Swimming & Diving (Boys) 

  • The NYSDOH has determined that swimming & diving is a low/moderate-risk sport (greatest ability to maintain physical distance and/or be performed individually; greatest ability to (1) avoid touching of shared equipment, (2) clean and disinfect any equipment between uses by different individuals, or (3) not use shared equipment at all). 

    On June 11, 2020 NYSDOH provided Interim Guidance for Pools and Recreational Aquatic Spray Grounds During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Schools should review this guidance for swimming & diving teams. 

    The following is included in the aforementioned NYSDOH pool guidance: 

    • Ensure that all individuals maintain a distance of at least six feet from other individuals at all times, unless they are members of the same household or family unit, or safety or the core activity requires a shorter distance. 

        • However, any time individuals are within six feet of individuals outside of their household or family unit and not in the water, they must wear an acceptable face covering that covers both the nose and mouth. Individuals must be prepared to don a face covering if another person unexpectedly comes within six feet. 
        • For health and safety concerns, ensure face coverings are not worn by individuals while they are in the water.

    • Limit the maximum size of any single group of people on the premise or in the water to 10 or fewer individuals; however, there may be more than one group on premise or in water so long as they are able to be separated by at least six feet; 

        • Occupancy of the premise and pool should be limited to the number of individuals and groups who can be safely and appropriate spaced such that each individual and group is at least six feet away from others. 
        • Ensure different groups of people are separated by at least six feet on the premise or in the water, to the extent possible. 
        • However, if physical barriers are used to separate groups of individuals, they must not present a health or safety risk by obstructing supervision or impairing air flow, heating, cooling, or ventilation. 

    General Considerations: 

    • Swimming Warm-up Areas -E stablish multiple sessions for warm-up periods to limit number of swimmers per lane. Restrict the number of swimmers in competition area. Limit number of swimmers per lane during warm-up and warm-down periods. 
    • Diving Warm-up Areas - Limit number of divers during warm-up by creating multiple sessions. During competition, divers may not approach the board until their turn to compete. Hot tubs should not be permitted. Dive order sheets should be posted in multiple areas to reduce number of divers viewing at the same time. 
    • Teams Seating and Lane Placement - Keep team benches on opposite sides of the pool. Prior to the meet, the coaches may agree to use lanes 1-3 and 4-6 for their team’s lane placement. If the coaches do not agree, then lane placement will default to the NFHS rule using every other lane for placement of swimmers from each team. (waiver of NFHS Rule approved by NYSPHSAA Officers 11-16-20) 
      • Preparing Athletes for Competition - Athlete clerking areas should be eliminated. 
      • Warm down for Relay teams – Keep proper social distancing of six feet. 


    Rule Considerations: 

      • Conduct (1-3-2) -Recommend athletes to arrive at venue already in competitive attire or provide alternative accommodations for swimmers and divers to change that allows for six feet of social distancing. 
      • Lap Counting (2-7-6, 3-4) -Only one person per lane should be permitted at turning end. Provide hand sanitizer and require lap counters to clean hands and wipe down devices. 
      • Pre-Meet Conference (3-3-6, 4-2-1d) -Decrease number of participants or hold one conference with coaches and one meeting with captains. The referee can use P.A. system or starting system microphone to allow participants to hear but keep them properly separated. Participants in the pre-conference must wear masks and only one captain per team is allowed. 
      • Meet Officials (4-8, 4-10, 4-11, 4-12, 4-13) -Officials responsible for information processing are often located together at a desk/table adjacent to the competition course or in an office/remote location. Develop alternative methods for submitting entries (3-2) and movement of nonelectronic information. Require a distance of six feet between individuals seated at the desk/table. 
      • Timers (4-9) -Timers must assemble at the finish of each race, at the edge of the pool within the 6-8 feet confines of the lane which they are timing. 
      • Submission of Entries to Referee (5-2) -Alternative forms of entry submission can be designed to reduce face-to-face interaction when submitting a proper entry, where/how/to whom entries are submitted, and a reduction or elimination of certain penalties currently attached to improper entries. Coaches must submit their lineups to the table prior to the meet but may make changes during the meet. This rule will be in place for the 2020-21 season only. (waiver of NFHS Rule approved by NYSPHSAA Officers 11-16-20) 
      • Relay Takeoff Judges and Relays (8-3) -Require all takeoff judging from the sides of the pool. Space relay swimmers apart from one another. 
      • Diving Officials (9-6) -Alternative methods for submitting entries (3-2) and movement of non-electronic information will be required. Recommendations include a distance of six feet between individuals seated at the desk/table. Create a six foot space between judges by spacing groups of judges on opposite sides of boards or on one side of the board on a multi-level platform.  

    Considerations for Officials: 

    • Officials are responsible for meet management, which does not include monitoring activities in the facility such as social distancing, face coverings, hand washing, symptoms of illnesses and other such issues. This monitoring obligation remains with the responsible parties. 
    • Bring personal hand sanitizer. Wash hands frequently. 
    • Don’t share equipment. 
    • Consider using electronic whistle. 
    • Do not shake hands and maintain social distancing guidelines during pre and post-game ceremonies. 

    Considerations for Coaches: 

    • Communicate your guidelines in a clear manner to students and parents. 
    • Consider conducting workouts in “cohorts” of same students always training and rotating together in practice to ensure more limited exposure if someone develops an infection. 
    • Keep accurate records of those athletes and staff who attend each practice in case contact tracing is needed. 

    Considerations for Students: 

    • Consider making each student responsible for their own supplies. 
    • Students should wear their own appropriate workout clothing (do not share clothing), and individual clothing/towels should be washed and cleaned after every workout immediately upon returning home. 
    • Bring own water bottle. 

    Considerations for Parents: 

    • Provide personal items for your child and clearly label them. 
    • Spectators should not congregate around the finish area, deck or student entry to venue. 
    • In accordance with NYSDOH guidance (Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Sports and Recreation), only two spectators per participant are permitted. 


    The NFHS rules which govern high school swimming and diving competition assume that such competition will be "head-to-head" with ALL participants engaging in an environment that is identical for all and thus equitable to all. "Virtual" competition cannot provide such identical conditions, however. With that understanding, there are no NFHS rules provisions that would prohibit “virtual” competition when unique conditions, such as a pandemic, necessitate its use. The following practices and suggestions are a compilation of guidance from the NFHS and NYSPHSAA to guide member schools in overseeing “virtual” swimming and diving competition. 


    • Competition for each team/school involved should take place in a venue that meets all requirements of Rule 2 (Pool, Lanes, and Equipment Specifications) and Rule 9 (Diving Competition), with special emphasis on risk minimization. 
    • Competition should be officiated by qualified personnel of sufficient number (see Rule 4-1-3) to assure fair results at each location. The meet must be conducted under the supervision of a meet referee who is a duly certified NFHS or state association registered official. The official(s) may not be coaches of any team involved in the meet. 
    • All rules regarding athlete, participation and conduct should apply; technical rules for competition (Rules 8 and 9) should be enforced. Entries shall follow all NFHS rules for each event. 
    • The course must be the same at each site. All teams must compete in short course yards or short course meters. 
    • NYSPHSAA has determined its member schools should follow NISCA standards for All-America qualifications. 


    • The NFHS suggests state associations consider whether a swimmer achieving a qualifying time from the "virtual" competition be permitted for any purposes other than deciding the outcome of the immediate "virtual" competition. NYSPHSAA has determined it will permit any qualifying times achieved during “virtual” competition may be used for postseason events. (Approved by NYSPHSAA Officers 11-16-20) 
    • NYSPHSAA has determined fully automatic timing should be used when available. 
    • State associations may permit competition to be conducted using manual watches or semiautomatic timed results. Fully automatic timing is the most equitable in a “virtual” situation, but some facilities may not be able to offer that environment. Be aware that it will not be possible for the meet referee or other official to perform an across-the-board place pick to serve as a "check" on the times from stop watches/buttons. Regardless, it is recommended but not required the same timing protocol should be used at all venues involved in the "virtual" competition. 
    • The NFHS suggests state associations consider whether "breaks" in the competitive program will be permitted in addition to the required break following the 50-yard freestyle. State association may need to stipulate the pace of the meet and determine if extended pauses between events will be permitted. NYSPHSAA has determined it will permit breaks during the competitive program, as needed, in addition to the required break following the 50-yard freestyle however breaks for both teams must take place during the same points of the virtual meet. Example: If schools want a second break within the meet they must agree after what race the second break will occur. 
    • NYSPHSAA will follow NFHS rules pertaining to race configurations and diving order. Exhibition swimmers and divers will be permitted in a virtual meet but should be noted on entry cards. 
    • Lane Scoring – The home team’s pool will determine the number of lanes scored in the meet. If both coaches agree, teams may use the same number of lanes at each pool for scoring purposes. 


    • The NFHS suggests state associations consider whether scores from the "virtual" competition be permitted for any purposes other than deciding the outcome of the immediate "virtual" competition. NYSPHSAA has determined it will permit any scores from "virtual" competition to be used for postseason events provided the 11 dive and 5 judges criteria are met. 
    • NEW RULE: For virtual meets, participating schools may have either one or two judges to score points toward the meet. Participating schools do not need to have the same number of judges to score points in diving. (Approved by NYSPHSAA Officers 1/11/21) 
    • [PREVIOUS RULE: For virtual meets, if both participating schools have only one judge, each school may score points toward the meet. However, if one school has two judges and one school has one judge, only the school with two judges may score points towards the meet. The school with one judge will participate in exhibition. (Approved by NYSPHSAA Officers 1-7-21)] [PREVIOUS RULE: Divers will be judged by different sets of officials. NYSPHSAA has determined a minimum of two certified judges must be used at each school. Diving may be conducted with one judge at a site if a school cannot secure a certified judge, however, the school with just one judge will not score points during that virtual meet. (Approved by NYSPHSAA Officers 11-16-20)]