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pdjang
June 14th, 2011, 04:14 PM
Hey Fellow Swimmers,

I am a backstroker and I have a fairly good underwater SDK for my age. I can swim faster underwater than I can on the surface. Usually, 15 meters is not a problem for me.

From the USMS rule book:
101.4 Backstroke

101.4.2 Stroke—Standing in or on the gutter, placing the toes above the lip of the gutter or bending the toes over the lip of the gutter immediately after the start is not permitted. The swimmer shall push off on the back and continue swimming on the back throughout the race. 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, at the finish and for a distance of not more than 15 meters (16.4 yards) after the start and each turn. By that point, the head must have broken the surface of the water.

My main question:
Upon reviewing the rules, I believe that I could break the surface of the water with my head before the 15 meter (16.4 yards) and then continue to swim underwater (SDK on my back) for the remaining part of the race as long as I held my pinkie above the water (or until I drown).

A minor question: most pools have lane markers embedded in the lane lines - how does one know if the markers are exactly 15 meters (16.4 yards). It does not appear that there is a stringent requirement to measure the markers (as opposed to the length of the pool).

A minor question: does the 15 meter rule hold for 25 yard competition. I was told that for 25 yard competition, the maximum allowable distance is 15 yards.

Respectfully yours,

knelson
June 14th, 2011, 05:01 PM
It's always 15 meters, never yards.

I agree with your read on the rules. Your head must break the surface by 15 meters, but after that you could go back under as long as you keep one hand (or pinkie) up out of the water. I'd love to see someone try it! I have a feeling that position is very difficult to maintain AND not at all streamlined.

aquageek
June 14th, 2011, 05:24 PM
I'd trust the markers about as much as I'd trust wookiee around most farm animals.

Knelson is correct, it is always 15 meters.

Wolfie is my final authority on all things rules so I'd like his ruling as well.

Chris Stevenson
June 14th, 2011, 05:39 PM
I don't believe you can go back under once you surface. I have seen people get DQ'd for this on the finish: they lunge/dive under the water for the touch, and the judge's hand goes up.

There is no guarantee the markers are at 15m. When I was DQ'd for going past the 15m mark at Indy, the ref told me the judges place their foot at the position of the marker that is furthest away from the wall. When I asked how they knew this was 15m -- the markers can move, after all -- I was told it "probably" was.

I asked Charlie Cockrell, chair of the USMS Officials Committee, about this once, and he said that in that situation, he would concede all "close calls" to the swimmer and only DQ someone who was quite clearly beyond the marker. That feeling isn't universal among officials, though: it wasn't the case for my DQ, not that I'm bitter or anything...:).

It has always seemed odd to me that they are so strict on the tolerances for pool length measurements and so lax about this issue.

knelson
June 14th, 2011, 05:47 PM
I don't believe you can go back under once you surface. I have seen people get DQ'd for this on the finish: they lunge/dive under the water for the touch, and the judge's hand goes up.

Right, but they're going all the way under (for it to be a valid DQ, anyway). In pdjang's scenario he keeps some part of his body above the surface of the water. That should be legal per the wording of the rule.



It has always seemed odd to me that they are so strict on the tolerances for pool length measurements and so lax about this issue.

I agree. How hard would it be to just mark the deck at the 15 meter mark at both ends? It doesn't even need to be permanent. Just put some tape down.

orca1946
June 14th, 2011, 05:53 PM
That would require a Steel tape to be used & most pools do not keep it out.
Also ,does going another foot really drop the time that much? Not for me, anyhow.

aquageek
June 14th, 2011, 05:59 PM
Also ,does going another foot really drop the time that much? Not for me, anyhow.

Yes, it would, hence the rule. In a sport measured in hundredths, a foot amounts to a good deal of time.

I don't see how it would be possible to come up, restart your momentum, go back under and keep your finger above water. I guess it is possible but it sure wouldn't be fast. I think Chris should give it a test at practice this week and report back.

The Fortress
June 14th, 2011, 06:13 PM
I don't see how it would be possible to come up, restart your momentum, go back under and keep your finger above water. I guess it is possible but it sure wouldn't be fast. I think Chris should give it a test at practice this week and report back.

I was wondering about this as well. Perhaps you would have to come up sooner than the 15 meter mark to give you time to re-develop momentum underwater? If you were shallow the second time under, maybe the drag wouldn't be as bad. Still, I take so few strokes on the first length that it doesn't seem like this method would be faster.

arthur
June 14th, 2011, 06:22 PM
...
101.4.2 Stroke—Standing in or on the gutter, placing the toes above the lip of the gutter or bending the toes over the lip of the gutter immediately after the start is not permitted. The swimmer shall push off on the back and continue swimming on the back throughout the race. 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, at the finish and for a distance of not more than 15 meters (16.4 yards) after the start and each turn. By that point, the head must have broken the surface of the water.
...



I don't believe you can go back under once you surface. I have seen people get DQ'd for this on the finish: they lunge/dive under the water for the touch, and the judge's hand goes up.
...

You have seen people DQ'd for going under at the finish? I think all the top backstrokers finish underwater now.

The Fortress
June 14th, 2011, 06:28 PM
You have seen people DQ'd for going under at the finish? I think all the top backstrokers finish underwater now.

They might touch the pad/finish underwater. But the rule states that the body cannot be fully submerged prior to the finish. I've deeked fast kids for this myself.

aquageek
June 14th, 2011, 06:35 PM
You have seen people DQ'd for going under at the finish? I think all the top backstrokers finish underwater now.

Yep, like Fort, I have called this. It is actually a pretty easy call.

poolraat
June 14th, 2011, 06:40 PM
They might touch the pad/finish underwater. But the rule states that the body cannot be fully submerged prior to the finish. I've deeked fast kids for this myself.

We allow them to be underwater as they lunge for the wall at the finish. But that doesn't mean they can lunge at the flags and kick in underwater either. Basically a final stroke reach for the wall. This was the interpretation of one of the referees here who has been involved in officiating swimming (at all levels) for a very long time .

arthur
June 14th, 2011, 06:42 PM
Ok thanks. I just looked at a video more closely and the head and arms are underwater but the core/suit is at the surface. They show the finish in slow motion in this clip at around 4:30 YouTube - ‪Men's 100m Backstroke A Final - 2011 Indianapolis Grand Prix‬‏ It looks like Matt Grevers goes completely underwater a fraction of a second before touching the wall.

aquageek
June 14th, 2011, 06:51 PM
We allow them to be underwater as they lunge for the wall at the finish. But that doesn't mean they can lunge at the flags and kick in underwater either. Basically a final stroke reach for the wall. This was the interpretation of one of the referees here who has been involved in officiating swimming (at all levels) for a very long time .

If they are underwater prior to the touch, it is a DQ recommendation. It doesn't matter if it is a lunge or not. USA Swimming clarified this in the past year and it has been clarified at every meet I have officiated the past year as well.

Here's excerpts from the memo:

Question: Article 101.4.2 states that it is permissible for a swimmer to be completely submerged at the finish. What is the definition of “finish”?

Answer: Article 101.4.4 states that at the finish, the swimmer must touch the wall. Therefore, the “finish” is defined as the instant that a swimmer touches the wall. If a swimmer is completely submerged any time prior to that, except for 15 meters after the start and after each turn, it would be cause for a disqualification because the swimmer was completely submerged prior to the finish

wolf? wolf? Where are you?

pwolf66
June 14th, 2011, 08:52 PM
If they are underwater prior to the touch, it is a DQ recommendation. It doesn't matter if it is a lunge or not. USA Swimming clarified this in the past year and it has been clarified at every meet I have officiated the past year as well.

Here's excerpts from the memo:

Question: Article 101.4.2 states that it is permissible for a swimmer to be completely submerged at the finish. What is the definition of “finish”?

Answer: Article 101.4.4 states that at the finish, the swimmer must touch the wall. Therefore, the “finish” is defined as the instant that a swimmer touches the wall. If a swimmer is completely submerged any time prior to that, except for 15 meters after the start and after each turn, it would be cause for a disqualification because the swimmer was completely submerged prior to the finish

wolf? wolf? Where are you?


Ah, this is a fun one. The issue here is being able to make the call that the swimmer was COMPLETELY submerged prior to the finish and still be judging the actual touch. So unless the swimmer submerges completely 2-3 feet or farther away, this is a non-call as any good coach will get the ref to over turn this (and I rarely accept submerged at the finish - the S&T has to really prove to me that they were in an excellent position to judge the entire swimmer's body AND the touch). The finish is the point at which the S&T's judging shifts from the swim to the touch. That's the definition I use in my briefings.


As for re-submerging prior to the 15m mark? Hate to say that is perfectly legal as long as the some part of the swimmer is above the surface of the water when the swimmer's head reaches the 15m mark. Read the rule again, it never says anything about the swimmer remaining on the surface once they come up, it only states that some part of the swimmer must break the surface of the water throughout the race with the exception of prior to the swimmers head reach the 15m mark.

Someone somewhere is going to figure out how to take advantage of this but so far no one has managed to make that faster. Because resubmerging will lose you any possible gain you would get from SDKs as that costs time and energy.

swimmerb212
June 15th, 2011, 11:26 AM
It's always 15 meters, never yards.

I agree with your read on the rules. Your head must break the surface by 15 meters, but after that you could go back under as long as you keep one hand (or pinkie) up out of the water. I'd love to see someone try it! I have a feeling that position is very difficult to maintain AND not at all streamlined.

Yup, I'm still mad about my DQ in the 100 back earlier this season. I don't usually go underwater on the finish, but I lunged towards the wall on the finish, and I was nowhere near it. I lost momentum and must have popped up and then touched, and I was DQ'd, AND I screwed up my race anyway.

I think the deal is that you can only go underwater you can only come up again once. If you come up twice, that's it.

aquageek
June 15th, 2011, 11:29 AM
Ah, this is a fun one. The issue here is being able to make the call that the swimmer was COMPLETELY submerged prior to the finish and still be judging the actual touch. So unless the swimmer submerges completely 2-3 feet or farther away....

This is why I find it to be such an easy call. It is really really obvious when a swimmer goes under long before the wall because otherwise my eyes are on the touch, not the feet. And, the swimmer always gets the benefit of the doubt.

orca1946
June 15th, 2011, 11:30 AM
I would think that after stroking , one hand extended sdk would be slower than another stroke.

Chris Stevenson
June 15th, 2011, 11:33 AM
Right, but they're going all the way under (for it to be a valid DQ, anyway). In pdjang's scenario he keeps some part of his body above the surface of the water. That should be legal per the wording of the rule.

My bad, I skimmed the posts too quickly. Yes, leaving a pinky or whatever above the water would make it legal past 15m, it seems to me.

But I cannot imagine it would be faster than swimming. It seems to me that there are two big reasons SDK is fast, even though you are giving up some propulsion (ie, from your arms): you are more streamlined, and you aren't making surface waves. You lose both of these if you stick an arm up to the surface. I think it would be a huge drag (no pun intended).

Over the years I have found myself naturally seeking deeper water off the pushoff and I think it makes my underwaters faster. My :2cents:, anyway.

james lucas
June 15th, 2011, 04:47 PM
With this discussion in mind, watch the two swimmers in the center lanes:

YouTube - ‪5-15-11 Jims 50 yd back.AVI‬‏

In this tie finish, both swimmers missed their touches and lunged to the wall. Was this a DQ?

aquageek
June 15th, 2011, 05:14 PM
With this discussion in mind, watch the two swimmers in the center lanes:

YouTube - ‪5-15-11 Jims 50 yd back.AVI‬‏ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWW2KHY73vI)

In this tie finish, both swimmers missed their touches and lunged to the wall. Was this a DQ?

Impossible to tell from that angle and probably too close to call anyway.

Allen Stark
June 15th, 2011, 05:15 PM
My bad, I skimmed the posts too quickly. Yes, leaving a pinky or whatever above the water would make it legal past 15m, it seems to me.

But I cannot imagine it would be faster than swimming. It seems to me that there are two big reasons SDK is fast, even though you are giving up some propulsion (ie, from your arms): you are more streamlined, and you aren't making surface waves. You lose both of these if you stick an arm up to the surface. I think it would be a huge drag (no pun intended).

Over the years I have found myself naturally seeking deeper water off the pushoff and I think it makes my underwaters faster. My :2cents:, anyway.

Exactly.At race speed wave drag is the greatest drag.SDK is fast because you aren't making waves.As you get close to the surface you begin making waves.If you are close enough to the surface to have a finger out and maintain any sort of streamline you are going to be making waves.If you are deep with a finger at the surface then your arm will be extended well away from streamline and that will slow you down significantly.If you can dolphin kick at the surface faster than you can swim backstroke then the idea has some merit,but I doubt that is true for many.

jaadams1
June 15th, 2011, 07:29 PM
Just SDK to the 15M mark, breakout and continue SDKing on the surface. :) I could probably be faster doing this in a shorter race (probably not) since my arm turnover is slow and my backstroke kick is lazy.

pdjang
June 15th, 2011, 10:11 PM
It does not have to be a pinkie.

It could be a foot!

SDK on your side; rooster tail splash at an angle with one foot.

Faster?

maybe not for old people.

Allen Stark
June 15th, 2011, 10:22 PM
It does not have to be a pinkie.

It could be a foot!

SDK on your side; rooster tail splash at an angle with one foot.

Faster?

maybe not for old people.

You still have the wave problem.If you are that shallow you will have wave drag which will almost certainly slow you below your backstroke speed.Try it though,the stop watch doesn't lie.

jaadams1
June 15th, 2011, 11:10 PM
You still have the wave problem.If you are that shallow you will have wave drag which will almost certainly slow you below your backstroke speed.Try it though,the stop watch doesn't lie.

That's almost like someone I know who swims breaststroke on their back during the 15M of the backstroke events? Who was that again? I forget his name...what was it?...That G...no, that's not it... :dunno: Said it was faster though...

The Fortress
June 15th, 2011, 11:27 PM
It does not have to be a pinkie.

It could be a foot!

SDK on your side; rooster tail splash at an angle with one foot.

Faster?

maybe not for old people.

Are you going to try it? When will you come up before starting the second SDK on the side?

I'm tempted to try it with your new rooster tail version, just to see ...

jaadams1
June 15th, 2011, 11:37 PM
I'm tempted to try it with your new rooster tail version, just to see ...

You've got to remove the monofin first though. :D

That Guy
June 16th, 2011, 12:21 AM
That G

I've been called many things but this is a new one. Look, I'm pretending not to like it! :rant3:

pwolf66
June 16th, 2011, 08:37 AM
You've got to remove the monofin first though. :D


:ohyeah:

orca1946
June 16th, 2011, 11:57 AM
Someone try it to see if they get a D Q !! :D or:badday: