape has been a subject of controversy, especially after the American 800 free relay team at the 2015 Pan Am Games was disqualified for Michael Weiss taping his fingers. The relay team was eventually reinstated, as the tape was deemed “necessary for injury.”

Article 102.8.1E states that “Any kind of tape on the body is not permitted unless approved by a Referee.” Here are a few circumstances where the use of tape is generally permitted:

  1. Wound closure and protection. Band Aids, smaller dressings, and “Butterfly” type are okay. No referee notification is required for these smaller items. If a dressing is exceptionally large and/or the tape to hold a dressing completely surrounds a major limb then the referee should be notified.
  2. Buddy taping of the fingers and toes. Keep in mind no more than two fingers or toes can be taped together at a time. It is recommended that you always notify the referee in this case. 
  3. Taping of medical alert bracelets and/or religious objects. It is recommended that you always notify the referee in this case.  
  4. Taping of medical devices (i.e. insulin pumps, ostomy bags, etc.). It is recommended that you always notify the referee in this case.

Here are a few circumstances in which the use of tape is never permitted:

  1. Any type of Elastic Therapeutic Tape
  2. Any type of Kinesio Tape
  3. Any other type of taping that may support the muscles, ligaments, or tendons and/or provide compression to a joint that isn’t explicitly stated above as being permitted.