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Rules Committee Blog

Questions about rules? Search the tag cloud to the right to find previous entries that might answer your question. Feel free to post questions via the comments tool in each post, or contact

  1. Mixed Relays

    by , April 15th, 2015 at 12:00 AM (Rules Committee Blog)
    The Coach Asks: I have always been under the impression that when only a mixed relay is offered for a particular distance and stroke, then a swimmer can swim one relay but it can be either a mixed relay or a single-gender relay. So one could swim a valid men's 200 free relay during the mixed 200 free relay event on the program, as long as the men's 200 free relay isn't also a separate event. Is that correct?

    Answer: No. If only a mixed relay is offered at a meet, a single-gender relay cannot compete during that event for an official time. For example, a men's 200 free relay competing during a 200 mixed free relay would be disqualified for the following reasons:
    • A mixed relay is defined in the rules as follows, "Mixed relays shall consist of two men and two women who may swim in any order." (101.7.3G)
    • The mixed free relay is a separate event from the single-gender free relays. (102.5 and 102.9.8)

    Kathy Casey
  2. Are Two Logos Allowed on Racing Suits?

    by , March 15th, 2015 at 12:00 AM (Rules Committee Blog)
    The Coach Asks: I'm confused by the messages advertised by swimsuit vendors about one or two logos on a swimsuit and the American version of a suit versus the European version. Are suits with two logos legal or illegal for USMS competition?

    Answer: Suits with two logos are legal for USMS pool competition. USMS rules do not address the number of manufacturer logos on a swim suit (102.12.2). FINA rules allow two manufacturer logos on a swimsuit, so European suits are manufactured with two logos. In the United States, high school and NCAA rules only allow one manufacturer logo, so American suits are manufactured with one logo. (USA Swimming rules follow FINA rules and allow two logos.) Shoppers have been able to find the European suits online for purchase; hence, the warning from swimsuit vendors about two logos on a suit being illegal in the U.S. for high school and NCAA competition. The FINA rules exempt Masters from the FINA logo rules (FINA Bylaw 7.1), so USMS swimwear rules do not address the number of logos allowed.

    Remind your swimmers that USMS swimwear rules (102.12.1) do not allow modesty wear (no brief, sports bra, or jock strap under the competition suit). FINA approval stamps are not required on swimsuits for USMS competition as long as the suit meets FINA specifications (all textile in one or two pieces, knee to shoulder for women and knee to waist for men, no zippers or other fasteners except for a waist tie). Rules for open water swimwear can be found in USMS 303.7.

    Kathy Casey
  3. Nonstandard Events and Time Submissions

    by , February 15th, 2015 at 12:00 AM (Rules Committee Blog)
    The Coach Asks: At our last meet, swimmers were allowed to enter "(choice) 200 free" on the entry form. The meet information stated, "200 Choice (events 18-19): You may swim the 200 Free, Breast, Back or Fly. Declare 200 Free, Breast, Back or Fly by start of meet." One of my swimmers swam the 200 fly, but his time appears in the results as a 200 free time. What are the rules on this?

    Answer: There is no such event as "200 Choice" (see 102.5 for the list of events that can be offered at a meet). A person is allowed to swim in any style during a freestyle event (101.5.2), but no matter what style is swum, it can only count as a freestyle time (103.18.2). For the time to count for a butterfly time, the swimmer had to enter the 200 butterfly. If you see an entry form like that again, contact and inform the meet director that the entry choice on the entry form must appear as "Event 18-19: 200 (choose one stroke) __:__.__ Free, __:__.__ Breast, __:__.__ Back, or __:__.__ Fly", forcing the swimmer to enter an event that is listed in 102.5.

    Kathy Casey
  4. Surgical Glove During Competition?

    by , January 15th, 2015 at 12:00 AM (Rules Committee Blog)
    The Coach Asks: One of my swimmers cut his hand and had to have stitches. He still plans to swim at a meet this weekend and wants to know if he can wear a surgical glove to protect the stitches. What are the rules for this situation?

    Answer: The meet referee has the authority to decide whether or not to let the swimmer wear the surgical glove in competition. Such a glove is not regarded as part of a swimsuit (102.12.1B, last sentence), so a request for a medical exemption for swimwear is not required in this specific situation. It is more similar to tape and bandages (bandages usually include tape), both of which are left to the referee for a decision (102.12.1E and 102.13.9). The swimmer should contact the meet referee or meet director prior to the meet about the request to wear a surgical glove to protect stitches. A meet referee may ask for a doctor's note and after a conversation with the swimmer, will decide if it is reasonable and safe for the swimmer to wear a surgical glove in competition and determine whether or not it would provide a competitive advantage. Be aware that a referee's decision at one meet does not set precedent for subsequent meets (103.6.9), so the swimmer must repeat the request process with the meet referee at each meet.

    Kathy Casey
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