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Interpretation of Rule Changes in Breaststroke and Backstroke -- September 26, 2005

PHOENIX, Arizona, September 26. THE following are the new rules interpretations for the changes made in the breaststroke and backstroke. FINA, the sports governing body, voted on the changes just before the start of the World Championships in Montreal in late July. The new rules went into effect on September 21, with the breast change expected to quicken the event considerably.

Breaststroke

The official interpretation for the changes in the breaststroke is that during, or at the end of the arm pull-down of the first stroke after the start and after each turn, a single downward butterfly kick is allowed, but not required, followed by a breaststroke kick. During the pull-down, if a downward butterfly kick is taken, it must be followed by a breaststroke kick. It is not permissible to take only a downward butterfly kick without then taking a normal breaststroke kick. The downward butterfly kick is not permissible prior to the arm pull-down. In addition, there is now a requirement for all movements of the legs to be “in the same horizontal plane and without alternating movement.”

Backstroke

The official interpretation for the change to the backstroke is that the toes are no longer required to be under the surface of the water at the start. However, the toes are still not allowed to be above the lip of the gutter or curled over the lip of the gutter. The change was actually made so that when full face pads are used (pads that extend above the gutter) there is no requirement to have the toes under the water. From a practical standpoint there is no change when using touchpads that actually hang on the pool gutter.