Arno Kamminga Urges FINA To Use Technology And ‘Expose The Cheats’ Doing Illegal Fly Kicks

Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Three-time European short-course champion Arno Kamminga has called on FINA to use the technology they have at their disposal and “expose the cheats” who use illegal dolphin kicks during breaststroke.

The Netherlands athlete was on the sort of form that indicated an exciting 2020 ahead when he went third all-time over 100 breaststroke in 58.43 in March before the Tokyo Olympics were postponed.

Kamminga then became only the fourth 200br swimmer to join the 2:06 club when he scorched to 2:06.85 in Rotterdam in early December.

That came a fortnight after the conclusion of the International Swimming League during which Mel Marshall – coach to Olympic 100br champion Adam Peaty – and double Olympic silver medallist James Guy accused Ilya Shymanovich and Vlad Morozov of using illegal butterfly kicks.

FINA rules state that swimmers can use one butterfly kick following the start and one after each turn.

Peaty lowered the 100br short-course world record to 55.41 in Budapest only for Shymanovich to set a time of 55.34 on 19 December at the Belarus Open Championships, ratified by FINA in early January as a new global mark.

On his return from the Hungarian capital, Peaty confronted the issue head on, saying:

“It’s extremely obvious but you know when you get to the Olympics or FINA world champs etc etc you won’t get away with it.

“So it’s a short-term win maybe but I think it’s kind of disgusting really to cheat in any way.”

Kamminga – who won the 100 and 200br double at the 2019 European Short-Course Championships in Glasgow – has added his voice to the criticism.

He told Swimming World:

“It’s just disgusting – it’s not even breaststroke anymore.

“I think breaststroke is the most beautiful stroke there is because everybody can do a different type of breaststroke.

“Just seeing them do a butterfly kick, it’s like please no.”


Arno Kamminga; Photo Courtesy: Foto Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia /Insidefoto

FINA rules on the use of video technology state that:

“At Olympic Games and World Championships approved Automatic Officiating Equipment, including Underwater Video Judging Equipment shall be provided and used.

“The approved Underwater Video Judging Equipment shall be used to initiate stroke infraction calls, confirm stroke infraction calls or assist the Referee to overturn calls made on the pool deck”.

Kamminga, who is coached by Mark Faber at the National Training Centre in Amsterdam, urged FINA to step up, speak out against the dolphin kicks and assure the swimmers they will use the video technology at hand, warning of the possible consequences of it continuing unchecked.

He said:

“We were trying to push it at FINA and they always say we are checking for it and we have the most cameras underwater right now at world championships, we have camera systems during the Olympics, it just takes a while.

“They just don’t get disqualified and if people don’t get disqualified and they win then a lot of people are going to do it as well and I think that’s a really bad thing.

“I think breaststroke is moving in the right direction but we have some people who use the time they have right now while they still can to use those kicks.”

Despite repeated attempts to contact FINA, there was no response from the governing body.

Controversy is nothing new.

Kosuke Kitajima was accused of using single dolphin kicks off the start and turn to win gold in the 100 breaststroke at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

A year later Australia head coach Alan Thompson called for the use of video evidence after Otylia Jedrzejczak beat Jess Schipper to the 200 fly title by 0.04secs at the 2005 World Championships in Montreal, Canada.

The Polish swimmer appeared to touch the wall to stop the clock with one hand, which should have prompted her disqualification, but the result was allowed to stand.

Cameron van der Burgh admitted to using dolphin kicks en-route to 100br gold at the 2012 Olympics while also pointing the finger at his fellow competitors, insisting the vast majority used the illegal action.

The South African then called for the use of video technology, insisting the practice would stop if FINA were to enact such a system.

Such technology does now exist but Kamminga is urging FINA to apply it with Tokyo 2020 less than 200 days hence.

Kamminga did not compete at the ISL but looked on at Shymanovich and others he has competed against who he did not name.


Ilya Shymanovich: Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

He said:

“He is one of them: I am not a fan of his kick during the breaststroke.

“A lot of people are doing it, it’s not just him.

“I’ve been racing a couple of them for a long time and I’ve seen them do it but I think it’s really good we’ve finally started talking about it.

“When I saw it on camera I was like how can you get away with this? With the skins (knockout races culminating in a head to head) it was so obvious and it was really great to see Peaty beat him – speaking out against him and beating him.

“I’m not someone who will blame people or put him on the stand like Adam did but I am for a proper breaststroke kick.

“I just want everybody to do a proper breaststroke kick.”

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1 comment

  1. avatar
    Robert Macartney

    Of course Kitajima was not the first to use dolphin kicks on turns to gain an advantage. I was a bit disappointed to see his technique made legal, apparently because everyone started doing it. It would be a shame to see history repeat simply because a lot of people are cheating.

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