Swimming Rules and Tips
The Racing Start
The start in Freestyle, Breaststroke, Butterfly and Individual Medley races shall be with a dive. On the long whistle from the Starter/Referee, the swimmers shall step onto the starting platform and remain there. On the Starter/Referee's command "Take your marks", they shall immediately take up a starting position with at least one foot at the front of the starting platforms. The position of the hands is not relevant. When all swimmers are stationary, the Starter shall give the starting signal.
Most top swimmers use the grab start to get their race underway. This start gets you moving off the blocks quickly and gets you into the water smoothly. Races are often won by tenths and hundredths of seconds. It is important to get the race started as soon as the signal is given in competitions. The starter will not start the race until everybody is ready and still. This is really important because you could get disqualified if you fell in before the start, or if you were slow getting ready.
The start in Backstroke and Medley Relay races shall be from the water. At the Starter/Referee's first long whistle, the swimmers shall immediately enter the water. When all swimmers have assumed their starting positions, the starter shall give the command "Take your marks".
When all swimmers are stationary, the starter shall give the starting signal. Any swimmer starting before the starting signal has been given, could be disqualified.
If the starting signal sounds before the disqualification is declared, the race shall continue and the swimmer or swimmers shall be disqualified upon completion of the race. If the disqualification is declared before the starting signal, the signal shall not be given, but the remaining swimmers shall be called back and start again.
Freestyle means that in an event so designated the swimmer may swim any style, except that in individual medley or medley relay events, freestyle means any style other than backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly. Some part of the swimmer must touch the wall upon completion of each length and at the finish.
Some part of the swimmer must break the surface of the water throughout the race. However, it shall be permissible for the swimmer to be completely submerged during the turn and for a distance of not more than 15 meters (or 15 yards) after the start and each turn. By that point, the swimmer's head must have broken the surface. Freestyle is the fastest stroke and is often hard to get the hang of it at first because fitting in the breathing can be difficult. Once you have mastered the breathing, it can become one of the easiest and most rewarding strokes to perform.
This is a Freestyle tumble turn. The turn is basically a somersault and twist. Here's what you need to do:
* Swim towards the wall
* Forward somersault just before the wall
* Place feet on wall & stretch arms out
* Push hard on wall and twist onto breast
Prior to the starting signal, the swimmers shall line up in the water facing the starting end, with both hands holding the starting grips. The feet, including the toes, shall be under the surface of the water. Standing in or on the gutter or bending the toes over the lip of the gutter is prohibited. At the signal for starting and after turning the swimmer shall push off and swim upon his back throughout the race except when executing a turn. The normal position on the back can include a roll movement of the body up to, but not including 90 degrees from horizontal. The position of the head is not relevant. Some part of the swimmer must break the surface of the water throughout the race. It shall be permissible for the swimmer to be completely submerged during the turn, at the finish and for a distance of not more than 15 yards after the start and each turn. By that point the head must have broken the surface. During the turn the shoulders may be turned over the vertical to the breast after which a continuous single arm pull or a continuous simultaneous double arm pull may be used to initiate the turn. Once the body has left the position on the back, any kick or arm pull must be part of the continuous turning action. The swimmer must have returned to the position on the back upon leaving the wall. When executing the turn there must be a touch of the wall with some part of the swimmer's body. Upon the finish of the race the swimmer must touch the wall while on the back. The body may be submerged at the touch.
From the beginning of the first arm stroke after the start and after each turn, the body shall be kept on the breast. It is not permitted to roll onto the back at any time. All movements of the arms shall be simultaneous and in the same horizontal plane without alternating movement. The hands shall be pushed forward together from the breast on, under, or over the water.
The elbows shall be under the water except for the final stroke before the turn, during the turn and for the final stroke at the finish. The hands shall be brought back on or under the surface of the water. The hands shall not be brought back beyond the hip line, except during the first stroke after the start and each turn. All movements of the legs shall be simultaneous and in the same horizontal plane without alternating movement. The feet must be turned outwards during the propulsive part of the kick. A scissors, flutter or downward dolphin kick is not permitted. Breaking the surface of the water with the feet is allowed unless followed by a downward dolphin kick. At each turn and at the finish of the race, the touch shall be made with both hands simultaneously at, above, or below the water level. The head may be submerged after the last arm pull prior to the touch, provided it breaks the surface of the water at some point during the last complete or incomplete cycle preceding the touch. During each complete cycle of one arm stroke and one leg kick, in that order, some part of the swimmer's head shall break the surface of the water, except that after the start and after each turn the swimmer may take one arm stroke completely back to the legs and one leg kick while wholly submerged. The head must break the surface of the water before the hands turn inward at the widest part of the second stroke.
From the beginning of the first arm stroke after the start and each turn, the body shall be kept on the breast. Under water kicking on the side is allowed. It is not permitted to roll onto the back at any time. Both arms must be brought forward together over the water and brought backward simultaneously throughout the race. All up and down movements of the legs must be simultaneous. The position of the legs or feet need not be on the same level, but they shall not alternate in relation to each other. A breaststroke kicking movement is not permitted.
At each turn and at the finish of the race, the touch shall be made with both hands simultaneously, at, above or below the water surface. At the start and at turns, a swimmer is permitted one or more leg kicks and one arm pull under the water, which must bring him to the surface. It shall be permissible for a swimmer to be completely submerged for a distance of not more than 15 meters (meter pool) or 15 yards (yards pool) after the start and after each turn. By that point, the head must have broken the surface. The swimmer must remain on the surface until the next turn or finish.
In individual medley events (IM), the swimmer covers the four swimming styles in the following order: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle. In medley relay events, swimmers will cover the four swimming styles in the following order: Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly and Freestyle. Each section must be finished in accordance with the rule which applies to the style concerned.
Other Rules & Tips:
A swimmer must finish the race in the same lane in which he started. In all events, a swimmer when turning shall make physical contact with the end of the pool or course. The turn must be made from the wall, and it is not permitted to take a stride or step from the bottom of the pool. Standing on the bottom during freestyle events or during the freestyle portion of medley events shall not disqualify a swimmer, but he shall not walk. Pulling on the lane rope is not allowed. Obstructing another swimmer by swimming across another lane or otherwise interfering shall disqualify the offender. Should the foul be intentional, the Referee shall report the matter to the Member promoting the race, and to the Member of the swimmer so offending. No swimmer shall be permitted to use or wear any device that may aid his speed, buoyancy or endurance during a competition (such as webbed gloves, flippers, fins. Goggles may be worn. Any swimmer not entered in a race, who enters the water in which an event is being conducted before all swimmers therein have completed the race, shall be disqualified from his next scheduled race in the meet.