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Swimming rules committee recommends synchronized diving

The event would be optional in non-championship, invitational events

Synchronized diving may be headed to NCAA competition next season.

The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Swimming Rules Committee recommended during its meeting last week that synchronized diving be an event option in non-championship and invitational meets, starting in the 2015-16 academic year.

All rules proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to discuss the swimming and diving rules recommendations via conference call on June 24.

If the teams in a dual-, tri- or quad-meet agree to have synchronized diving, it can replace either the one-meter or three-meter diving events – or both. In invitational meets, synchronized swimming can replace any springboard or platform diving event.

The use of synchronized diving must be mutually agreed to by all the coaches involved in the meet or invitational.

A synchronized diving competition would consist of five dives from each same-gendered pair, and a minimum of three diving judges must be used.

The committee’s rationale for making the recommendation centers on the sport’s increasing popularity.

“It is growing at the youth levels and at the Olympic level,” said Todd Peters, committee chair and Minnesota State University Moorhead women’s swimming coach. “We want to allow our athletes to be a part of synchronized swimming. This gives them the chance to do that.”

Backstroke starting blocks

The committee recommended making the use of backstroke starting blocks permissible.

The devices have been developed by manufacturers, and the committee wants to allow them if swimming programs choose. The backstroke starting blocks are designed to help prevent competitors from slipping at the start of their races.

Fast finish

Committee members also recommended conferences be allowed to add the 100-yard individual medley to championship competition. This option, like synchronized diving, is not required but, if approved, would be allowed.

The event would follow the 1,650-yard freestyle competition on the final day of the meet. The race is commonly held as the last event of international meets.

“If you ask most swimmers what their favorite event is, most would say the 100 IM,” Peters said. “It’s a quick event where all four strokes are used. It is something everyone likes to do. Being able to hold this event at the end of a conference meet is really going to add a different flavor on the last day of the meet. It is important to do things that are exciting for the spectators and the participants.”

Other recommendations made by the committee include:

  • After the turn in breaststroke races, swimmers will be allowed to do a single butterfly kick before their first breaststroke kick.
  • For backstroke starts involving deaf or hearing-impaired swimmers, a strobe light should be positioned so swimmers don’t have to look back to view it.