2015-16 Swimming and Diving Rules Changes Include Lifting of Jewelry Restrictions

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 15, 2015) — High school swimmers and divers will now be permitted to wear jewelry during competition. This change was approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Swimming and Diving Rules Committee at its March 22-24 meeting in Indianapolis.

This significant rules change was among four revisions recommended by the committee for the 2015-16 season and subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

With a focus on addressing pertinent rules regarding competition, the committee determined that the wearing of jewelry presents little risk of injury to the competitor or opponents. Therefore, prohibiting jewelry is an unnecessary restriction, and officials can now better focus on meet administration directly related to competition. Rule 3-3-5 now reflects the change with the removal of any language barring or penalizing the wearing of jewelry.

“We’ve been working for the past 10 years on the role of prohibiting jewelry, and we finally came to the conclusion that prohibition presented little concern for injury,” said Becky Oakes, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Swimming and Diving Rules Committee. “We determined the penalty’s severity was no longer based in sound rationale.”

The committee also addressed the requirements of officials’ uniforms. Rule 4-1-7 was amended to only require that swimming and diving officials dress in a uniform approved by the state association. Previously, officials were required to dress in white attire or other attire approved by the state association. This change clarifies the rule and allows for more practicality when determining the appropriate uniform for officials, as white is no longer the current standard.

“We felt that it was more appropriate for state associations to handle officials’ uniforms, so long as, in each state, every official wears the same uniform,” Oakes said.

The committee also amended Rule 4-3-1 a, b to allow the starter to designate another individual to sound a device for the lead swimmer during the 500-yard/400-meter freestyle when the swimmer has two lengths plus 5 yards remaining in the race. The starter may have multiple tasks occurring simultaneously, and having a designee would allow for the starter to maintain better accuracy and concentration during events. 

The final change was to Rule 9-6-1, which now includes a clarification indicating that the diving referee may be one of the judges on the panel, or a separate official.  

A complete listing of all rules changes is available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page, and select “Swimming & Diving.”

According to the 2013-14 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, swimming and diving has 304,152 participants in 14,530 programs nationwide.

St. Paul’s Sweeps AHSAA 1A-5A Boys & Girls State Swim Titles; Bob Jones Claims 6A-7A Boys, Auburn Takes 6A-7A Girls Championships

    AUBURN – St. Paul’s Episcopal High School captured the boys’ and girls’ Class 1A-5A state swimming titles Saturday sweeping the first state championships in the smaller-class division in the first year of competition. Tyler Kerns coaches both teams.
    Auburn’s girls won the new 6A-7A division state championship and Bob Jones won the 6A-7A boys’ state crown as the AHSAA’s 55th Swimming & Diving Championships concluded at Auburn University’s James E. Martin Aquatics Center.
    For the first 54 years, AHSAA schools competed in just one division regardless of size. With the addition of Class 7A this school year, the AHSAA created two divisions of competition.  The Saints, winning their first state boys title, scored 158 points to win the 1A-5A boys’ title over Huntsville’s Westminster Christian, the runner-up with 137 points.  Faith Academy of Mobile was a distant third with 56 points and Oneonta finished fourth with 50. 
    St. Paul’s posted 102.50 points in the 1A-5A girls’ competition to edge Mobile rival UMS-Wright. The Bulldogs totaled 81 points followed by Randolph of Huntsville with 64. The Lady Saints won the overall state title twice before winning in 2003 and 2004. The boys’ championship was the school’s first.
   Auburn’s girls, coached by Jeff Dellinger, posted 278 points in the 6A-7A division with runner-up McGill-Toolen totaling 234. Huntsville was third with 211 and Grissom fourth with 158. The Lady Tigers also won the overall championship in 2013.
    Bob Jones, coached by Mike Gunner, won the 6A-7A boys’ championship for the first time since 2010. The Patriots amassed 290 points with McGill-Toolen taking second place with 265.50 and Auburn finishing third with 183.50.  The state title was the 8th overall for Bob Jones – winners of seven in a row from 2004-2010.
    A total of six girls’ state records fell in the two-day competition. No boys’ state records were broken.
    Among the six were two new records set by sophomore Paige Madden of UMS-Wright. She earned automatic All-America status clocking 54.91 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke and 49.78 in the 100-yard freestyle races to establish new AHSAA standards. She beat the old freestyle record set by Maria Reed of Baker in 2013 by almost two seconds. Reed finished second to Madden Saturday clocking 51.59. The backstroke record broke the mark (55.05) set by Genny Pittman of Homewood in 2012.
    Two other records previously set by Madden fell in the 2014 competition. She did not compete in those events this year. She now currently owns the AHSAA state record in the 200-yard individual medley (2:04.13 set in 2013). Auburn also set two girls’ relay records and narrowly missed out on a third.
    Other records set included:
    Girls’ 200-Yard Medley Relay: Auburn’s quartet of Susanna Pudner, Annie Frances Dallas, Hadley Dowdle and McAuley Parker clocked 1:46.81 to break the record set by the same four last year by .74 seconds. Pudner and Parker are sophomores while Dallas and Dowdle are freshmen.
    Girls 400-Yard Freestyle Relay: Auburn also set a new mark in the 400 relay (3:32.85) with swimmers including Hadley Dowdle, Anna Kate McGinty, Audrey Philpott and McAuley Parker. Philpott is a sophomore and McGinty is a freshman. Runner-up Grissom also  clocked 3:34.41 to beat the old record time (3:35.08) set by Hoover in 2011. Auburn’s 200 freestyle relay team also won the event in 1:38.58, just shy of the state record (1:38.50) set by Athens in 2013.  
    Girls 200-Yard Freestyle:
Athens freshman Kobie Melton turned in a 1:49.97 time to best the record set (1:50.23) by Madden in 2012.
    Girls 100-Yard Butterfly: Randolph’s Sarah Cimino swam the distance in 55:01 in the finals to top the record set by UMS-Wright’s Madden (55.37) in 2013. Her time earned her All-America status.


    Bob Jones got strong performances in the relays with seniors Chris Burrows and Chris Day, junior Andrew Sterns and sophomore Andrey Tretyakov winning the 200-yard medley relay in 1:35.73 – narrowly missing the state record set by McGill-Toolen (1:35.28) in 2012.
   The Patriots also won the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:27.19.   Tretyakov also won the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard breaststroke events. He earned All-America status with his 49.30 time in the 100 butterfly.
    Derek Sander, a junior, also reached All-America status for Bob Jones with a 1:39.10 time to win the 200-yard freestyle event. McGill-Toolen’s Russell Noletto swam the distance in 1:39.25 to also earn All-America status with his second-place finish.  Sander also won the won the 100-yard freestyle and swam the final leg of Bob Jones’ winning 200-yard freestyle relay. 
    St. Paul’s senior Slater Whiston won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 50.14 seconds to pace the Saints to the 1A-5A boys’ state championship.
    Complete results can be found at www.ahsaa.com.

Fairhope’s Helen Legg Wins 3rd Straight Diving Title; Freshman Conner Pruitt Gets Boys Crown

       AUBURN – Freshman Conner Pruitt of Opelika High School posted a 408.35 score in the 1-meter diving competition Friday to win the event as the 55th annual AHSAA State Swimming & Diving Championships got underway at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center on the Auburn University campus.
       Pruitt’s stiffest competition came from Spain Park eighth grader Zachary El-Fallahand, whoposted a 368.35 total to finish second. Senior Alex  Evans of Auburn was third at 342.35. In 2013 Conner finished fourth, Evans eighth and El-Fallahand 14th.
       Junior Helen Legg of Fairhope posted a 377.90 score to win the AHSAA Girls’ 1-meter diving competition for the third year in a row. Her 2014 total was just shy of her 2013 winning score of 383.50.  Senior Sarah Bradberry of James Clemens was second at 337.95, and junior Julie Keller of Huntsville third (323.45).
       The swim events got underway with prelims Friday afternoon. All swimming event finals will be Saturday at Auburn University’s James E. Martin Aquatics Center beginning at 2 p.m. Warm-up will commence at 1 p.m. The finals will be live-streamed by the NFHS Network at the following link:

       The AHSAA will crown late Saturday afternoon boys and girls state team champions in two divisions (6A-7A and 1A-5A) for the first time in the 55-year history of the AHSAA Swimming & Diving Championships.

Competition Set for Dec. 12-13 at Auburn AHSAA Swimming & Diving Championships To Crown State Champions In 2 Divisions

    AUBURN – The 55th annual Alabama High School Athletic Association State Swimming & Diving Championships get underway Friday at James E. Martin Aquatic Center on the Auburn University campus with a trimmed field that could be the most competitive in state history.
    The NFHS Network will live-stream the competition Saturday. Check the NFHS Network links below:
Diving: http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/ahsaa/da54ee354d
Swimming: http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/ahsaa/995351b532

    The swimming championships underwent a major overhaul with the addition of three Sectional swim meets where competitors for the first time in state history were required to qualify for the state meet. The AHSAA also established two divisions for championship play this season with Class 6A-7A comprised of the largest schools and Class 1A-5A encompassing the remaining schools. From 1960-2013 all schools competed for one state title in each of the boys’ and girls’ divisions.
    The result, said AHSAA Assistant Director Marvin Chou, “Is some immediate growth with more than 20 new schools fielding teams this season.” Chou, AHSAA’s director for swimming competition, said the section meets also provided an excellent tune-up for the state’s swimmers and provided qualifying standards that should provide the state meet with its most elite competitors.
        Auburn, winner of girls’ state title last season, will be in a strong Class 6A-7A field that features all six schools that won the last 10 state championships. In addition to Auburn, McGill-Toolen won in 2012, Hoover in 2011 and 2010, Mountain Brook in 2009, 2006 and 2005, Grissom in 2008 and Bob Jones in 2007.  St. Paul’s, back-to-back winners in 2003 and 2004, will be competing in the Class 1A-5A division.
       On the boys’ side, the 6A-7A division features 2012 and 2013 state champion Huntsville as well as Bob Jones, the state champs for seven straight seasons from 2004-2010. McGill-Toolen won in 2011.
       Among the top swimmers in the competition are current state record holders Paige Madden of UMS-Wright and Foster Ballard of Elmore County. Both will be competing in the 1A-5A division but already own overall state records. Madden, a sophomore, won the 500 freestyle in 2012 and holds the state record in the 200 freestyle, 200 medley and 100 butterfly events.  Ballard, a senior, set the 200 individual medley record last season.
     In the Class 1A-5A division, Benjamin Russell senior Robert Howard came close last season to records in the 50 and 100 freestyle events, winning both in times that earned him All-America status. Howard captured the 50 in 2013 with a 21.61-second time and the 100 in 45.46 seconds. T.J. Leon if UMS-Wright holds both state meet records with winning times of 20.24 and 44.73 in the 2008 state meet.
     Diving starts the action Friday with warm-up at 9 a.m. and competition begins at 10 a.m. Swim events get underway at 4 p.m. Friday for prelims. Finals are set for swim events Saturday at 2 p.m. Warm-up gets underway at 1 p.m.
      Admission is $10.00 per day with children 5 and under admitted free.
     Current AHSAA records are listed below for each event.

     15   Grissom, 1984-99
    12   Huntsville, 1968-2013

      13   Grissom, 1984-96
     7   Huntsville, 1977-83
      7   Bob Jones, 2004-10


200 Yard Medley Relay--McGill Toolen, 1:35.28, 2012
200 Yard Freestyle Relay--Bob Jones, 1:25.84, 2013

400 Yard Freestyle Relay-- Bob Jones, 3:09.93, 2009

50 Yard Freestyle—T.J. Leon, UMS-Wright, 20.24, 2008
100 Yard Freestyle-- T.J. Leon, UMS-Wright, 44.73, 2008
200 Yard Freestyle-- Will Freeman, Spain Park, 1:37.31, 2013
500 Yard Freestyle--Will Freeman, Spain Park, 4:27.36, 2013

100 Yard Backstroke-- Will Glass, McGill Toolen, 48.41, 2012
100 Yard Breaststroke--Marlin
Brutkiewicz, UMS-Wright, 2012

100 Yard Butterfly--Will Glass, McGill Toolen, 48.12, 2012

200 Yard Individual Medley--Foster Ballard, Elmore County, 1:50.24, 2013

One Meter Diving 

Robert Raley, Murphy, 520.35, 2011


     18   Grissom, 1977-2008
     10   Huntsville, 1971-83
     10   Grissom, 1984-93
       6   Huntsville, 1971-76


200 Yard Medley Relay—Auburn, 1:47.55, 2013
200 Yard Freestyle Relay—Athens, 1:38.50, 2013
400 Yard Freestyle Relay—Hoover, 3:35.08, 2011

50 Yard Freestyle—Megan Molnar, Auburn, 23.09, 2010
100 Yard Freestyle—Maria Reed, Baker, 51.18, 2013
200 Yard Freestyle—Paige Madden, UMS-Wright, 1:50.23,  2012
500 Yard Freestyle—Chloe Sutton, Hoover, 4:53.37, 2004
100 Yard Backstroke—Genny Pittman, Homewood, 55.05, 2012
100 Yard Breaststroke—Megan Molnar, Auburn, 1:02.13, 2010
100 Yard Butterfly—Paige Madden, UMS-Wright, 55.37, 2013
200 Yard Individual Medley—Paige Madden, UMS-Wright, 2013 
One Meter Diving
Elizabeth Flint, Auburn, 452.25, 1996

Championships To Unveil New Format With Sectional Meets This Weekend

    The AHSAA State Swimming & Diving Championships will unveil its new two-division championship format with sectionals this weekend as swimmers take part in three sectional meets across the state.
    Now in its 55th year, the Swimming & Diving Championships have consisted of one division with all schools competing in one state meet since its inception in 1960.
   This Friday and Saturday, however, three sectional meets – at Huntsville, Birmingham and Mobile – are set to qualify swimmers in two divisions (Class 1A-5A and Class 6A-7A) for the state meet Dec. 12-13 at Auburn University.
    “This is a big step for high school swimming,” AHSAA Assistant Director Marvin Chou said. “The AHSAA is excited to host the first-ever North, Central and South Sectionals. We are hoping these new meets will grow the sport.”
     Bishop State Community College will host the South Sectional, Birmingham CrossPlex the Central Sectional and the Huntsville Natatorium the North Sectional. Swimming prelims will begin at 5 p.m. Friday with diving competition set for 10 a.m. Saturday and swimming finals scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
     Chou, the assistant director overseeing the swimming championships, said the increased opportunity for swimmers to compete has already made a dramatic impact.
     “We have already seen 20 new schools declare swimming this year,” he said. “ We can now consider our state swim and dive meet a true championship meet. The AHSAA would like to thank Huntsville, Birmingham and Mobile for their willingness to host these meets. We are excited for the sport and we hope to see it grow even more as our programs continue to strive for excellence.”

NFHS, NISCA release “Coaching Swimming” on nfhslearn.com

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (October 24, 2014) – The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has added a course for swimming coaches to its lineup of sport-specific online courses available through the NFHS Learning Center at www.nfhslearn.com

“Coaching Swimming” was developed with assistance from the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (NISCA) and focuses on how to administer a student-first swimming program.

Topics covered in Coaching Swimming include recruitment, pre-event management, interscholastic coaching philosophy, differences in club and high school teams, communication and risk management. The course also teaches the basics of the four competitive swimming strokes, start variations and flip turns, and it highlights information from the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Book.

“It is important that coaches have a strong foundation in skills and a strong concern for the safety of their athletes,” said Arvel McElroy, NISCA president-elect. “Completing [Coaching Swimming] provides this opportunity. I applaud the NFHS for its forward-thinking vision to provide certification programs for coaches.”

NISCA is a volunteer organization that supports high school coaches of all aquatic sports.  It is dedicated to coaches education and athlete recognition.

“The NFHS is pleased to partner with NISCA and looks forward to offering Coaching Swimming to coaches nationwide,” said Dan Schuster, director of NFHS Coach Education.

With the addition of Coaching Swimming, the NFHS now has 35 online courses, including two core courses – Fundamentals of Coaching and First Aid, Health and Safety – and 16 sport-specific courses.