Are the planets aligned? Did I miss a total eclipse of the sun? Are the Democrats and Republicans agreeing on something?
Because something strange must have happened to allow a substantial rule change in high school diving!
The National Federation of High School Associations Swimming and Diving Rules Committee recently added several new rules, including one designed to take into account the varying types, and innovations in the forward approach.
Plainly spoken, they are allowing a hop hurdle. And I know this will make a great many divers very happy!
The new rule, which was approved at National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) held in Indianapolis March 27-29, is as follows:
The forward approach shall begin with not less than three steps and finish with a hurdle, defined as a jump off one foot to a landing on both feet at the end of the board. The diver may use additional steps, hops, leaps and/or jumps between the initial three steps and the culminating hurdle. The forward takeoff shall be from both feet simultaneously to an adequate height to perform the dive.
According to the NFHS, the rule was revised to reflect current trends in the sport. And you have to applaud them for making this change since this type of hurdle is becoming so prevalent in the sport, especially among women.
I won’t say that the NFHS’s hand was forced, but a decision had to made as to whether the hurdle was going to become a legal part in high school diving. It's not like the hurdle was not being done, but many a question had surfaced over the past few years as to whether it was legal or not, with many divers being forced to change their hurdle for high school and then revert back for USA Diving or AAU competitions.
The only downside here could be many divers looking at this as an encouragement to try a different hurdle, when what they should be doing is refining fundamentals in a classic hurdle.
But the NFHS made the right decision, and maybe this decision will prompt a look at other antiquated rules that are currently in effect that do not reflect current trends.
DD Changes & Flying Dives
The D.D. changes come on three dives, which puts those dives in synch with the current FINA degree of difficulties: a back somersault 3 1/2 twists moves to 3.2, a forward somersault 3 twists moves to 2.8, and a triple twisting 1 1/2 moves to 3.1.
Despite the fact that I have never seen a flying 1 ½ in high school, the rule now states that the diver must hold the flying, or straight position until vertical in a forward 1 ½.
Again, the NFHS is to be commended on this attempt to stay current with what is happening outside of high school, in the broader world of diving competition.
One change that will no doubt bring about some interesting twists to high school diving is the ability to seed divers in meets based on score.
Divers are currently placed, or “seeded,” in an order based on finish for semi-finals and finals in all USA Diving, AAU and FINA sanctioned meets, but this occurs after prelims. What will happen in high school is that the divers will be seeded based on a submitted score. Now will that score be accurate or not, who knows …. and let the gamesmanship begin!
There are lots of positives and negatives in this rule, so it will take some time to see if it is really feasible, and right now it is not mandatory, the meet manager has the option to seed, or not to seed.
All in all, the NFHS made prudent changes for high school diving - changes that reflect the direction of the sport as a whole.
Now maybe if they can just take a look at that crow hop thing, or rocking the board. And do high school divers really need to do eleven dives, when the many can’t come up with four good optionals!