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LindsayNB
June 1st, 2008, 11:31 PM
I've been told that there is a new FINA rule or interpretation that disallows placing lap counters into the water. Does anyone know the official scoop on this?

ALM
June 1st, 2008, 11:48 PM
From www.fina.org, click on "Directory", then click on "Rules & Regulations"

FINA Rule SW 2.6.3:
In individual events of 800 and 1500 metres, each inspector of turns at the turning end of the pool shall record the number of laps completed by the swimmer in his lane and keep the swimmer informed of the remaining number of laps to be completed by displaying "lap cards". Semi-electronic equipment may be used, including under water display.

ALM
June 1st, 2008, 11:55 PM
From the USMS Rule Book:

Appendix B, "INFORMATION FOR USMS PARTICIPANTS AT FINA EVENTS":

2.9: Counters—FINA officials lap count for swimmers, and only for 800 and
1500 meter races. [FINA SW 2.6.3; USMS 102.10.6]


And also from the USMS Rule Book:

102.10.6 Counters

C If visual counters are used, they may be stationed at the end or either
side of the pool beyond the halfway point toward the end of the course
opposite the starting end. Visual counters may be lowered into the water
at the end of the swimmer’s lane, provided that, in the opinion of the
referee, they neither physically aid the swimmer or interfere with another
competitor or present any safety hazard.

Rykno
June 2nd, 2008, 05:31 AM
in the region I swim in Sweden they no longer allow the counter to lower the numbers into the pool, since on more than one occasion the official has dropped the display.

so now at the start of each race, the timers ask the swimmers what side they want the counter to display the lap number, right, left of in the middle.

I thought it was a hassle to either look up before the turn, or take a big breathe after the turn to look back. and I only swam the 800m can't imagine having to look over my shoulder for a 1500m

knelson
June 2nd, 2008, 11:44 AM
So I guess to swim the 400 meter short course free you have to be able to count to 16 in your head.

thewookiee
June 2nd, 2008, 12:17 PM
So I guess to swim the 400 meter short course free you have to be able to count to 16 in your head.

I'd be screwed then...

That Guy
June 2nd, 2008, 12:38 PM
One time in a 400 SCM free, I didn't have a lap counter, but the guy next to me did, and I happened to look over and see 9 when I thought I was at 7. I spent the next 50 meters in a state of confusion until I saw his next number - 7. His counter was counting down, not up. This has been yet another public service announcement brought to you by Don't Do What That Guy Did. :shakeshead:

LindsayNB
June 2nd, 2008, 01:00 PM
Visual counters may be lowered into the water
at the end of the swimmer’s lane, provided that, in the opinion of the
referee, they neither physically aid the swimmer or interfere with another
competitor or present any safety hazard.

This has always been the case in Canada as well, but at Nationals the officials would not allow the counters to be lowered in the water due to a new FINA rule or interpretation. It was the first I heard of it and rather annoying really as it is much harder to look at the boards this way.

lefty
June 2nd, 2008, 01:16 PM
D3 championships 7 years ago a swimmer from Johns Hopkins dove in after the the guy ahead of him had completed 6 laps. Whoops.

But in the 80's a guy from the team in the lead got on the block a 50 early, and others from different teams followed suit. Mass confusion ensued and 4 or 5 guys dove on top of their teammates.

Finally my age group coach swam the 100 yard fly at the (Texas A&M) Aggie Open as an incentive to his swimmers and, because he was an Aggie himself, we thought he might have trouble getting to 4 so we counted for him...

pakman044
June 2nd, 2008, 03:39 PM
So I guess to swim the 400 meter short course free you have to be able to count to 16 in your head.

I actually recently swam a 1650 in April without a counter (too lazy to find one), and it was certainly worrisome trying to make sure I didn't miscount my laps. I was greatly relieved when the timer told me when I finished that I had completed the requisite distance.

Curiously enough, you don't get a bell lap signal in the 400 meter freestyle, only in the 500 yard freestyle or longer (USMS 103.8.7, USA-S 101.1.4). An amendment to the USA Swimming rules was offered to change this issue at last year's convention, but it failed (it was recommended to be rejected because it was different from FINA rules, even though USA Swimming rules allow counters for the 400 SCM Free).

I can understand why the FINA rule is interpreted that way if officials are doing the count. While swimmers are always responsible for keeping an accurate count of their laps (even if the referee or judge keeping the official count doesn't!), if the swimmer's counter was dropped to the bottom of the pool by an official, it would introduce an error caused by an official (which wouldn't be such a big deal if the swimmer's teammate dropped the counter). While I can say that I've never dropped a lap counter in a pool, this would prevent me from doing so.

And speaking of errors, I recall this last season at a high school meet I worked, the referee confused the official count for a swimmer's 500 freestyle, and gave her the last lap signal at length 16. On realizing the error, the referee had no choice but to give the signal again properly at length 18, which greatly confused the swimmer (she was so far ahead that it didn't really matter, but it wasn't a great outcome).

Patrick King

swimshark
June 2nd, 2008, 03:58 PM
I'd be screwed then...

Me, too!

Rykno
June 2nd, 2008, 04:29 PM
I miss counting for teammates. over here it's officialls that hold the counters.

they also count down in sweden. showing 1 on the last length.

Blackbeard's Peg
June 3rd, 2008, 10:24 AM
in the region I swim in Sweden they no longer allow the counter to lower the numbers into the pool, since on more than one occasion the official has dropped the display.

so now at the start of each race, the timers ask the swimmers what side they want the counter to display the lap number, right, left of in the middle.

I thought it was a hassle to either look up before the turn, or take a big breathe after the turn to look back. and I only swam the 800m can't imagine having to look over my shoulder for a 1500m

Wow, how lame and lazy. That must be a governing body issue, and I bet the officials just don't want to get wet. They should either get the poles that they had in Austin or have swimmers be responsible for providing their own counters the way we usually do.

This was the first year that I have seen the full card at the bottom of the pool (we'll call my competitive swim career 12 years old), though I have seen many a number fly off.

The only time i have ever had an official count for me was at a LCM 800 event, where I was the fastest swimmer. I told them I did not need a counter, but they needed to know when to ring the bell/press the button and the stroke and counted for me anyway

blainesapprentice
June 3rd, 2008, 10:45 AM
Wow, how lame and lazy. That must be a governing body issue, and I bet the officials just don't want to get wet. They should either get the poles that they had in Austin or have swimmers be responsible for providing their own counters the way we usually do.

This was the first year that I have seen the full card at the bottom of the pool (we'll call my competitive swim career 12 years old), though I have seen many a number fly off.

The only time i have ever had an official count for me was at a LCM 800 event, where I was the fastest swimmer. I told them I did not need a counter, but they needed to know when to ring the bell/press the button and the stroke and counted for me anyway

I've had the counter drop in my lane 1time and teammates of mine have had it happen as well...but almost exclusively the reason for them being dropped was because something about the cards themselves was defective and the counter was trying to deal with it/ keep it all together as they put them in.

I would think that the cards on the pole would be a good alternative if thats their claim: that the cards fall in too often. Because while I've seen a lot of really cruddy cards on a pole--lots of broken numbers and such...I've never seen any fall to the bottom...

quicksilver
June 3rd, 2008, 03:41 PM
C If visual counters are used, they may be stationed at the end or either
side of the pool beyond the halfway point toward the end of the course
opposite the starting end. Visual counters may be lowered into the water
at the end of the swimmer’s lane, provided that, in the opinion of the
referee, they neither physically aid the swimmer or interfere with another
competitor or present any safety hazard.

I've counted a few times over the years for my distance team mates along with total strangers.

I was instructed to wiggle and wave the placard (while underwater) if "the guy two lanes over starts making their move".
More than a few made this request.

Is this what the new rule is intended to prevent?

pakman044
June 5th, 2008, 08:59 AM
C If visual counters are used, they may be stationed at the end or either
side of the pool beyond the halfway point toward the end of the course
opposite the starting end. Visual counters may be lowered into the water
at the end of the swimmer’s lane, provided that, in the opinion of the
referee, they neither physically aid the swimmer or interfere with another
competitor or present any safety hazard.
I've counted a few times over the years for my distance team mates along with total strangers.

I was instructed to wiggle and wave the placard (while underwater) if "the guy two lanes over starts making their move".
More than a few made this request.

Is this what the new rule is intended to prevent?

I don't think so. Wiggling and waving would not seem to constitute "physical aid" to the swimmer. The kinds of things I would think that would be targeted would be, for example, leaving the turn cards in the water and allowing the swimmer to push off of the turn cards, or using the turn cards to propel the swimmer. These kinds of actions would give a physical advantage to the swimmer.

Patrick King

Nancy Ridout
June 6th, 2008, 10:39 PM
I've wondered why in FINA meets, at least in the World Championships I've attended, that the lap numbers are only counted down and in the US they can only be counted up. It seems that the process should be the same in whatever meet in which you participate.

I agree that having an official display your lap count on the deck behind your lane is pretty useless to the swimmer unless an open water turn is done. That's another difference. In the US, it's the timer who keeps the official count and often the lap counter is corrected by the referee after being notified by the timer that their count and the displayed lap don't match.

quicksilver
June 7th, 2008, 06:33 AM
... or using the turn cards to propel the swimmer. These kinds of actions would give a physical advantage to the swimmer.


Anyone moving slow enough to receive assistance from plastic cards on a stick should be taken out to pasture.

pakman044
June 8th, 2008, 05:47 PM
I agree that having an official display your lap count on the deck behind your lane is pretty useless to the swimmer unless an open water turn is done. That's another difference. In the US, it's the timer who keeps the official count and often the lap counter is corrected by the referee after being notified by the timer that their count and the displayed lap don't match.

We can count up or down in the US (USMS 102.10.6D), although I haven't seen anyone count down.

And as for the official count...I just hope that someone has it. Most of the time, between the starter, referee, counters, timers, CTS operator, you can reasonably hope that someone has the right number.


Anyone moving slow enough to receive assistance from plastic cards on a stick should be taken out to pasture.

Weird things often happen at swim meets. Stranger things have happened.

Patrick King