The following information from the USMS Rules Committee was sent to LMSC Officials Chairs and Chairs in January.

Major Changes to Part 1: Swimming Rules for 2007 that affect officiating:
1. At national championship meets, the two timers per lane will each use a backup button and at least one timer will use a stop watch (instead of each using a stop watch and at least one using a backup button). (104.5.10C, page 36 of the 2007 USMS Rule Book; previous rule was 104.5.10C, page 48 of the 2006 USMS Rule Book)

2. At national championship meets, competitors of the same gender may be required to swim two-to-a-lane in freestyle events over 200 meters if only one course is available and the meet day is projected to last longer than 12 hours. (104.5.5B[2], page 34 of the 2007 USMS Rule Book 104.5.5B[2]; previous rule was 104.5.5B[2], page 46 of the 2006 USMS Rule Book)

The 2007 USMS Rule Book is now available for viewing and downloading at

More Situations, questions, and reminders:
1. Question: If a competitor swims a near-record time, can the swimmer request and be given another chance to reswim the race later in the meet in an attempt to break the record? Answer: No. Except for postponement (102.13.3, page 26 of the 2006 USMS Rule Book, and pages 12-13 of the 2007 USMS Rule Book) there are no provisions for reswimming a race. A swimmer would only have an opportunity to swim certain events again by swimming the leadoff leg of a relay.

2. Reminder: The referee at each meet shall be certified as a referee, a starter, or a stroke and turn judge. If, among the officiating crew on deck, there is only one official who is certified, that official must be the referee. A referee may also serve as a stroke and turn judge but not as a starter. (103.1.1A and 103.2, pages 28-29 of the 2006 USMS Rule Book and page 15 of the 2007 USMS Rule Book) Note that national championship meet requirements are more stringent and require more officials who are certified. (Officials Committee Note: A future edition will discuss guidelines for officials staffing at USMS sanctioned meets.)

3. Situation: Regarding disqualifications for wearing a watch during competition;
Bruce Stratton, Chair of the USA Swimming Rules and Regulations Committee, issued the following interpretation regarding swimmers wearing watches during competition, Watches are not necessarily pacing devices and each case must be decided on its own merits.

For any questions about rules contact Kathy Casey, USMS Rules Chair,

Officials Chair Note: More guidance will be forthcoming on the use of watches. Regarding item #2, many LMSCs have asked for some additional guidance on staffing officials at USMS meets, so I plan to include this also in the next newsletter.

Charlie Cockrell
Officials Committee Chair
United States Masters Swimming, Inc.