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The goal of the Huntsville Swim Association Official's Committee is to provide fair and safe competition for athletes so that swimmers, parents, coaches and officials have an enjoyable experience.

We are designing this section to be a one-stop reference for information important to our officials. If you have a comment or contribution, please email the page administrator.



Recent Rule Updates and Interpretations


(4/4) At the 2017 USA Swimming House of Delegates Meeting in Dallas, Texas, the House adopted several rules which become effective on May 1, 2018.
  • Rule 101.7.4H – Rules pertaining to Relay Races - “On relays, the second, third and fourth swimmers are prohibited from starting from the top of the adjustable back plate. A swimmer must have at least part of one foot in contact with the starting platform in front of the adjustable back plate during a relay exchange.”
The “why” behind the change – Our rules set a maximum height above the water of the front of the starting block. This distance is 2’5 ½” for Long Course pools and 2’6” for short course pools. Allowing the swimmer to depart from the top of the back plate effectively increases this distance far more than the permitted starting block slope.
The swimmer may have both feet on top of the back plate while preparing for the exchange provided that the last part of the foot to leave the block during the exchange departs from the actual block top in front of the adjustable back plate.
  • Rule 103.14.3 – Starting Platforms - “The top surface of the starting platform shall be not less than 0.50 by 0.50 meters (1 foot 8 inches square) and shall slope not more than 10 degrees from the horizontal. It may have an adjustable setting back plate. The entire surface of the platform shall be faced with permanent non-slip material. Handgrips for the forward start may be installed on the sides of the starting platforms.”
The “why” behind this change – Our rules set the specifications for backstroke starting grips in 103.14.4. The FINA Facility Rules also specify permitted (but not required) grips for forward starts located on the sides of the block top. There are some domestic facilities that are equipped with forward start grips on the block top. Since our rules were silent on these grips, there were occasions where backstroke swimmers used these grips for starts.  
This rule change clarifies that the block top grips are for forward starts. Block top grips may not be used for backstroke starts.
  • Rule 102.24.4.B(4) – Semi Automatic and Manual Timing – “If only one button or watch time is available, the time of that button or watch shall be the time for that timing system unless that time conflicts with other information. If such a conflict exists, the Administrative Official shall gather as much data as possible and determine the time.” (Note: new language is shown for clarity.)
The “why” behind this change – this language was to provide clearer direction to Administrative Officials when determining official time where only one button or watch time (pad missing or invalid) is available. If the available backup time conflicts with available other information such as order of finish, the Administrative Official will use his/her training and depth of experience to determine the time for the swimmer.


Additional 2017 rulings can be found HERE.


USA Swimming Rules and Regulations Portal: WEB