Basic Rules

These are some of the main rules to remember when swimming. All licenced swimming meets follow the same FINA rules. These are the basic rules simplified, the full competition rules can be found in detail at fina.org/swimming_rules. If in doubt ask your coach about something you can or can’t do. The rules may seem complicated and very strict, but they are there to make the race fair for all competitors ensuring one does not have an advantage over another.


The Start

·       Once on the starting blocks and you have taken up your starting position, keep still! Do no move just before the start beep or you will be disqualified for moving on the blocks.

·       Do not start before the beep or you will be disqualified.


Freestyle

This is the easiest stroke for rules as there aren’t many rules. You can swim how you like up and down the pool i.e. there are no stroke rules apart from:

·       Part of your body must break the surface of the water – i.e. you can not swim under the water.

·       Part of your body must touch the wall at the end of each length and at the finish.


Backstroke

Again there are no rules for the actual stroke as long as the swimmer remains on their back and not under the water. The trickiest part is the turn.

·       At the start make sure your toes are touching the wall or touchpad. They can not be over the tip of a gutter if there is one.

·       Part of your body must touch the wall at the end of each length and at the finish.

·       When doing a tumble turn as soon as you have rolled onto your front, you must immediately do one arm pull and then tumble. You cannot continue to kick without doing an arm pull and you cannot do more than one arm pull. You must be on your back again when leaving the wall.

·       You do not have to do a tumble turn. You can just touch the wall with your hand and turn around. You have to make sure you are still on your back when you touch the wall i.e. do not twist around to look when touching the wall so your shoulders move through 900 i.e. once they are past vertical you are technically on your front – you will be disqualified for this. Make sure you have practiced and know how many strokes to do after passing the flags before you start to turn.


Breaststroke

This is a little more complicated as there are lots of rules on how you actually do the stroke. You will not be entering galas if you can’t do the stroke properly so swim as you have been taught and just try and remember these main points:

·       At the start you can do a single butterfly kick under the water. You will be disqualified if you do more. You do not have to do any butterfly kicks though – you cannot do any freestyle kicking at all. You can also do one full arm pull under the water and start a second but your head needs to break the surface before your arms reach their widest point.

·       At each turn and at the finish of the race, you must touch with both hands separated and simultaneously. A lot of swimmers are disqualified for touching with one hand then the other!


Butterfly

There are again quite a few rules regarding the stroke which we won’t list them all but remember the turn is the same as breaststroke…

·       At each turn and at the finish of the race, you must touch with both hands separated and simultaneously. A lot of swimmers are disqualified for touching with one hand then the other!

·       You can do as many butterfly kicks under the water at the start as you want but you can only do one arm pull.


Individual Medley

·       You must swim in the correct order of strokes i.e. Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle.

·       You cannot swim backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly in a freestyle length of an individual medley.

·       You must finish each length in the correct way for that stroke – this is especially important when changing from one stroke to another. Remember:

o   When finishing backstroke to touch the wall while still on your back. You can not do a tumble turn between backstroke and breaststroke.

o   Touch with two hands when turning on butterfly or breaststroke.

Relays

·       You must follow all the normal rules for the stroke at the start, during the race and at the finish.

·       You must wait for the incoming swimmer to touch the wall before you start. A lot of swimmers are disqualified for going too soon. Watch your teammate touch!

  

Note: The Club currently has 3 ASA qualified judges who would be happy to answer any questions you might have. These judges are coaches Sheila Haswell and Susanna Lee and committee member/poolside helper Vicky Scotcher.