FINA Changes IM Turn Rule Interpretation

It seems that this interpretation of the rule on freestyle turns on the IM and the Medley relay has been in effect since 1997. We will find out how strictly the local officials will enforce this rule interpretation since the turn judge may use their discretion to determine if the rule is being followed based on point 4 below..

 1. On August 23, 2015, the FINA Technical Swimming Committee provided the following interpretation of FINA rule SW 9.1 (Medley Swimming):

“FINA Technical Committee Medley Interpretation

According to SW 9.1 each of the strokes must cover one quarter (1/4) of the distance. Being on the back when leaving the wall for the freestyle portion of the 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.”

2. The Technical Swimming Committee provided the following additional clarification. Being in a position towards the back and moving through the water after a swimmer leaves the wall constitutes performing backstroke.

3. Effective immediately, the above interpretation shall be in effect as it pertains to USA Swimming Rule 101.5.2

4. On June 1, 1997, the FINA Technical Committee issued the following interpretation regarding medley swimming. This interpretation remains in force.

When a swimmer has traveled a sufficient distance that the official can with certainty judge that the competitor is swimming in the style of butterfly, breaststroke or backstroke, then a disqualification is appropriate.