October 9, 2015
Latest Information from UIL.
There have been several questions regarding the recent FINA and USA Swimming rules interpretation regarding the freestyle leg of the medley. Their interpretation (not a rule change) is that any swimming on the back constitutes backstroke. So, a swimmers finishes the breaststroke pushes off the wall “past vertical toward the back” before rotating to the breast to begin the freestyle portion. This swimmer should be disqualified. More importantly, from our perspective, a swimmer in the freestyle leg of the medley doing the intermediate turn pushes off the wall on their back before rotating to the breast. This is also a disqualification. Many freestylers turn in this manner.
The question, of course, is does NFHS and UIL concur with the rule interpretation. The answer is, once again the NFHS is out front of USA Swimming. Situation 8.2.5 B from the current rulebook covers this question.
8.2.5 SITUATION B: A swimmer in the individual medley (or medley relay) swims the final quarter of the race using: (a) elementary backstroke; (b) butterfly with a breaststroke kick; (c) breaststroke with a flutter kick. RULING: (a) Illegal; (b) and (c) legal. Since any stroke swum on the back is considered to be backstroke, in (a), the swimmer would be repeating that stroke; since (b) and (c) are not legal forms of fly and breast, such strokes would not be considered repetitions of fly and breast. (8-2-5, 8-3-1)
I have contacted the NFHS about this ruling. They concur with the USA Swimming interpretation. Please notify the officials (and maybe coaches) in your areas that UIL will use the USA Swimming rule interpretation concerning the freestyle leg of the medley (both individual and relay).
If you have any questions, please contact me.
Dr. Jim Holcomb
UIL Rules Interpreter-Swimming