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Greg Johnson, NCAA.com | June 22, 2021

College swimming and diving: Panel approves rule change regarding officials

Texas captures the 2021 men's swimming and diving championship

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel today approved clarifying the rule regarding the minimum number of officials who must be present to conduct an official swimming and diving meet.

The panel approved allowing relief in the event the required number of officials falls below the required minimum due to unforeseen circumstances. All coaches whose teams are competing in the meet would have to approve the move.

The minimum number of officials required for dual meets is two, and the minimum for invitational meets is four.

The rule change will go into effect during the 2021-22 academic year.

2021 CHAMPIONS: Texas wins DI men's championship | Virginia wins DI women's championship

Bona fide competitions

The panel approved adjusting the wording around the bona fide competition criteria for USA Swimming and USA Diving meets that may be part of a team’s schedule and be counted for qualifying in NCAA swimming and diving championships. The intent is to ensure that participation in designated USA Swimming and USA Diving meets takes place while representing the school.

The events must appear on a school’s schedule so qualifying times can be achieved in all events. The following criteria are required:

  • The competition must be between two or more teams of the same gender from different collegiate schools and at the same time and site.
  • Any bona fide meet as defined above that is sanctioned or approved by USA Swimming and USA Diving must follow NCAA rules and regulations.
  • Select USA Swimming and USA Diving meets that are acceptable for achievement of time standards, consideration standards and optional-entry standards may be designated each year by the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Committees in all three divisions.


Examples of meets where time standards can be achieved include the USA Swimming National Championships, the FINA World Swimming Championships and USA Swimming Pro Series meets.

Other rules changes:

  • The use of kinesiology tape for divers during competition will be permitted.
  • Standardized the size and distance of pool lines on the bottom of the pool in new facilities to match USA Swimming and FINA rules. Specifically, the T painted at the bottom of the pool would be 2 meters (about 6½ feet) from the end wall, not the current 5 feet.
  • Divers will be allowed one practice forward approach or one back takeoff approach before the start of the diving competition if a separate diving well is not used.

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