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

Photo Courtesy: FINA Doha 2014

FINA, the international governing body for aquatic sports, has sent a memorandum to all member federations clarifying two rules regarding pool swimming. The one that will have the most impact moving forward will be what swimmers are allowed to do when pushing off the wall for the freestyle portion of an individual medley race.

FINA made no changes to the wording of their existing rules, but issued a clarification of what is allowed after a swimmer completes the breaststroke leg in an IM race and pushes off for the freestyle leg. This comes about a month after Ryan Lochte used a new turn in the 200 IM world championship final where he pushed off on his back and kicked underwater for 10 meters. He then surfaced and swam what is commonly known as freestyle.

FINA memorandum regarding IM turn and false start

Video of 200 IM final at world championships (underwater footage begins at 2:06)

Though not illegal in freestyle-only races, officials in Russia discussed the possibility of disqualifying Lochte in the 200 IM if he pushed off on his back to start the freestyle leg. Lochte was not disqualified, and he won his fourth-straight world title in the 200 IM. Lochte and his coach, David Marsh, devised the turn after realizing that Lochte was faster when he kicked on his back. No other swimmer has used the turn in a competition.

Three weeks later at the world junior championships, FINA announced that such a turn in the 200 IM would no longer be legal and said a clarification of the rule would be forthcoming. In the memo to national organizations, FINA writes:

“Being on the back when leaving the wall for the Freestyle portion of the Ind. Medley is covering more than one quarter of the distance in the style of Backstroke and is, therefore, a disqualification. Backstroke swimming is only defined as being on the back.”

Lochte will still be able to use the technique in freestyle-only races, where the rules do not require a swimmer to maintain any particular body position.

Also in the memo was a clarification of how officials will determine a false start in meets, allowing video playback to serve as a final judge. The wording by FINA indicates that only Omega’s video camera system, when placed above the finish end, will be the system used to watch the playback of the start to verify a false start.

The only major issue regarding a false start at the world championships came in the semifinal of the men’s 100 free, where Vlad Morozov appeared to have a very fast reaction time but was later disqualified for moving before the starting signal.

FINA memorandum regarding IM turn and false start

145 Comments

145 comments

  1. César Gomes

    It’s hard to develop the swimming…

  2. avatar
    Leander

    At least FINA managed to get this one right. Now, if they would just start enforcing the one dolphin kick rule in breaststroke.

  3. Dylan Gray

    Stupid. Lochte makes an innovative way to do an underwater portion of a race and it’s made illegal. Kitajima breaks the then existing rule regarding no dolphin kick in breast stroke pullouts and FINA changes the rule to make it legal. C’mon man…

    • Brett Butler

      I understand the frustration here, but you must think logically about this one.
      An IM consists of Butterfly,Backstroke,Breaststroke,then Freestyle(the front crawl variant) in that particular order. These strokes cannot be done out of this order and if you are trying to do backstroke in the freestyle portion of this particular swim, it makes sense to call it unofficial or possibly even a DQ.
      I just believe Lochte should not be penalized for this, because there has never been a scenario like this before, and because of him, they found a flaw in the system.

    • Dylan Gray

      Well he wasn’t penalized since he wasn’t dq’d at worlds. However I have a hard time with their line of reasoning that kicking on your back is repeating backstroke. You dolphin kick on your side/stomach during butterfly so isn’t doing that on your freestyle break out just repeating part of the butterfly? By their own line of logic, FINA needs to say you can’t dolphin kick on your freestyle break out…and revoke previous rule changes. It’s a BS clarification and if they’ve allowed other races to evolve so much (see breast stroke) they should have allowed this one to evolve as well.

      • avatar

        Which is why they word it carefully. It is not the kick. It is the body position. ie. Ie face/chest plane facing down as opposed to facing up. Regarding the ruling against the breaststroke kick, the effect is much less since that 1 kick does not cover more than 10% of the length/lap, but that’s besides the point because, again the ruling is on the body position. I do not get why people are so upset about changes about rules. Being innovative is one thing, but being an association who constantly make decisions on these things or even occasional back pedalling is good. It means FINA is actively debating on these issue and not making it ambiguous.

        At the end of the day, I find most decisions are quite logical. Underwater kicking for 50m in backstroke by suzuki is declared illegal because it no longer resemble a swimming event, more like an underwater kicking event. The dolphin kick in the breaststroke is allowed because it is a very natural motion when exerting force during that underwater pull. Thus it is very difficult to differentiate between a “side effect” of exerting force or intentional aaand not to mention it is very difficult to judge. Since the 1 kick do not ruin the entire length of breaststroke, making it a 1 kick rule will solve this problem of ambiguity.

        Suit-bans are another one which created a big hoo-ha and had since subsided, but the records created during that era stayed. Fair, unfair, call it what you want. I applaud FINA being able to find the right balance to ensure swimming remained what it “supposed” to be.

    • Dylan Gray

      Well he wasn’t penalized since he wasn’t dq’d at worlds. However I have a hard time with their line of reasoning that kicking on your back is repeating backstroke. You dolphin kick on your side/stomach during butterfly so isn’t doing that on your freestyle break out just repeating part of the butterfly? By their own line of logic, FINA needs to say you can’t dolphin kick on your freestyle break out in IM…and revoke previous rule changes. It’s a BS clarification and if they’ve allowed other races to evolve so much (see breast stroke) then FINA should allow this one to evolve as well.

    • Dylan Gray

      Further to steal the questions asked by one of my former coaches “So what is the definition of being on your back?! Parallel to the water surface? Slightly toward the back from perpendicular? So what they are saying is that you have to be on your slightly on your stomach by the time your feet leave the wall?!”

      • avatar
        Jeff Commings

        Yes, you have to be more on your stomach. It is a fine line to determine when someone is on their back as opposed to their stomach, and some backstrokers have pushed the envelope on it as well. The wording does not make it an issue of “kicking” on your back, but “being” on your back. Even if Lochte glided on his back for 10 meters, it would be backstroke and therefore illegal. Judges will look at the position of the shoulders relative to the perpendicular plane to make the decision.

    • Mike McCoulf

      Freestyle you can do what ever stroke you want

      • avatar
        Dominuse

        Except in IM, where it’s always been the rule that you can’t do one of the other three strokes.

    • Ryan Meyer

      No, you cannot do any stroke that you want for freestyle in the IM. However, the freestyle leg coming out of the breaststroke to free turn is governed by the turn rules for freestyle which say nothing about swimming on your back. FINA is saying that Ryan swam on his back for more than 1/4 of the IM race, which would be a violation. As an official, I believe this is vague, and he found a hole in the rule which FINA is trying to retroactively close.

    • Guy Feasey

      Yes you can’t blame lochte or his coach. Clearly any competetive swimmer would look to gain an advantage if it is not illegal.

    • avatar
      Glenn Byrd

      It’s ALWAYS been illegal under USA swimming rules. In IM, when the feet leave the wall on the freestyle leg, the body must be past vertical toward the breast.

    • Jason Keith Johnson

      Sorry, in the IM, the transition from one stroke to the next is not governed by the turn rule. Each portion must start and end legally.

    • Dylan Gray

      Ok so again, what constitutes on your back? At what point is it clearly defined as not on your back for freestyle vs on your back when you are following the turn into your freestyle leg? If I come off on my side slightly angled toward my back, will you DQ me in a race, or is that too close to call? Likely given my experience as a collegiate swimmer it’s too close to call. So, why not just make the interpretation similar to what they did for Kitajima and the breaststroke break out and just allow the change given that it is now harder to clearly follow since its will be hard to define what exactly, given their clarification, is on your back. In my opinion, it is a piss-poor clarification from FINA that makes a hard to follow rule interpretation now, rather than just allowing swimmers to follow the turn rule as lochte did and allowing the race to evolve and allow swimmers a bit more additional freedom to follow what works best for them. Further, given their own precedent of allowing an expansion of the rules to allow for development of the stroke instead of restricting what swimmers can do, I fail to see how they couldn’t just allow swimmers extra freedoms on the turn from breast to free. We may disagree, and I’m not a huge lochte fan, but it seems inconsistent and poorly thought out on FINA’s part.

    • Dylan Gray

      Ok so again, what constitutes on your back? At what point is it clearly defined as not on your back for freestyle vs on your back when you are following the turn into your freestyle leg? If I come off on my side slightly angled toward my back, will you DQ me in a race, or is that too close to call? Likely given my experience as a collegiate swimmer it’s too close to call. So, why not just make the interpretation similar to what they did for Kitajima and the breaststroke break out and just allow the change given that it is now harder to clearly follow since its will be hard to define what exactly, given their clarification, is on your back. In my opinion, it is a piss-poor clarification from FINA that makes a hard to follow rule interpretation now, rather than just allowing swimmers to follow the turn rule as lochte did and allowing the race to evolve and allow swimmers a bit more additional freedom to follow what works best for them. Further, given their own precedent of allowing an expansion of the rules to allow for development of the stroke instead of restricting what swimmers can do, I fail to see how they couldn’t just allow swimmers extra freedoms on the turn from breast to free. We may disagree, and I’m not a huge lochte fan, but it seems inconsistent and poorly thought out on FINA’s part.

    • Dylan Gray

      Ok so again, what constitutes on your back? At what point is it clearly defined as not on your back for freestyle vs on your back when you are following the turn into your freestyle leg? If I come off on my side slightly angled toward my back, will you DQ me in a race, or is that too close to call? Likely given my experience as a collegiate swimmer it’s too close to call. So, why not just make the interpretation similar to what they did for Kitajima and the breaststroke break out. Allow the change since it is now to define what exactly, given their clarification, is on your back. In my opinion, it is a piss-poor clarification from FINA that makes a hard to follow rule interpretation now, rather than just allowing swimmers to follow the turn rule as lochte did and allowing the race to evolve and allow swimmers a bit more additional freedom to follow what works best for them. Further, given their own precedent of allowing an expansion of the rules to allow for development of the stroke instead of restricting what swimmers can do, I fail to see how they couldn’t just allow swimmers extra freedoms on the turn from breast to free. We may disagree, and I’m not a huge lochte fan, but it seems inconsistent and poorly thought out on FINA’s part.

  4. Alison Miller

    Using a dolphin kick on the freestyle kick out is doing fly

    • Alison Miller

      Its about fly as leaving the wall on your back is backstroke

    • Gordon Belbin

      You could legally swim dolphin kick for the whole distance in a fly race as long as you surface at 15m. Therefore it is fly.

    • Gordon Belbin

      You could legally swim dolphin kick for the whole distance in a fly race as long as you surface at 15m. Therefore it is fly.

    • Alison Miller

      Agree, instead of clarifying they really made it seem more petty and confusing

    • Andrew Brower

      You can do dolphin kick for 15m in freestyle too. It’s not just for fly, watch literally any race that Jack Conger, Tom Shields, Austin Staab, Joseph Schooling, etc does freestyle and you’ll see.

    • Alison Miller

      Yes but by the reasoning behind the clarification the kick is doing more than a quarter of the IM in fly

    • Kenneth Gati

      In the rules dolphin kick is not defined only you can’t do alternating kicks or breast kicks. Therefore dolphin kicks aren’t exclusive to fly. Flip side being toward the back is exclusive and defined in the rules for backstroke. Therefore any time you are on your back its backstroke

    • Gordon Belbin

      So by your reasoning if a swimmer isn’t beyond 90 degrees when they come off the wall following a tumble turn in an IM then they should be disqualified. That is where this rule becomes inconsistent and unenforceable.

    • Dylan Gray

      Kenneth, define on your back.

    • Alison Miller

      If they used The wording of the fly and breast turns where they explicitly state you must be on your front leaving the wall that would be clear, but that would outlaw fish kicking as well.

  5. Mary Elizabeth Martin

    Richard Quick told my grandkids at his last summer swim camp at Auburn that “..the future of competitive swimming is underwater..”

    • Bradley Lewis

      The future? Swimming has been underwater since the 2004 Olympics

    • Bradley Lewis

      The future? Swimming has been underwater since the 2004 Olympics

      • avatar
        Mark Worth

        Richard was a great coach…I remember him fondly!

    • Mary Elizabeth Martin

      Richard Walter Quick (January 31, 1943 – June 10, 2009) was the head coach of the women’s swim team at Stanford University, from 1988 through 2005. He was a coach for the United States Olympic swimming team for six Olympics—1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004. Following the 2007 season, he returned to Auburn University as head coach of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving team.

      At the Sydney Olympics he led the women’s team to sixteen medals. At Stanford he won seven NCAA titles and developed 35 NCAA champions, winning five NCAA Coach of the Year honors and three Pac-10 Coach of the Year awards. His most successful swimmer is Jenny Thompson who has won eight Olympic Golds. Other notable Olympians coached by Quick include Ambrose “Rowdy” Gaines, Steve Lundquist, Summer Sanders, Dara Torres and Misty Hyman. He previously was head women’s swimming coach at the University of Texas, where his teams won five consecutive NCAA titles (1984–1988).

      On March 8, 2007 Auburn University announced that Quick would return to the Tigers to take over as Head Coach for the Swimming and Diving teams after David Marsh left. Quick was Marsh’s coach when he was a backstroker for Auburn. In March 2007 Marsh won his 12th NCAA National title, tying his former coach and mentor for the most titles won by an NCAA Coach. He broke the tie the following year, winning a 13th title.

      Quick was a top swimmer himself at Highland Park High School in University Park, Texas, and Southern Methodist University where he made All-Southwest Conference. He is a member of SMU’s Distinguished Alumni.

      In December 2008 Quick was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He died on June 10, 2009.[1] His 2008–09 Auburn team won the National title.

    • Mary Elizabeth Martin

      Richard Walter Quick (January 31, 1943 – June 10, 2009) was the head coach of the women’s swim team at Stanford University, from 1988 through 2005. He was a coach for the United States Olympic swimming team for six Olympics—1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004. Following the 2007 season, he returned to Auburn University as head coach of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving team.

      At the Sydney Olympics he led the women’s team to sixteen medals. At Stanford he won seven NCAA titles and developed 35 NCAA champions, winning five NCAA Coach of the Year honors and three Pac-10 Coach of the Year awards. His most successful swimmer is Jenny Thompson who has won eight Olympic Golds. Other notable Olympians coached by Quick include Ambrose “Rowdy” Gaines, Steve Lundquist, Summer Sanders, Dara Torres and Misty Hyman. He previously was head women’s swimming coach at the University of Texas, where his teams won five consecutive NCAA titles (1984–1988).

      On March 8, 2007 Auburn University announced that Quick would return to the Tigers to take over as Head Coach for the Swimming and Diving teams after David Marsh left. Quick was Marsh’s coach when he was a backstroker for Auburn. In March 2007 Marsh won his 12th NCAA National title, tying his former coach and mentor for the most titles won by an NCAA Coach. He broke the tie the following year, winning a 13th title.

      Quick was a top swimmer himself at Highland Park High School in University Park, Texas, and Southern Methodist University where he made All-Southwest Conference. He is a member of SMU’s Distinguished Alumni.

      In December 2008 Quick was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He died on June 10, 2009.[1] His 2008–09 Auburn team won the National title.

    • Bradley Lewis

      And what was the point in that story?

      • avatar
        Jeff

        That Richard Quick couldn’t have told the other poster’s grandchildren anything last year.

      • avatar
        Pau Hana

        (since the ability to respond directly to Jeff is disabled) The poster didn’t say “last year” – she said “his last summer swim camp”.

  6. Virginia Carr

    This is about a breast to Free turn, not back to breast. But ya scared me for a sec lol Corinne Nabors

  7. Wyatt Fate

    Good! Now ban the IM races

  8. Graeham Douglas

    And I was just starting to get the hang of them! The back fly kicks make it easier to make distance, but the breakout is awkward and takes practice. I think freestyle should be ‘anything goes’, except underwater kick the whole way!

    • Dani Humphrey

      Freestyle IS anything goes except underwater kick lol no matter what stroke, you have to come up before the 15 meter mark. But the IM has different rules as well as the Medley relays when it comes to the freestyle leg. The USA Swimming handbook explains it. 🙂

  9. Antonio Paulo Vasconcelos

    Acho incorreto o que a Fina está fazendo, pois entendo que no sub nao se pode considerar a nadar costas (para nadar tera que ser com PRS e BRs). Nessa óptica da Fina, então qd vira para o 4 percurso , então TB não poderá fazer uso do sub com PRS de mariposa certo ?

    • Franklin F. Rodrigues

      O último quarto da prova tem que ter movimentos que diferenciem do borboleta, costas e peito. Então ondulação de frente não é considerado o nado propriamente do borboleta, é só uma ondulação. Mas virar de costas e ondular de costas caracteriza o nado mesmo submerso, justamente porque está de “costas”. Bem, seria o meu entendimento, mas eis a questão a se fazer à FINA.

    • Antonio Paulo Vasconcelos

      Mas que e isso só uma ondulação? DSC mas são mov simultâneos dos MI em mariposa (ascendentes e descendentes), logo nessa óptica, mariposa

  10. Mike McCoulf

    How can anything be illegal? It’s freestyle the only thing you have to do is touch at both ends otherwise you can do elementary backstroke down the pool and it’s legal for freestyle

    • Amy Feasey

      I guess it’s because to do a breaststroke to ‘back underwater kick’ turn all you essentially do is touch the wall and throw yourself backwards… Whereas everyone else will have to do the standard breast to free turn.. Twisting.

    • Mike McCoulf

      Well then make it legal what ever is faster will win out

    • Dylan Gray

      Amy, so what? All the turn requires is you touch with two hands and push off. If someone finds a way to do it faster, it shouldn’t be made illegal simply because nobody else has thought to do it yet or because they lack the strength to kick on their backs as fast.

    • Kenneth Gati

      This is about how backstroke is defined in the rule book. Any stroke with your shoulders toward the back is backstroke. Therefore any time you are towards the back you are swimming back which would be a repeat in IM races. On the fly there is nothing about underwater dolphin kicks being exclusive to fly you just can’t do alternating or breast kicks. Also fly defines arm movements. There is no requirements for back but to be on your back and on the surface by the 15m mark.

    • Kenneth Gati

      This is about how backstroke is defined in the rule book. Any stroke with your shoulders toward the back is backstroke. Therefore any time you are towards the back you are swimming back which would be a repeat in IM races. On the fly there is nothing about underwater dolphin kicks being exclusive to fly you just can’t do alternating or breast kicks. Also fly defines arm movements. There is no requirements for back but to be on your back and on the surface by the 15m mark.

      • avatar
        P. Wagner

        According to my 2014 USA Swimming rulebook (can’t find 2015, darn it), backstroke is defined as (101.4.2):

        “The swimmer shall push off on his back and continue swimming on the back throughout the race.”

        So if Lochte is pushing off on his back, and does NOT continue swimming on the back throughout the race, then by definition he is NOT doing backstroke.

        Meh.

    • avatar
      Jeff

      It isn’t freestyle, it is any other stroke besides butterfly, breast or back stroke. If it was freestyle, you could do anything you wanted. I am really surprised at the people on here that don’t know this rule…

      • avatar
        Bill v.

        I have always understood the rule. What I do not understand is why FINA is disallowing only dolphin kicking on the back, rather than all dolphin kicking on the fourth stroke. Isn’t dolphin kicking Butterfly, FINA?

        They’re just a wee bit confused.

  11. Renan Nóbrega

    Olha essa Franklin F. Rodrigues e Rodolfo Henrique.

    • Franklin F. Rodrigues

      Virada ilegal, é claro que SIM. Puts! Prova de Livre é diferente de medley. Nas provas de livre, o nadador pode fazer qualquer tipo de virada, mas no medley não. Assim que toca com as duas mãos de peito, o nadador tem que virar de frente e realizar qualquer nado diferente dos anteriores, ou seja, se ele fizer ondulação de costas está DESCLASSIFICADO.

    • Franklin F. Rodrigues

      O último quarto da prova tem que ter movimentos que diferenciem do borboleta, costas e peito. Então ondulação de frente não é considerado o nado propriamente do borboleta, é só uma ondulação. Mas virar de costas e ondular de costas caracteriza o nado mesmo submerso, justamente porque está de “costas”. Bem, seria o meu entendimento, mas eis a questão a se fazer à FINA. Marcelo Falcão

  12. Guy Feasey

    On an IM it’s not freestyle. It’s front crawl. Hence why being on your back is illegal.

    • Ryan Meyer

      But the turn rules for freestyle are what governs this length. Do they say anything about being on your back?

    • Gordon Belbin

      It’s not front crawl it’s freestyle but not including any of the other strokes.

    • Manuela Teti

      Yes I think Gordon is right: the 4th stroke of an IM is any strokes other than the three previously swum (fly, back, breast).

    • Guy Feasey

      Yes your are correct.

  13. Judd Jones

    FINA. Wrong again. #AnyoneSurprised

  14. Guy Feasey

    The breaststroke fly kick was different. It was impossible to judge if a swimmer was doing a fly kick or whether it was simply an involuntary undulation that looked like a fly kick. Hence making one kick legal. In this case being on your back for 10m when you are required to do front crawl is clearly blatant and easy to spot.

  15. Guy Feasey

    The breaststroke fly kick was different. It was impossible to judge if a swimmer was doing a fly kick or whether it was simply an involuntary undulation that looked like a fly kick. Hence making one kick legal. In this case being on your back for 10m when you are required to do front crawl is clearly blatant and easy to spot.

    • Gordon Belbin

      What about 1m or half a metre …

    • Dylan Gray

      But it’s not different. when you look at what Kitajima was doing he found a loophole/flaw in the rule and innovated…the same as lochte. Why not allow the dolphin kick on your back underwater OR on your side OR your stomach OR any combo thereof and allow the best approach for each swimmer to win out? They allow it on the free style races. I fail to see why they can’t allow it in IM.

  16. Alin Ilie

    Don’t like ! They are refusing a progress actually 🙂

  17. James Hardwick

    Too innovative why would you make illegal – ‘Freestyle’ – barbaric decision! ?

  18. avatar

    Does anyone know what the new Fina rule is for the last Freestyle turn in the 400 IM and the longer MRs. Specifically, at the 350 turn (Freestyle to Freestyle) of the IM, if the swimmer comes off the wall past vertical to the back, will he be disqualified at that point for swimming Backstroke during the Freestyle leg? I would think to be consistent, they’d have to disqualify since by their new definition the swimmer is in fact swimming Backstroke.

    • avatar
      Matt

      It is most likely the same (that is, swimming must push off towards their stomach). I think this whole thing is easier to understand if we just say Front Crawl instead of Freestyle for the IM races. The last leg of the IM is, in fact, not freestyle and does have rules dedicated to swimming it.

      • avatar

        You could swim it Side Stroke, Breaststroke with a dolphin kick or flutter kick, Butterfly with a Breaststroke kick or flutter kick, asynchronous arm loping Butterfly with a flutter kick. Oh wait, that’s Crawl. 🙂 I guess you can swim it any way you want as long as you’re not past vertical to the back and no stroke cycle is legal for the other two strokes. Mind you, I suspect most officials would DQ you if it looked anything like one of the other strokes legal or not, but according to the rules, doing the above should be ok.

        I think Fina has opened a can of worms with this rule change. Many are on their backs after a Freestyle turn in MRs and IMs 400 or 800. Here are some issues that just pop to mind.

        If the swimmer finishing the leg of Breaststroke in an IM leaves the wall with one dolphin kick followed by a pull down, should he be disqualified for swimming Breaststroke even though he’s swimming Crawl when he breaks out? What if he does 2 dolphin kicks then a pull down? Does that qualify him as swimming Breaststroke albeit illegally and therefore disqualify him?

        How is dolphining off the wall toward the breast not swimming Butterfly if dolphining off the wall on your back is swimming Backstroke?

      • avatar

        Here’s one. If the reason for making leaving the wall on your back during the Freestyle transition illegal is because more than 1/4 of the IM was swum on the back, what about when you go to the breast for a Backstroke flip turn in a 400? Wouldn’t that mean that slightly less than 1/4 of the IM was on the back and therefore also illegal?

  19. avatar
    Bill V.

    FINA needs to reverse the Kitajima rule now, but sadly, I wouldn’t expect that dog and pony show of an organization to be consistent or fair.

  20. Adriano Braga

    Matheus Saiani Strini so pq a gente tava falando disso Lucas Capobianco Martins

  21. Erin Kozyra

    damn Katelynn Hitchcock

  22. Gary Stoops

    Frank Stevens. Mary Seery.

  23. Aek Lovemamee

    Nugbin Binny so powerful of turning

  24. Craig Shortley

    That’s crap! Look at all the advancements in swimming. They’re small and innovative. This absolutely is political crap!

  25. Mal Bradley

    Luke Malherbe this is rude

    • Ian Harry Stephenson

      So unfair hey! the guy is still a boss to actually do it! nice to have seen it in person at the same time! at least it can be done in a fly/free race! this is just for IM if I’m not mistaken!

    • Alexandros Axiotis

      Oh well atleast. I hope so hey. Thats would be great. ?

  26. Bailey Ireland

    Nicole Beattie Gaby Cannon Teleya Beattie

  27. Geoff Wood

    They happily allow things that were illegal and change the laws to suit then disallow something that the rules did not specifically preclude. I was always taught if it does not say you can’t then you can. Our regulators need to take a long hard look at themselves in my opinion.

  28. avatar
    GregG

    Interesting. I swam in freestyle in college and always understood the term “freestyle” to mean swimming any way you could as long as you stayed in your lane, touched each wall and avoided the bottom. Everyone uses the Australian Crawl because it’s the fastest stroke. If you thought you could win an event with “freestyle” in it swimming sidestroke feet first completely under water then goody for you.

    Perhaps they should call it something besides “freestyle”?

    • avatar
      David Abineri

      They don’t call it freestyle when it’s at the end of an IM, it’s any stroke other than the first three. Since being on the back defines backstroke, you would be repeating one of the first three strokes.

      • avatar
        Mike

        So being on your back under water is backstroke? What year was it that we moved away from being on your back to do backstroke turns…I really think this is the same argument. We actually take a stroke when we do backstroke turns. Here being on your back is not allowed, much less taking a stroke as part of an entry or exit. I really think they went the wrong way on this one. Interesting.

  29. avatar

    Interesting. I swam in freestyle in college and always understood the term “freestyle” to mean swimming any way you could as long as you stayed in your lane, touched each wall and avoided the bottom. Everyone uses the Australian Crawl because it’s the fastest stroke. If you thought you could win an event with “freestyle” in it swimming sidestroke feet first completely under water then goody for you.

    • avatar
      Mark Worth

      I learned the same….Freestyle was “Free Style”- any stroke…I don’t think back dolphin is backstroke. I think FINA choked on this one…

    • avatar
      Leander

      Did you ever swim the individual medley? Or, for that matter, the medley relay? Or simply watch your teammates swim those races? Does the phrase “any other stroke except the first three ring a bell”?

      FYI, you are also allowed to touch the bottom while swimming freestyle. You just can’t push off after doing so.

  30. avatar
    Anonymous

    Choma M. Mwinga

  31. avatar

    Ryan Lochte’s off the wall kicks are banned. But Anthony’s Butter-role is here to stay. Efficiency of the butter-role debatable however. 🙂

    • Anna Louise

      Noooooo!!! I love this turn!!!

    • Anna Louise

      FINA’s argument is 1/4 of the distance per stroke has holes…. ?

    • Tom Myers

      The whole of Fina has wholes

Author: Jeff Commings

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Jeff Commings is the Senior Writer for SwimmingWorld.com and Swimming World Magazine. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and was a nine-time NCAA All-American.

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