Home Swimmer Info Stroke and Turn Rules

Stroke and Turn Rules

Common Rules (all strokes)

  • A swimmer who leaves the water before completing the distance will be disqualified (DNF)
  • A swimmer may stop and stand on the bottom of the pool only in freestyle, however if the swimmer walks or pushes off from the bottom, they will be disqualified (DQ)
  • A swimmer may hang on to the lane rope only in freestyle, however if the swimmer pulls on the lane markers, they will be disqualified (DQ)
  • A swimmer may surface in the wrong lane without penalty, however, if the swimmer interferes with another swimmer they will be disqualified (DQ). A swimmer must complete the race in the correct lane.
  • For freestyle, backstroke and butterfly starts - the head must have broken the surface by the 15m mark after the start or turn.

Starts Rules General

Freestyle, Butterfly and Breaststroke

  • From the Blocks.
  • If the pool is not deep enough - in the water at the start end with one hand in contact with the side of the pool.
  • PARA and Master swimmers from on the blocks, beside the blocks, or in the water with one hand in contact with the end of the pool.

Backstroke

  • The swimmer is in the water facing the start end.
  • PARA swimmers must have their toes below the water surface at the start.

Freestyle Rules

Stroke

  • The swimmer may swim any style or combination – the stroke is judged as a freestyle stroke.
  • Some part of the swimmer must break the surface throughout the race.

Start and Turn

  • Some part of the head must have broken the surface by the 15m mark after the start or turn.
  • The swimmer must touch the end wall with some part of the body during the turn.

Backstroke Rules

Stroke and Finish

  • NO movement beyond 90 degree vertical
  • At the finish of the race the swimmer MUST touch the wall while on the back.
  • The body may be submerged at the touch.

Start and Turn

  • Any part of the body must have broken the surface by the 15m mark after the start or turn.
  • At the turn, the swimmer may touch on the back and MUST leave on the back…..OR…. the swimmer may roll onto the breast, use a CONTINUOUS single or double arm pull to initiate the turn
  • There is no infraction for kicking or lifting of the head during the continuous turn.
  • When executing the turn, there must be a touch of the wall with some part of the body. The swimmer must leave on their back.
  • On the back is defined as less then 90 degrees to the horizontal plane.

Breaststroke Rules

Stroke

  • Each stroke cycle must contain one pull and one kick in that order.
  • During each cycle some part of the swimmer’s head must break the surface of 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
  • During each cycle some part of the head shall break the surface of the
  • The feet must be turned outward in the propulsive part of the kick
  • All movements of the arms are simultaneous and in the same horizontal plane.

Starts and Turns

After the start & each turn the swimmer may take one arm stroke completely back to the legs during which the swimmer may be submerged.
A single butterfly kick is permitted during the first arm stroke, followed by a breaststroke kick.

  • After the start & each turn the head must break the surface of the water by the time the arms have reached the widest part of the second arm pull.
  • On the turn, the touch shall be a simultaneous two hand touch.
  • On the turn, the head may be submerged
  • PARA swimmers are NOT allowed to do a dolphin kick anywhere in the stroke.

Butterfly Rules

Stroke

  • 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. Flutter kick is not allowed.
  • The Dolphin kick is the only legal kick, however PARA and MASTERS swimmers may use the breaststroke kick.
  • PARA Swimmers MUST recover their arms OVER the water.
  • PARA Swimmers shoulders MUST be in line with normal water.

Start and Turn

  • The swimmer is allowed to take no more than one arm pull while totally submerged. This must bring the swimmer to the surface.
  • There is no limit to the number of leg kicks allowed off the start and at each turn.
  • On the turn and finish, must make a two hand, simultaneous touch.
  • On the turn and finish, arms must be recovered over the water on the touch.
  • The head must have broken the surface by the 15m mark after the start or turn.
 
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