LAUSANNE, Switzerland, March 26. IN a list of the various rule changes set to be discussed at the FINA Bureau meeting this summer, the Technical Swimming Congress will officially discuss allowing multiple dolphin kicks on the start of any breaststroke race for up to a distance of 15 meters.
This proposal was first made public in February, when Russian swimming federation President Vladimir Salnikov suggested it in a letter. Salnikov said the proposal was mentioned in a meeting of LEN, the European swimming federation, last December and was set to be submitted to FINA.
Following is the official wording of the proposed rule change:
After the start, the swimmer may take one arm stroke completely back to the legs during which the swimmer may be completely submerged for a distance of not more than 15 metres. Multiple Butterfly kicks are permitted while completely submerged.
Once the swimmer's head breaks the surface of the water, the stroke cycle must be one arm stroke and one leg kick in that order. All movements of the arms shall be simultaneous and on the same horizontal plane without alternating movement. At the last stroke before the turn and at the finish an arm stroke not followed by a leg kick is permitted.
The proposed rule change comes with a “Bureau Recommends” green stamp of approval in the agenda. Various national federations, including the United States, Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden, submitted rule proposals that kept the single downward dolphin kick rule in the wording. Those proposals were not recommended for discussion by the Technical Swimming Committee or the FINA Bureau.
No matter how the Bureau votes for breaststroke starts, the single dolphin kick would remain on the turn portion for breaststroke, which applies to breaststroke races and during the breaststroke leg of the individual medley:
After each turn, the swimmers may take one stroke completely back to the legs during which
the swimmer may be completely submerged. A single butterfly kick is permitted while
completely submerged. Once the swimmer's head breaks the surface of the water, the
stroke cycle must be one arm stroke and one breaststroke leg kick in that order.
Various elite breaststrokers have spoken out publicly against this proposed rule change. Most recently, Indiana junior Cody Miller did not support the proposal in a recent Morning Swim Show interview, and Olympians Eric Shanteau and Ed Moses voiced their dissent in a recent Twitter conversation:
@eddiemoses at the very least, pure breaststrokers won't stand a chance
? Eric Shanteau (@Shanteau) March 1, 2013
Another major rule change up for discussion in July will be the official addition of mixed relays to the event schedule, though it is not clear if those events will be swum at events besides the World Cup series. Official world records will be kept for the mixed 200 medley and mixed 200 free relays in short course meters competition, and the mixed 400 medley and mixed 400 free relays in long course competition. Individual world records cannot be set in leadoff legs on mixed relays, according to the rule proposals, a situation that dates back to the 2007 Duel in the Pool, when the world was led to believe that Australia's Libby Lenton (now Trickett) had set a world record in the long course 100 free leading off the 400 mixed free relay. The record time was not ruled ineligible by FINA.
The Technical Swimming Congress is set to meet on July 25, one week after the start of the world championships, but three days before the start of pool competition. Any rule changes approved by the FINA Bureau would not go into effect at those world championships.