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MSSL RULES

2017 ADOPTION

#1 Facility, Supplies, Equipment and Organization

Pool

  1. The preferred length is 25 meters or 25 yards.
  2. Dark line in the middle of each lane and end wall targets.
  3. Visible, numbered lanes from right to left at the starting end of the pool as you look down the course.
  4. Water depth - a minimum of 4 feet to allow competitive diving starts.  Less than 4 feet, all swimmers must start in the water.

Equipment for Hosting a Meet

  1. Starting signal or horn – NO WHISTLES – and a PA system or megaphone to announce events.
  2. Three (3) stopwatches for ½ the number of lanes used in competition, as backup for the Dolphin watches, plus 1 extra watch for the Head Timer.
  3. A designated ready bench area.
  4. Backstroke flags (at the 5 yard or 5 meter mark) about 6 feet above the water’s surface at both ends of the pool.
  5. Floating lane lines anchored to the pool wall.
  6. Fifteen meter (16.4 yard) mark on the bottom of the pool, on the lane lines, or orange cones placed on side of the pool at both ends.
  7. MSSL DQ slips printed from the web site.
  8. Hy-Tek Team Manager software, computer and printer to run the meet.
  9. Labels for ribbons – 20 or 30 address size labels per page.
  10. A minimum of twelve (12) clipboards for timers, starter, referee, stroke and turn judges.
  11. Second year teams: add Hy-Tek Meet Manager software and starting blocks if possible.
  12. Starting blocks shall be identical and must be securely bolted to the deck.  The top edge of the starting blocks may be no more than 30 inches above the water’s surface with no more than a 10-degree slope from front to back. The top surface shall be flat and covered with non-skid material. The front edge of the block shall be flush with the pool end wall with a backstroke starting grip parallel to the face of the wall.
  13. Meet place ribbons are supplied by the MSSL.
  14. Rules – one copy with the scorekeepers.

Note: Any team not having the appropriate equipment forfeits the right to host home swim meets.

#2 Team Personnel, Entries, Season and Uniforms

Entries, Heat Sheets, Lane Timer Sheets

  1. Meet entries require using Team Manager software. Visiting team(s) e-mail their meet entries to the host team by the league’s deadline.
  2. The host team e-mails a copy of the merged meet and heat sheet to the visiting team representative(s) and coach(es) at least 24 hours before the meet. Each team is responsible for posting the heat sheet so their parents can download and/or print their own copy. The host team has the option to print and sell heat sheets at the meet.
  3. Copies of the heat sheet are given to the scorekeeper, Referee, starter, backup timer and stroke and turn judges.
  4. The host team prints the Lane Timer Sheets.

Swimmers

  1. Swimmer’s age-calculated on June 1st.
  2. Individual event age groups: (6 and Under) (7-8 / 8 and Under) (9-10 / 10 and Under) (11-12) (13-14) (15-18).
  3. Relay age groups: (8 & Under) (9-10) (11-12) (13-18).
  4. Swimmers are eligible to participate through age 18 or the summer following their senior year in high school.
  5. Each swimmer may enter only 4 events but no more than 3 individual events (3 individual and 1 relay or 2 individual and 2 relays).
  6. Swimmers can swim an individual event above his/her age.  For relays, swimmers may not swim up more than two age groups (6 and Under, no higher than 9-10, 7-8 no higher than 11-12).
  7. Special needs swimmers whose name has been declared to the League President and Meet Referee may swim below his/her age group when appropriate. The swimmer is allowed as an exhibition swimmer earning awards but no team points.
  8. A swimmer must be able to swim their age appropriate distance unassisted.
  9. A swimmer may not swim the same distance/stroke in more than one age group.

Team Entry Limitations

  1. Dual/Tri Meets: no limits on the number of heats unless the teams mutually agree in advance.

Relay Events

  1. Dual/tri meets – each team may enter 3 relay teams per age group but only 2 may score.
  2. Each relay team must be entered with 4 “named” swimmers and up to two alternates.

Entry Procedures

  1. Individual entries are final when entries are exchanged. Individual entry changes prior to the meet are limited to changes required by relay changes. No individual entries may be added prior to the meet.
  2. Only relay changes are permitted prior to the meet. If addition of a swimmer to a relay causes him/her to exceed entry limits, coach shall specify which individual event must be dropped.
  3. Meet changes must be made in writing. Home team changes must be given to the scorekeeper no later than 45 minutes and visiting team no later than 30 minutes prior to the start of the meet. Relay changes (and necessary individual withdrawals) are required; known scratches are encouraged.  Written changes may be made less than 30 minutes prior to the start only if the scorekeeper has time due to the officials’ meeting and lane timer sheet corrections.
  4. The host team shall run an exceptions report prior to the start of each meet.  The scorekeeper will notify coaches of any swimmer who is entered in too many events and the coaches shall specify from which event(s) the swimmer is withdrawn.
  5. If, during the meet, a coach sees that a swimmer is entered in too many events, he/she is required to notify the Meet Referee to get approval to withdraw a swimmer from an event (prior to the swim) without penalty.
  6. An exceptions report should be run after the meet. If a swimmer is shown to be entered in too many events (actual swims and scratches), the scorekeeper will mark the last event the swimmer swims, including relays, as disqualified. 
  7. Updated heat sheets with changes and scratches should be printed and given to the deck referee and starter. Do not reseed heats.

Fees, Insurance, and Eligibility of Swimmers and Teams

The fee schedule is $12 per swimmer. A League commitment fee of $100 per team is due at the January board meeting. The remainder is due by the date set in May by the Board. For late joiners that join after the first registration fee due date, the fee rises to $13 per swimmer. The final date for late joiners is set by the Board. Late team registration fees are assessed late charges set by the Board.

  1. A swimmer must be on team roster to swim at a meet. First roster due to League President at the same time in May as the first registration fees. Final team roster and all late joiner fees are due on the date set by the Board.  Late rosters are subject to a monetary penalty set by the board. 
  2. Swimmer cannot swim for more than one MSSL team during a season. Swimmer may not swim/switch to another MSSL team unless approved by the League officers.
  3. No swimmer may swim a stroke in an individual or relay event for which he/she has obtained a TAGS or SECTIONAL time in a 200 meter/yard or shorter event before or during the swim season in his/her age group. (Note: Individual Medley is considered a separate stroke.) Swimmers may swim up in a higher age group if they have not achieved the TAGS or SECTIONAL time for the higher age group. 
  4. Penalty for violation of previous rule is disqualification from the entire meet during which infraction was identified.
  5. Team reps/coaches must identify any TAGS/SECTIONAL swimmers to the MSSL President before the first scheduled meet. If a TAGS/SECTIONAL time is achieved during a USA Sanctioned Meet before or during the MSSL Season, it is the responsibility of the swimmer and/or parent to inform team reps/coaches as soon as time is achieved, who will in turn notify the League President.
  6. Pool employees may compete if they are bona fide members of the team.

Conduct of Coaches

  1. Coaches shall conduct themselves in a professional manner.
  2. Maintains order of the team’s swimmers and spectators.
  3. Assures that all swimmers are eligible and listed on the team roster registered with the league.
  4. Assures that heat seeding is correct.
  5. Coaches are the only person to make appropriate protests with the Meet Referee.

Training and Certifications of Coaches

  1. Coaches must possess the minimum requirement of:

A. Current Red Cross Lifeguard, First Aid, and Professional Rescuer CPR certifications or

B. Water Safety for Swim Coach’s certification to include First Aid and CPR.

C. Additional preferred requirements may include Water Safety Instructor, Levels 1 and 2 USA Coaches certificates, and a degree in coaching.

  1. Teams must have two certified lifeguards and/or a USAS certified coaches on deck at all practices.
  2. It is the responsibility of each team rep to get a copy of their coaching staff’s certifications for the team files. The team rep shall send an e-mail to the league President no later than May 30 stating that all of the team’s coaching staff hold current and appropriate certifications.
  3. New MSSL head coaches must attend one of the league coaches’ clinics.  Assistant coaches are also urged to attend. Returning head coaches from the previous season must attend an annual short refresher Rules Clinic.
  4. PLEASE MAKE SPECIAL NOTE: In order to be eligible to compete in high school athletics, swimmers must comply with the University Interscholastic League’s (UIL) Amateur Athletic Status Rule (Section 441). It requires students not receive “money or other valuable consideration for teaching or participating in a League sponsored school sport”. However, 441 (b) states “Students may accept reasonable fees that do not exceed local prevailing rates for teaching or coaching activities. Rule 441 further states that “teaching” and “coaching” are synonymous terms.

The UIL Swimming and Diving Manual states: “Valuable consideration is defined as anything wearable, usable or sellable, and includes such items as tee-shirts, hamburger coupons, free or reduced rate tennis racquets, etc.”                                                     

Essentially this means students may be paid to coach or teach and still maintain their UIL eligibility. However, if a student is paid to coach or teach, their UIL eligibility could be impacted if they also compete with the same organization because it could be interpreted that they are receiving some of the payment for participating.

Conduct of Teams

  1. A team that withdraws from a regularly scheduled dual meet or from the Division Championship meet is subject to a fine of $500.00 payable to the MSSL. If a dual meet, half of the fine is paid to the offended team. The entire fine is paid to MSSL if a team withdraws from the Division Championship meet.
  2. Fined teams may not be permitted to continue in MSSL competition for the remainder of the season, and/or may be required to re-apply as a new member the following season.

Season

  1. The first in-the-water practice date is set by the League President or Board.
  2. The dual/tri meet schedule is determined by the MSSL President.
  3. Should a facility conflict arise, the meet shall be re-scheduled by the host team. If poor water quality is the reason for cancellation, the visiting team may offer its facility to contest the meet in. 
  4. Meet weeks run Saturday-Friday.

Uniforms

  1. At meets, swimmers are not allowed to wear the insignia, logos and/or name of any team (on suit or cap) which they do not represent in MSSL competition. The US Flag and Manufacturer’s logos are OK.
  2. Swimmers will be asked to remove the cap or turn the cap/suit inside out. Once warned, swimmers refusing to cooperate are disqualified from all of their events.
  3. Coverings such as T-shirts may be worn over suits if desired for modesty or sun protection.
  4. (Note: Rule concerning wearing of “tech” suits has been deleted.)

#3 Safety

  1. Certified lifeguard: The host team provides a certified lifeguard who has complete authority over safety issues. The guard must be in a guard suit with a first aid kit, lifesaving buoy and whistle. Pools with backboards must have them out and available. 
  2. Medical emergencies: In case of an accident during a scheduled meet, the lifeguard will act as first responder and coaches as second responders.  During team practices, a lifeguard or lifeguard-certified team coach will act as first responder and other coaches as second responders.
  3. Electrical Safety:  All permanent or temporary electrical connections to the electronic equipment, starting system, automatic timing system and other such equipment shall be ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected.  If such receptacles or circuits are not available, portable UL approved self-contained type GFCI outlet fittings shall be provided at the non-protected convenience receptacles by the meet director or equipment operator whenever the equipment is connected and in use.
  4. Baby pools: must be closed during a meet and practice unless an assigned lifeguard is on duty for that area of the pool.
  5. Teaching Racing Starts: Minimum water depth for teaching racing starts in any setting from any height starting block or the deck shall be 6 feet measured for a distance of 3 feet 3 ½ inches to 16 feet 5 inches from the end wall when possible.

#4 Meet Management

Event Orders for Dual, Tri, Championship, and All-Star Meets

Girls #   Age Group          Distance and Stroke   Boys #                                                                                                                 1                    8 & Under                           100  Medley Relay      2                                                                                                                 3          9 - 10                 100  Medley Relay   4                                                                                                           5            11 - 12       200  Medley Relay    6                                                                                                          7          13 - 18                   200  Medley Relay       8                                                                                                    9   6 & Under                       25  Freestyle                          10                                                                                              11                    7 – 8              25  Freestyle                        12                                                                                                        13         9 – 10            25  Freestyle                                14                                                                                                     15        11 – 12                     50  Freestyle               16                                                                                                  17                     13 – 14         50  Freestyle                          18                                                                                                 19                 15 – 18         50  Freestyle                        20                                                                                                  21               8 & Under                      25  Breaststroke      22                                                                                             23        9 – 10                      25  Breaststroke         24                                                                                              25    11 – 12        50  Breaststroke                  26                                                                                                      27                    13 – 14         50  Breaststroke     28                                                                                                              29        15 – 18                     50  Breaststroke        30                                                                                                                 31      10 & Under        100  Ind. Medley          32                                                                                                33      11 – 12      100  Ind. Medley      34                                                                                                35        13 – 14                         100  Ind. Medley  36                                                                                                                         37                  15 – 18                                    100  Ind. Medley          38                                                                                             39     6 & U                  25  Backstroke                      40                                                                                                41      7 – 8                                 25  Backstroke          42                                                                                              43        9 – 10                             25  Backstroke     44                                                                                                         45              11 – 12                           50  Backstroke 46                                                                                             47         13 – 14                            50  Backstroke          48                                                                                                     49        15 – 18                            50  Backstroke     50                                                                                                      51                 8 & Under            25  Butterfly                   52                                                                                                      53                    9 – 10                               25  Butterfly                          54                                                                                              55        11 – 12                            50  Butterfly              56                                                                                             57        13 – 14                            50  Butterfly         58                                                                                              59    15 – 18                            50  Butterfly                   60                                                                                                            61              8 & Under                    100  Freestyle Relay             62                                                                                                                      63    9 - 10          100  Freestyle Relay 64                                                                                                        65        11 - 12                   200  Freestyle Relay    66                                                                                                                    67   13 - 18                  200  Freestyle Relay                    68

  1. Every league meet is to be contested in the correct order – no additions, deletions (unless there are no entries), or modifications.
  2. Heats shall be seeded and swum from slowest to fastest.

Lane Assignments

  1. Dual meets: the visitors compete in the even and home team in the odd numbered lanes. 
  2. Tri meets are always contested using 6 lanes. Host team competes in lanes 1 and 4, the second team competes in lanes 2 and 5, and the third team competes in lanes 3 and 6.
  3. Tri meets using 8 lanes. Host team competes in lanes 2, 5 and 8, the largest visiting team competes in lanes 1, 4 and 7, and the third team competes in lanes 3 and 6.

Transportation

  1. It is the responsibility of each team to provide its own transportation.

#5 Timing

Lane Timers                                                                                              

  1. Lane timers ensure the correct swimmer competes in the proper heat and lane. It is ultimately the swimmer’s responsibility to be at the right place and time for their event.
  2. Lane timers are expected to promptly inform the Referee by raising the hand when the wrong swimmer is in his/her lane.

Official Time

  1. The official time shall be recorded to the hundredth of a second.
  2. Meet Manager in conjunction with the Dolphin Timing System will determine the official time.  If 3 times are entered, Meet Manager will select the middle time. If only two times are entered, Meet Manager will average the two times rounded to the slower hundredth.

Timing

  1. Three (3) timers are required for each lane. Each team is responsible for providing half of the timers and watches needed at a dual meet. At tri meets, each team will provide 1/3 of the timers and watches needed for the meet.
  2. The Dolphin System automatically starts each watch at the flash/sound of the starting device. The timer shall stop the watch when any part of the swimmer touches the finish end.

#6 Scoring and Ribbons

Automated Scoring, Manual Scoring, and Meet Management

  1. Teams are required to purchase Hy-Tek Meet Manager by season two in the league. Teams must have Hy-Tek Meet Manager and Team Manager software to run a meet.

Place

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

Individual

7

5

4

3

2

1

Relay

14

10

8

6

0

0

 Scoring Systems Dual Meets

Place

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

Individual

10

8

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

Relay

20

16

14

12

10

8

0

0

0

 Scoring Systems Tri Meets

  1. Scoring: for individual events, only 3 swimmers per team can score.  For relay events, 2 relays per team can score.
  2. Ties: When two or more swimmers tie, the points of the places involved shall be added together and divided equally among the tied participants. Example: two swimmers tie for 2nd place – points scored of 5 and 4 are added and divided by 2, with each swimmer earning 4 ½ points. The next place finisher is 4th.
  3. Interrupted Meets: the following policies will apply when meets are interrupted for bad weather or other unforeseen events.
  • If event 38 has been completed, the meet score will stand. 
  • If event 38 has not been completed, the meet may be rescheduled, but is not required. 
  • If the meet is delayed for more than an hour before event 38 is completed, then the meet will be postponed until a later date.
  • Both teams shall agree upon a date and time to reschedule the meet at the time the postponement is announced.  If not rescheduled, the score will be recorded as a zero to zero tie.  If the meet is rescheduled, then the meet and score will continue from the point where the postponement occurred.
  • Entries shall remain as they were at the time of the original exchange unless all participating teams agree to allow changes.
  • Any points scored by an ineligible swimmer shall be subtracted from the offending team’s total and added to the offended team’s total.  An ineligible swimmer is defined as a swimmer whose name does not appear on the official team roster filed with the league.
  • Power or computer failure: Continue running the Dolphin equipment as usual and writing the times on the lane timer sheets. Note: The home team needs to continue having the Dolphin laptop console plugged in or the watches will malfunction. The hand-scored meet data will be transferred to the Meet Manager software and the meet results will be given to both teams within 48 hours after the meet ends.
  • Meet Referee shall verify the score is correct and sign score sheet thus establishing the Official Results. The Official Results shall not be changed unless, within 24 hours after completion of the meet, a team representative brings to the attention of the Meet Referee or a MSSL officer an error which affects the outcome of the meet. If errors are found that affect awards but do not change the outcome of the meet, teams may provide additional awards to affected swimmers.
  • The host team will provide a copy of the meet results to the visiting team by either downloading onto a flash drive provided by the visiting team or sending via e-mail.  If e-mailed, the information will be sent within 24 hours of the meet’s conclusion.

Ribbons

  1. Place ribbons are based solely on how a swimmer finishes in the pool and are independent of the points scored by that swimmer.  The scorekeeper shall print the ribbon labels at the end of the meet by team name & athlete. Each team shall individually affix labels to ribbons provided at the beginning of the season.  If the printer fails to operate, the host team will print the ribbon labels and then deliver the labels to the visiting team within 48 hours after the meet ends.
  2. In dual meets, ribbons are awarded for 1st – 6th place for individual and relay events. In tri meets, ribbons are awarded for 1st – 9th place for individual events and relay events.
  3. Ribbon labels shall be printed with age group, event, time, date and opponent during the meet and given to the coaches at the meet’s conclusion.
  4. Heat ribbons are at the discretion (and cost) of any team choosing to provide them.

#7 Officials’ Duties and Technical Rules

Introduction

  1. USA Swimming Rules for strokes, starts and relays shall apply for all MSSL meets. While the MSSL does make some minor exceptions or modifications, the USA Swimming Rules are the final authority in any matters not specifically covered by this document. The applicable rules are reproduced in Appendix I. MSSL does not require backstroke turning action to be “immediate continuous” (See Appendix 1 – 101.4.3).
  2. All referees, starters, and stroke and turn judges must attend an annual MSSL re-certification training class. Officials with current certification from recognized swimming organizations such as USA Swimming and TISCA may participate at their current level of certification without attending the MSSL training.
  3. All officials (referee, starter, stroke judges) must be present 30 minutes prior to the meet wearing dark blue or navy pants/shorts/skirt and a white shirt. Officials are not allowed to wear team shirts. Failure to wear appropriate clothing will result in a judge’s inability to officiate at the meet.

Officials’ Requirements

  1. All officials shall report immediately to the Meet Referee. The host team arranges for the Meet Referee and Starter. Each team is responsible for providing stroke and turn judges.

A. Under severe manpower constraints, the Referee and Starter’s duties can be assumed by the same individual, although is not recommended.

B. Stroke and or turn judges may not be coaches from either competing team.

Enforcement of the Rules

  1. All MSSL competitions will be conducted in accordance with current MSSL League Rules.
  2. The start, stroke, and finish rules for six and under age group need not be rigidly enforced. However, if the Referee feels that a significant, unfair advantage is being obtained through gross violation of the rules, especially in the backstroke events, a DQ will be made.  The key words in this section are “unfair advantage”.

No six and under may be entered in a meet if they need assistance.

  1. The start, stroke, turn and finish rules must be uniformly and consistently applied to all other age groups.
  2. Video equipment cannot be used to verify or dispute any officiating decisions made during any meet.

Starting Safety Issues

  1. Water Depth vs. Starting Block Height: Water Depth at starting end must be 48 inches or more to use starting blocks or to start from the pool deck. If the pool depth is less than 48 inches, all swimmers must start in water. This rule also applies for relay starts at the other end of the pool (starting end for the 2nd and 4th relay swimmers of 100 yard/meter relays).
  2. When one or more starting blocks are not securely anchored to the pool deck, all swimmers must start in the water or from the deck.
  3. It is the Meet Referee’s responsibility to determine the security of the starting blocks before the start of the meet. This is an important safety matter .

Starting Procedures

  1. The MSSL Whistle Starting Procedure described below is consistent with the current USA Swimming Rules.
  2. Step-by-Step Whistle Start Procedure
  • Referee: 4 to 6 whistle blasts. The whistle blasts signify that it is time for the next heat to get ready to step onto the blocks or into the water. These should generally occur as the slowest swimmer in the previous heat finishes.
  • Starter:  for the first heat of an event announces event number, age, gender, distance, stroke and heat. Example: “Event 15, 11-12 Girls 50 yard Freestyle, Heat 1” for subsequent heats announces heat number only. Example “Heat 2”
  • Referee: 1 long whistle blast. This is the signal for the swimmers to step onto the blocks or into the water. This whistle should occur as the previous heat is clearing the water.
  • Referee: Additional long whistle blast if backstroke or medley relay. This is the signal for the swimmers to return to the wall and to position their feet.
  • Referee: When all the swimmers are on the blocks/at the wall and he/she is satisfied the pool is clear and timers are ready, fully extends arm towards the Starter. This signals that the heat is closed and the swimmers are now under the control of the Starter.
  • Starter: “Take your mark.”  When all the swimmers become stationary, sound the starting signal “BEEP”.
  • Swimmers swim…
  1. Swimmers who arrive to compete after the Referee closes the heat will not be allowed to swim and are disqualified from that race. (The Referee may waive this rule if the late arrival was not the fault of the swimmer.)
  2. On the Starter’s command “Take your mark,” the swimmers immediately assume a legal starting position.  For forward starts, one foot must be at the front of the block or at the pool edge. For forward starts in the water, the swimmer must have one hand and both feet in contact with the end wall and be facing down-course, i.e., a backstroke start is not permitted.  For backstroke starts, the swimmer must be facing the end wall, have both hands in contact with the starting block or deck, and both feet in contact with the end wall. The toes may be above or beneath the water but below the gutter.
  3. A swimmer may forward start from the pool deck, but must adhere to the restrictions regarding foot/feet placement, motion, etc.
  4. For backstroke starts (individual and medley relay events), swimmers must enter the water feet first on command of the Referee (first long whistle). This is a safety issue and must be strictly enforced. Violators may be disqualified.
  5. After entering the water, competitors must not move beyond the nearer backstroke flags. Upon the second long whistle, they are required to promptly take a position in their assigned lanes, facing the starting blocks (pool deck), with both hands grasping any part of the blocks, end wall, or gutter.
  6. Standing in or on the gutter or curling the toes over the lip of the gutter is not permitted at any time before or after the start.

Relay Starts

  1. The starting rules noted above apply only to the leadoff (first) swimmer of relay teams.
  2. Succeeding swimmers may place their feet in any position on the starting block that they desire. If they start from the pool deck, at least on foot must be at the edge of the pool. They shall not employ any sort of running start from the pool deck.
  3. Second, third and fourth swimmers may be in motion as the preceding swimmer approaches the wall, but they must not lose contact with block (pool deck or end wall) before a touch is made by the incoming swimmer.
  4. Second, third or fourth swimmers who start in the water must adhere to the forward start rules. The swimmer may be in motion but must not lose contact with the end wall before the incoming swimmer has touched the wall.
  5. Swimmers are required to exit the water promptly upon the completion of their leg of the race.
  6. Relay team members who do not swim in the order designated on the heat sheet for that event will cause that team to be disqualified. It is the coach’s responsibility to ensure that relay team members swim in the proper order.
  7. For a violation by an individual member of a relay team, the entire relay team is disqualified from that event.
  8. A swimmer who enters the pool before all swimmers in the race have finished will disqualify the relay team he/she represents.

False Starts and Delay

  1. Any swimmer starting before the signal is given shall be disqualified if the Referee observes and confirms the Starter’s observation that a violation occurred. Swimmers remaining on the starting blocks shall be relieved from their starting positions with the “Stand up,” command and may step off the blocks. For backstroke, the swimmers shall be relieved with the “Stand down” command and may move away from the wall.  The Starter shall then restart the race upon the signal by the Referee.  Great care must be exercised that any illegal motion was a false start and not the result of a slip, a failure to be completely set, etc. It is primarily the Starter’s responsibility to ensure that starts are fair, assisted by the Referee as necessary.
  2. Once the starting signal is activated, the race will normally continue without recall. However, if the Starter or Referee feels that the start was unfair the race may be recalled.
  3. If the starting signal has been given before a disqualification is declared, the race shall continue without recall. If the Referee independently observes and confirms the Starter’s observation that a violation occurred, the swimmer(s) who has false started shall be notified of the disqualification upon completion of the race.
  4. If a recall signal is activated inadvertently, no swimmer shall be charged with a false start, and the Starter shall restart the race upon signal by the Referee.
  5. Any swimmer who delays the start by entering the water or deliberately disobeys a command to step on the blocks or take a starting position, or by any other misconduct at the start may be disqualified from the event by the Starter with the concurrence of the Referee.
  6. The Referee shall disqualify a swimmer who fails to appear at the starting platform ready to swim in time for the initial start of her/his race.  Such disqualification shall not be charged as a false start.

Officials and Their Duties

Meet Referee

  1. Has complete responsibility for a speedy and impartial conduct of the competition. He/she may overrule any other official(s) on a point of interpretation or a judgment decision pertaining to any action he/she personally observes.
  2. Inspects the pool before the competition begins to ensure that all of the necessary equipment is properly in place and in compliance with the rules to include the matter of safety.
  3. Assigns stroke, turn, finish, and relay take-off judges as necessary and reviews their respective responsibilities and jurisdictions.
  4. Ensures that the meet progresses in a timely manner and orders an event to proceed immediately when one or more competitors fail to report promptly. Events will not be held up for late swimmers.                               
  5. Ensures, when possible, the swimmer or their coach is promptly notified of a disqualification and the reason. This is ideally done prior to the start of the next event.
  6. Assists the Starter with fair starts and has the authority to recall any race which he/she deems unfair.
  7. Prohibits the use of any artificial noisemaker during the competition.
  8. Signals by raising one hand with the palm open, immediately on observing any swimming violation.
  9. Postpones or suspends competition in the event of inclement weather, darkness, or other unexpected circumstances at his/her discretion.
  10. Promptly gives a decision on any point where the opinions of judges disagree.
  11. Renders decisions on any point not specifically covered by these and/or the USA Swimming Rules.
  12. The Referee is the final authority on any protest lodged regarding the competition itself and her/his decision is final.

Starter

1.Announces events prior to each heat

2.Ensures all swimmers have a fair and equitable start

Stroke and Turn Judges

  1. Stroke Judges shall operate along either side of the pool and inspect the strokes in their respective halves of the course. Observes stroke activity from end wall to end wall and ensures the swimmers comply with the applicable stroke rules.
  2. Turn and Finish Judges shall operate at both ends of the pool and insure that when turning or finishing, the swimmer complies with the turning and finishing rules applicable to the stroke used.
  3. In a 5 lane pool when all five lanes are being used, one stroke judge will watch lanes 1 and 2 while the other watches lanes 3-5.
  4. Only one Stroke Judge is permitted on either side of the pool unless a trainee is doing observation. However, certain pool configurations may make it necessary and/or desirable to modify this requirement. This is a Referee’s decision.
  5. Signals by raising one hand with the palm open, immediately on observing any swimming violation.
  6. Reports violations to the Referee immediately following the completion of the race. It is generally the responsibility of the Stroke or Turn Judge who made the call to notify the swimmer or coach of the nature of the violation and the DQ. However, it may at times be in the interest of timely meet progress for some other official to make the notification.
  7. It is permitted to combine the duties of the Stroke, Turn and Finish Judges.

Relay Take Off Judges

  1. Relay Takeoff Judges shall assume a position on the side(s) of the pool at the takeoff end(s) where they shall first observe the feet of the departing swimmer on the takeoff, then the touch of the incoming swimmer’s hand, and shall judge whether the swimmer is in contact with the platform or pool deck when the incoming swimmer touches the end of the pool.
  2. Signals by raising one hand with the palm open, immediately on observing any violation.
  3. Reports violations to the Referee immediately following the completion of the race.
  4. When possible, should not have any other duties during the swimming of the relays (such as stroke and turn judging) and should not observe more than 4 active lanes.

Disqualifications (DQs)

  1. Only the official within whose jurisdiction a violation has been observed can make a DQ. Under certain conditions, however, jurisdictions may overlap.                                                                                                                                                     2. The Referee and/or official shall seek out the swimmer and coach and inform them as to the reason for the disqualification when possible.
  1. In the case of collusion to foul or interfere with another swimmer, the Referee shall disqualify all swimmers from the offending team in that event.
  2. For all MSSL meets, coaches shall not interfere with ANY meet official during the progress of the meet.
  3. A disqualification is not valid if the official does not raise her/his hand with the palm open when the violation is observed. Please note the previous exception for early relay take-offs.
  4. Any observed violation of the legal stroke, turn and finish forms is grounds for a disqualification.
  5. A swimmer or relay team must swim the entire race in their assigned heat and lane. Any violation of this requirement will result in disqualification.
  6. Leaving the pool during a race is not permitted nor is a failure to finish a race. Violation of any one of these requirements will result in disqualification.
  7. Body oil is also permitted, but if the Referee feels it is excessive, she/he may order the body oil removed.
  8. Any swimmer who enters the water without permission of the Referee at any time is subject to DQ from their current or next event.

Protests

  1. Protests against the judgment decision of starters, stroke, turn, finish, and relay take-off judges can only be considered by the Meet Referee, whose decision shall be final.
  2. For consideration of other protests lodged at a meet, the Meet Referee may (but is not required to) appoint a meet jury. The jury shall consist of no fewer than 3, or more than 5 persons, including at least one coach and one athlete.
  3. Protests made prior to the race contesting the eligibility of a swimmer to compete or to represent an organization shall be made to the Meet Referee in writing. If a protest is not resolved, the Meet Referee or the Meet Jury shall allow the swimmer to compete under protest, and it shall be so announced before the race.
  4. All other competition-related protests, including protests concerning eligibility, must be made to the Meet Referee and submitted in writing within 30 minutes after the race in which the alleged infraction occurred.
  5. If the protest is not resolved immediately, the protesting Team Representative may within 36 hours file a written protest accompanied by $100.00 to a League Officer for Executive Board adjudication at the earliest possible time which shall then be binding on all parties.  Any monies received with protests are non-refundable unless the protest is resolved in favor of the protester.

#8 Violations

Violations will be called and disqualifications assessed in all heats

Individual Events: Swimmers are subject to disqualification for any of the following:

  • One false start
  • Illegal stroke
  • Illegal kick
  • Illegal body position
  • Illegal turn
  • Illegal finish
  • Standing on the pool bottom, except in freestyle
  • Pushing off the bottom
  • Using the lane lines to assist forward progress
  • Interfering with a swimmer in another lane
  • Re-entering the water after having left the pool upon the completion of the race or relay
  • Entering the water without permission of the Referee
  • Use of illegal equipment
  • Swimming in the wrong event, lane, or heat
  • Entering another lane during, or after, a race
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct

Relays: Relays are subject to disqualification for any of the following:

  • All reasons for which an individual event swimmer can be disqualified.
  • Illegal/early relay take-offs.
  • Failure of any of the first three swimmers to exit the water immediately after completing their part of the race.
  • Any relay swimmer re-entering the water after their part of the race is completed.
  • Failure to list relay team members in the team entry at any meets.

Meet in General

  • Any swimmer, coach, parent, or spectator can be removed from a meet by the Referee for unsportsmanlike conduct.

#9 Division Championship Meet Rules

Previous Rules and Participation

  1. All rules observed in dual/tri meets remain in force for the Championship Meet except where specifically noted.
  2. All swimmers who have participated in at least one dual/tri meet may participate in the Championship Meet.
  3. Swimmers must be entered with times for each of their events. NT entries will not be accepted.
  4. Heats in the Division Championship Meets will be seeded and swum from slowest to fastest.
  5. A team whose census adjusted positively or negatively from the preceding year may be realigned to a different Division Championship Meet if the MSSL Board deems it appropriate.

Entries

  1. Teams must enter the Championship using their assigned four-letter code.
  2. Individual Entries:  All Divisions may enter each swimmer in only 4 events with a maximum of 3 individual events.
  3. Teams are limited to 2 relay entries per relay event, with no limits for individual events.
  4. Swimmers MAY NOT participate on a relay team unless officially entered into the meet, i.e. individual swimmers must be entered into at least one individual event in order to be eligible to swim on a relay team. RELAY ONLY SWIMMERS ARE NOT ALLOWED! All relays must be named on relay cards and given to the Head Scorekeeper no later than 30 minutes prior to the start of the meet.  Violations result in disqualification.
  5. Each team will download their division’s Championship Meet events set-up from the league web site and use it to make their meet entries.
  6. Seed times must be in yards.
  7. Team entries to be e-mailed to the league’s designated person no later than 12 noon on the day set by the league prior to the Division Championship Meet.  A monetary penalty of $100 per day will be assessed for up to 48 hours past the deadline. Entries more than 48 hours late will not be accepted and cause the team to forfeit.

Entry Fees

  1. Entry fees are covered by the swimmer fee paid at the beginning of the season.

Awards

  1. Medals will be awarded for places 1-3 for individual events and relay teams.
  2. Ribbons will be awarded for places 4-16
  3. Team banners will be awarded to 1st – 3rd place teams in each division.
  4. The 1st place finishers from each Division’s individual and relay events automatically qualify for the All-Star Meet.  Remaining qualifiers are the next top times from any of the divisions for a total of one heat of individual and relay events.
  5. (Note: Rule concerning high point awards has been deleted.)

Scoring

Place

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

10th

11th

12th

13th

14th

15th

16th

Individual

20

17

16

15

14

13

12

11

9

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

Relay

40

34

32

30

28

26

24

22

18

14

12

10

8

6

4

2

Meet Officials

  1. The league shall call on participating teams to provide officials as needed.

#10 All-Star Meet Rules

Previous Rules and Participation

  1. All rules observed in dual/tri meets remain in force for the All-Star Meet except where specifically noted.
  2. The 1st place winner from each Division Championship Meet shall automatically be entered in the All-Star Meet.  The next top times from any division automatically qualify to equal one heat that fills all available lanes (next 2 times for 6 lane pool; next 4 times for 8 lane pool).
  3. One (1) heat of each event shall swim. If there is a tie for the final place, the qualifying swimmer will be chosen by a coin flip. The swimmer who is not selected may report to the Deck Referee prior to the start of the heat and will be allowed to swim if an empty lane is available.

Entries – All-Star Meet

  1. The top times will automatically be entered in the All-Star Meet. Disk entries are not required.
  2. If a swimmer/relay cannot compete in the All-Star Meet, the lane remains vacant.
  3. Relay teams must swim at least 3 of the 4 swimmers who placed at the Division Championship Meet.  Violations will disqualify the offending team.
  4. Entry fees are covered by the swimmer fee paid at the beginning of the season.

Awards

  1. Medals will be awarded for places 1-3 for individual events and relay teams.
  2. Ribbons awarded for places 4 – 6th or 8th place depending upon where the meet is hosted.
  3. Places are determined by times.

Meet Location, Date, Sales (Programs, All-Star Items, and Concessions)

  1. If the meet is held at one of the league’s pools, it is at no cost to the league, and is swum within one week immediately following the Championship Meets.
  2. All proceeds from items sold at the Meet belong to the league.  The league may wish to share a percentage of the profits from concessions with the host team in exchange for the host team’s services to help organize and run the stand.
  3. If a natatorium is used, the natatorium rules dictate which sales belong to the MSSL.

Meet Officials

  1. The league shall call on participating teams to provide officials as needed.
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