Ella Eastin, Bethany Galat DQ’ed in 400 IM For Violation of Lochte Rule — UPDATED

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Ella Eastin appeared to touch second in the women’s 400 IM at U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, but she was disqualified for “swimming more than a quarter of the race in a style of backstroke.”

That indicates a violation of the so-called “Lochte rule,” which was instituted after the 2015 World Championships when Ryan Lochte began kicking on his back while swimming freestyle. It was determined that in any IM or medley relay event, a swimmer cannot come off the wall past vertical (i.e., closer to back down) on freestyle legs.

Bethany Galat, who is already on the World Champs team as the second-place finisher in the women’s 200 breast, was also DQ’ed in the 400 IM final for a similar rules violation.

After both DQs were announced, the crowd at the IUPUI Natatorium boo’ed the calls as Stanford women’s coach Greg Meehan made his way to the officials table to protest.

UPDATE: A total of four swimmers were DQed in 400 IM finals for violations of the same rule. Along with Eastin and Galat, Kathryn Painter was DQed in the women’s B-final and Brennan Balogh in the men’s B-final.


FINA Officially Makes “Ryan Lochte Turn” Illegal In IM Races





  1. avatar

    That rule change got a lot of press. They should have known.

    • Jerry Adams

      Cuz it’s called so consistently

      • avatar

        from the US swimming stroke and turn regulations:
        “In the event designated freestyle the swimmer may swim any style, except that in a medley relay or an individual
        medley event, freestyle means any style other than butterfly, breaststroke or backstroke.”
        It’s a new interpretation of the rule that kicking on one’s back in the freestyle section of the IM means the swimmer is not swimming freestyle according to the IM rules. It hasn’t been called very often because it’s the newest rule on the books.

  2. Tasha McGill

    Its been newsworthy for awhile, they should have known.

  3. Mary Pohlmann

    they should have known and their coaches should have been more observant of how they were transitioning in practice.

  4. Sean Emery

    What??! That rule is the stupidest rule that they could make to try and feel like they have to justify themselves as having a job…Freestyle.

  5. Susan L. Lansbury

    That was Ella Eastin ‘a best shot for glory, I feel bad for her?

Author: David Rieder

David Rieder is a staff writer for Swimming World. He has contributed to the magazine and website since 2009, and he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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