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Rules & Policies

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USA Swimming Rules & Policies

Our rules and policies help ensure fair competition for swimmers across the country, and ensure that USA Swimming is running under the utmost transparency as an organization. You can find our most recent USA Swimming Rulebook and various operating policies below.

2024 Proposed Legislation

Please email any comments or questions regarding the proposed legislation to compliance@usaswimming.org. Unless requested otherwise, the comments will be shared with the proposer of the applicable legislation and the Rules & Regulations Committee.

Additional 2023 Rule Changes


USA Swimming Rule 101.4.2 (pp 24) – To Comply with World Aquatics SW6.3

Stroke — The swimmer shall push off on his back and continue swimming on the back throughout the race. Some part of the swimmer must break the surface of the water throughout the race, except it is permissible for the swimmer to be completely submerged during the turn and for a distance of not more than 15 meters (16.4 yards) after the start and after each turn. By that point, the head must have broken the surface of the water. Additionally, once some part of the head of the swimmer has passed the 5 meter mark (long course and short course meters) or 5 yard mark (short course yards) immediately prior to reaching the finish, the swimmer may be completely submerged prior to the touch.

 

Download the rule change.



Multiple USA Swimming Rules – To comply with World Aquatics SW4

 

101.1.2C (pp 21) – On the Starter’s command “take your marks,” the swimmers shall immediately assume their starting position, in the forward start, with at least one foot at the front of the starting platform or the deck. Swimmers starting in the water must have at least one hand in contact with the wall or starting platform. When all swimmers are stationary, the Starter shall give the starting signal.

 

101.1.2D (pp 22) – When a swimmer does not respond promptly to the command "take your marks," the Starter shall immediately release all swimmers with the command "stand up" upon which the swimmers may stand up or step off the blocks.

 

105.3 Figure 1 C (pp 57) – Arm moves to shoulder level — signal to "take your marks"

 

105.3 Figure 1 E (pp 57) – Arm raised overhead with palm up (at any time after C. [“Take Your Marks”] and prior to D. [starting signal] — swimmer released from “Take Your Marks” command)

 

105.3 Figure 2 D (pp 57) – Arm moves to shoulder level — signal to “take your marks

 

105.3 Figure 2 F (pp 57) – Arm raised overhead with palm up (at any time after D. [“Take Your Marks”] and prior to E. [starting signal] — swimmer released from “Take Your Marks” command)

 

701.2.2B (pp 111) – In all starts, the start signal shall be both audible and visible. For fixed platform starts, the Starter shall give the command, “Take your marks,” at which time the swimmers will assume a starting position with at least one foot at the front of the starting platform. When all swimmers are stationary, the Starter shall give the starting signal.

 

701.17.4 (pp 117) – when swimmers are starting from a fixed platform, give the command, “Take your marks,” at which time the swimmers will assume a starting position with at least one foot at the front of the starting platform. When all swimmers are stationary, the Starter shall give the starting signal.

 

Differences Between USA Swimming and USMS Rules – Forward Start (pp 123) – The forward start may be taken from the starting block, the pool deck, or a push from the wall. The forward start or the backstroke start shall be used for freestyle events. The referee’s long whistle indicates that the swimmer may take and maintain a position with at least one foot at the front of the platform or the deck (prior to “take your marks”). On the command, “Take your marks,” the swimmer shall immediately assume the starting position that maintains at least one foot at the front of the platform or the deck.

 

Download the rule change.


As the National Governing Body for the sport of Swimming, USA Swimming is responsible for setting the rules and regulations governing competitive swimming. The USA Swimming Rule Book is the official publication of USA Swimming.

 

Questions regarding USA Swimming Rules and Regulations, or any of the interpretations, may be directed to the Chair of the USA Swimming Rules & Regulations Committee, Derek Paul at swimrulesandregs@gmail.com.

 

 


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