Swimming Federation of India
TRAINING MATERIAL
Swimming Rules

These swimming rules are extracted from the FINA Handbook 2005 – 2009 edition. The information listed herein are useful for technical official who are performing Inspector-of-Turn and Chief Inspector-of-Turn. Conversant with these swimming rules is also beneficial to the technical official who intends to upgrade his/her skills as Judge of Stroke at the TO Level II course.
 
SW 4 The Start
SW 4.1 The start in Freestyle, Breaststroke, Butterfly and Individual Medley races shall be with a dive. On the long whistle (SW 2.1.5) from the referee the swimmers shall step onto the starting platform and remain there. On the starter'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.
SW 4.2 The start in Backstroke and Medley Relay races shall be from the water. At the referee's first long whistle (SW 2.1.5), the swimmers shall immediately enter the water. At the Referee's second long whistle the swimmers shall return without undue delay to the starting position (SW 6.1). 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.
SW 4.3 In Olympic Games, World Championships and other FINA events the command "Take your marks" shall be in English and the start shall be by multiple loudspeakers, mounted one at each starting platform.
SW 4.4 Any swimmer starting before the starting signal has been given, shall 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.
The Referee repeats the starting procedure beginning with the long whistle(the second one for backstrokes) as per SW 2.1.5.
SW 5 Freestyle
SW 5.1 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.
SW 5.2 Some part of the swimmer must touch the wall upon completion of each length and at the finish.
SW 5.3 Some part of the swimmer must break the surface of the water throughout the race, except it shall be permissible for the swimmer to be completely submerged during the turn and for a distance of not more than 15 metres after the start and each turn. By that point, the head must have broken the surface.
SW 6 Back Stroke
SW 6.1 Prior to the starting signal, the swimmers shall line up in the water facing the starting end, with both hands holding the starting grips. Standing in or on the gutter or bending the toes over the lip of the gutter is prohibited.
SW 6.2 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 as set forth in SW 6.4. 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.
SW 6.3 Some part of the swimmer must break the surface of the water throughout the race. It is permissible for the swimmer to be completely submerged during the turn, at the finish and for a distance of not more than 15 metres after the start and each turn. By that point the head must have broken the surface.
SW 6.4 When executing the turn there must be a touch of the wall with some part of the swimmer’s body in his/her respective lane. 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. The swimmer must have returned to the position on the back upon leaving the wall.
SW 6.5 Upon the finish of the race the swimmer must touch the wall while on the back in his/her respective lane.
SW 7 Breast Stroke
SW 7.1 After the start and after 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
SW 7.2 From the beginning of the first arm stroke after the start and after each turn, the body shall be on the breast. It is not permitted to roll onto the back at any time. From the start and throughout the race the stroke cycle must be one arm stroke and one leg kick in that order.
SW 7.3 The hands shall be pushed forward together from the breast on, under, or over the water. The elbows shall be under 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.
SW 7.4 During each complete cycle, some part of the swimmer's head shall break the surface of the water. The head must break the surface of the water before the hands turn inward at the widest part of the second stroke. All movements of the legs shall be simultaneous and in the same horizontal plane without alternating movement.
SW 7.5 The feet must be turned outwards during the propulsive part of the kick. A scissors, flutter or downward butterfly kick is not permitted except as in SW 7.1 Breaking the surface of the water with the feet is allowed unless followed by a downward butterfly kick.
SW 7.6 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.
SW 8 Butterfly
SW 8.1 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.
SW 8.2 Both arms shall be brought forward together over the water and brought backward simultaneously through-out the race, subject to SW 8.5.
SW 8.3 All up and down movements of the legs must be simultaneous. The legs or the 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.
SW 8.4 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.
SW 8.5 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 metres 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.
SW 9 Medley Swimming
SW 9.1 In individual medley events, the swimmer covers the four swimming strokes in the following order: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle. Each stroke must cover one fourth (1/4) of the distance.
SW 9.2 In medley relay events, swimmers will cover the four swimming strokes in the following order: Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly and Freestyle.
SW 9.3 Each section must be finished in accordance with the rule which applies to the strokes concerned.
SW 10 The Race
SW 10.1 All individual races must be held as separate gender events. A swimmer swimming over the course alone shall cover the whole distance to qualify.
SW 10.2 The swimmer must remain and finish in the same lane in which he/she started.
SW 10.3 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.
SW 10.4 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.
SW 10.5 Pulling on the lane rope is not allowed.
SW 10.6 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.
SW 10.7 No swimmer shall be permitted to use or wear any device that may aid his/her speed, buoyancy or endurance during a competition (such as webbed gloves, flippers, fins, etc.). Goggles may be worn. Any kind of tape on the body is not permitted unless approved by the FINA Medical Committee
SW 10.8 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.
SW 10.9 There shall be four swimmers on each relay team.
SW 10.10 In relay events, the team of a swimmer whose feet lose touch with the starting platform before the preceding team-mate touches the wall shall be disqualified.
SW 10.11 Any relay team shall be disqualified from a race if a team member, other than the swimmer designated to swim that length, enters the water when the race is being conducted, before all swimmers of all teams have finished the race.
SW 10.12 The members of a relay team and their order of competing must be nominated before the race. Any relay team member may compete in a race only once. The composition of a relay team may be changed between the heats and finals of an event, provided that it is made up from the list of swimmers properly entered by a Member for that event. Failure to swim in the order listed will result in disqualification. Substitutions may be made only in the case of a documented medical emergency.
SW 10.13 Any swimmer having finished his race, or his distance in a relay event, must leave the pool as soon as possible without obstructing any other swimmer who has not yet finished his race. Otherwise the swimmer committing the fault, or his relay team, shall be disqualified.
SW 10.14 Should a foul endanger the chance of success of a swimmer, the referee shall have the power to allow him to compete in the next heat or, should the foul occur in a final event or in the last heat, he/she may order it to be re-swum.
SW 10.15 No pace-making shall be permitted, nor may any device be used or plan adopted which has that effect.
SW 11 Timing
SW 11.1 The operation of Automatic Officiating Equipment shall be under the supervision of appointed officials. Times recorded by Automatic Equipment shall be used to determine the winner, all placing and the time applicable to each lane. The placing and times so determined shall have precedence over the decisions of timekeepers. In the event that a break-down of the Automatic Equipment occurs or that it is clearly indicated that there has been a failure of the Equipment, or that a swimmer has failed to activate the Equipment, the recordings of the timekeepers shall be official (See SW 13.3).
SW 11.2 When Automatic Equipment is used, the results shall be recorded only to 1/100 of a second. When timing to 1/1000 of a second is available, the third digit shall not be recorded or used to determine time or placement. In the event of equal times, all swimmers who have recorded the same time at 1/100 of a second shall be accorded the same placing. Times displayed on the electronic scoreboard should show only to 1/100 of a second.
SW 11.3 Any timing device that is terminated by an official shall be considered a watch. Such manual times must be taken by three timekeepers appointed or approved by the Member in the country concerned. All watches shall be certified as accurate to the satisfaction of the governing body concerned. Manual timing shall be registered to 1/100 of a second. Where no Automatic Equipment is used, official manual times shall be determined as follows:
SW 11.3.1 If two (2) of the three (3) watches record the same time and the third disagrees, the two identical times shall be the official time.
SW 11.3.2 If all three (3) watches disagree, the watch recording the intermediate time shall be the official time.
SW 11.3.3 With only two (2) out of three (3) watches working the average time shall be the official time.
SW 11.4 Should a swimmer be disqualified during or following an event, such disqualification should be recorded in the official results, but no time or place shall be recorded or announced.
SW 11.5 In the case of a relay disqualification, legal splits up to the time of the disqualification shall be recorded in the official results.
SW 11.6 All 50 metre and 100 metre splits shall be recorded for lead-off swimmers during relays and published in the official results.
SW 12 World Records
SW 12.1 For World Records in 50 metre courses, the following distances and styles for both sexes shall be recognised:
Freestyle 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 metres
Backstroke 50, 100 and 200 metres
Breaststroke 50, 100 and 200 metres
Butterfly 50, 100 and 200 metres
Individual Medley 200 and 400 metres
Freestyle Relays 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 metres
Medley Relay 4 x 100 metres
SW 12.2 For World Records in 25 metre courses, the following distances and styles for both sexes shall be recognised:
Freestyle 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 metres
Backstroke 50, 100 and 200 metres
Breaststroke 50, 100 and 200 metres
Butterfly 50, 100 and 200 metres
Individual Medley 100, 200 and 400 metres
Freestyle Relays 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 metres
Medley Relay 4 x 100 metres
SW 12.3 Members of relay teams must be of the same nationality.
SW 12.4 All records must be made in scratch competition or an individual race against time, held in public and announced publicly by advertisement at least three days before the attempt is to be made. In the event of an individual race against time being sanctioned by a Member, as a time trial during a competition, then an advertisement at least three (3) days before the attempt is to be made shall not be necessary.
SW 12.5.1 The length of each lane of the course must be certified by a surveyor or other qualified official appointed or approved by the Member in the country in which it is situated.
SW 12.5.2 Where a moveable bulkhead is used, course measurement of the lane must be confirmed at the conclusion of the session during which the time was achieved.
SW 12.6 World Records will be accepted only when times are reported by Automatic Officiating Equipment, or Semi-Automatic Officiating Equipment in the case of Automatic Officiating Equipment system malfunction.
SW 12.7 World Records can be established only by swimmers wearing FINA approved swimsuits.
SW 12. 8 World Records can be established only in fresh water. No World Records will be recognized in any kin of sea or ocean water.
The first swimmer in a relay may apply for a World Record. Should the first swimmer in a relay team complete his distance in record time in accordance with the provisions of this subsection, his performance shall not be nullified by any subsequent disqualification of his relay team for violations occurring after his distance has been completed.
SW 12.9 A swimmer in an individual event may apply for a World Record at an intermediate distance if he or his coach or manager specifically requests the referee that his performance be especially timed or if the time at the intermediate distance is recorded by Automatic Officiating Equipment. Such swimmer must complete the scheduled distance of the event to apply for a record at the intermediate distance.
SW 12.10 Applications for World Records must be made on the FINA official forms (see next page) by the responsible authority of the organising or management committee of the competition and signed by an authorised representative of the Member in the country of the swimmer, certifying that all regulations have been observed including a negative doping test certification (DC 5.3.2). The application form shall be forwarded to the Honorary Secretary of FINA within fourteen (14) days after the performance.
SW 12.11 A claim of a World Record performance shall be provisionally reported by telegram, telex or facsimile to the Honorary Secretary of FINA within seven (7) days of the performance.
SW 12.12 The Member in the country of the swimmer should report this performance by letter to the Honorary Secretary of FINA for information and action, if necessary, to assure that the official application has been properly submitted by the appropriate authority.
SW 12.13 On receipt of the official application, and upon satisfaction that the information contained in the application, including a negative doping control test certificate, is accurate, the Honorary Secretary of FINA shall declare the new World Record, see that such information is published, and see that certificates are provided to those persons whose applications have been accepted.
SW 12.14 All records made during the Olympic Games, World Championships and World Cups shall be automatically approved.
SW 12.15 If the procedure of SW 12.10 has not been followed, the Member in the country of a swimmer can apply for a World Record in default thereof. After due investigation, the Honorary Secretary of FINA is authorised to accept such record if the claim is found to be correct.
SW 12.16 If the application for a World Record is accepted by FINA, a diploma, signed by the President and the Honorary Secretary of FINA shall be forwarded by the Honorary Secretary to the Member in the country of the swimmer for presentation to the swimmer in recognition of the performance. A fifth World Record diploma will be issued to all Members whose relay teams establish a World Record. This diploma is to be retained by the Member.
SW 13 Automatic Officiating Procedure
SW 13.1 When Automatic Officiating Equipment (See FR 4) is used in any competition, the placing and times so determined and relay take-offs judged by such Equipment shall have precedence over the timekeepers.
SW 13.2 When the Automatic Equipment fails to record the place and/or time of one or more swimmers in a given race:
SW 13.2.1 Record all available Automatic Equipment times and places,
SW 13.2.2 Record all human times and places.
SW 13.2.3 The official place will be determined as follows:
SW 13.2.3.1 A swimmer with an Automatic Equipment time and place must retain his relative order when compared with the other swimmers having an Automatic Equipment time and place within that race.
SW 13.2.3.2 A swimmer not having an Automatic Equipment place but having an Automatic Equipment time will establish his relative order by comparing his Automatic Equipment time with the Automatic Equipment times of the other swimmers.
SW 13.2.3.3 A swimmer having neither an Automatic Equipment place nor an Automatic Equipment time shall establish his relative order by the time recorded by the Semi-Automatic Equipment or by three digital watches.
SW 13.3 The official time will be determined as follows:
SW 13.3 The official time will be determined as follows:
SW 13.3.1 The official time for all swimmers having an Automatic Equipment time will be that time.
SW 13.3.2 The official time for all swimmers not having an Automatic Equipment time will be the three digital watches or the Semi-Automatic Equipment time.
SW 13.4 To determine the relative order of finish for the combined heats of an event, proceed as follows:
SW 13.4.1 The relative order of all swimmers will be established by comparing their official times.
SW 13.4.2 If a swimmer has an official time which is tied with the official time(s) of one or more swimmers, all swimmers having that time shall be tied in their relative order of finish in that event.






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