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knelson
June 30th, 2017, 11:45 PM
Those of you following USA Swimming Nationals will know that several swimmers were disqualified in the 400 IM for violating the "Lochte Rule." Essentially this rule was FINAs response to something Ryan Lochte did at 2015 Worlds. At that competition Lochte kicked on his back off the wall on the free leg of the 200 IM before rotating around, surfacing on his stomach and completing the free leg normally. Lochte wasn't DQ'd for doing this, but FINA quickly reacted and issued a statement that going forward this would not be allowed. FINAs stance is that leaving the wall on one's back constitutes swimming backstroke and the rules for IMs and medley relays state that the fourth leg must be swum in a style not previously swum.

This seems fair enough until you realize that swimmers are taught to push off on their backs on a freestyle flip turn. So how far is too far to be on your back? By the letter of the law if your feet leave the wall while you are past vertical toward your back you should be DQ'd.

I think there are two major problems with this rule. The first is that it becomes a very difficult judgment call for the turn judge and this leads to uneven enforcement. The second is that it requires swimmers to use a different turn technique for freestyle during an IM event versus a normal free event. As we all know, during a race muscle memory takes over.

In my opinion the current rule is a bad rule, but the solution to this is simple. Just remove the wording that the fourth leg needs to be a style different than the first three legs. Almost everyone that wants to competitive will still swim what all of us would consider to be "freestyle" anyway, and if someone really wants repeat one of the other strokes who really cares? With this rule change the two problems I stated above go away.

Sportygeek
July 1st, 2017, 04:49 AM
As a stroke or turn judge, I would have DQed Lochte (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k27x5cHSHu0#t=02m18s). I would not have DQed John Thomas Larson, who pushed off on his back but rotated immediately (https://twitter.com/JT_Larson_/status/880615592100810752) (and likely spent as much time not on his back during his back-back turn, as he did on his back during the free-free turn). Ella Eastin reportedly did at least one dolphin kick towards the back coming out of her free-free turn. Technically more than 1/4 of the race in the style of backstroke in breach of SW 9.1 - but nothing as blatant as Lochte's "I'm faster dolphin kicking on my back than on my front, so how about I swim ~10m of my 50m freestyle leg SDK underwater on my back".

When FINA drafted their interpretation of SW 9.1 (https://swimswam.com/official-language-of-finas-new-underwater-rule-as-of-junior-worlds/) following Lochte's non-DQ in Kazan, I wonder if they even thought about how it might impact free-free turns in 400IM or short course 200IM.

Karl_S
July 1st, 2017, 06:53 AM
Just remove the wording that the fourth leg needs to be a style different than the first three legs. Agree. This rule has always annoyed me, even before Lochte's "stunt". It's "freestyle", so what's with this restriction? I can swim a 100 freestyle any stroke or style I wish, so why not the "freestyle" leg of the 400 IM.

...And while I am ranting, let me point out the double standard here. FINA seems to be allowing quite a lot of butterfly during breaststroke races, but doing backstroke (actually upside down butterfly) on freestyle races is disallowed, and vigorously enforced at Nationals this week.

gobears
July 1st, 2017, 10:43 AM
Agree. This rule has always annoyed me, even before Lochte's "stunt". It's "freestyle", so what's with this restriction? I can swim a 100 freestyle any stroke or style I wish, so why not the "freestyle" leg of the 400 IM.

...And while I am ranting, let me point out the double standard here. FINA seems to be allowing quite a lot of butterfly during breaststroke races, but doing backstroke (actually upside down butterfly) on freestyle races is disallowed, and vigorously enforced at Nationals this week.

^^^This!!! IMO, pushing off on your back is no more backstroke than dolphin kicking on your stomach is fly. Dumb rule.

knelson
July 1st, 2017, 03:45 PM
As a stroke or turn judge, I would have DQed Lochte (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k27x5cHSHu0#t=02m18s). I would not have DQed John Thomas Larson, who pushed off on his back but rotated immediately (https://twitter.com/JT_Larson_/status/880615592100810752)

I consider your position to be incorrect. If the interpretation is that being on your back constitutes backstroke then it shouldn't matter how far you're on your back. As soon as a swimmer's feet leave the wall and they are rotated past vertical to the back they should be DQed. I think this is ridiculous. Furthermore, your position just proves there's a problem with the rule. Officials who interpret the rule strictly will DQ anyone who leaves the wall past vertical, but others may give some leeway--like you suggested. This means unequal enforcement.

Allen Stark
July 1st, 2017, 05:42 PM
Terrible rule. I understand the purpose is to establish proficiency in 4 separate strokes, but as interpreted it is impossible to enforce equitably. FINA may change their interpretation to having to be turned toward the breast by the first kick. It would be better to make to by the time you surface, or at least to the flags.

Mark Usher
July 1st, 2017, 06:52 PM
I officiated at an age group developmental meet this morning and all the buzz at the pre-meet official's meeting was about the Lochte Rule. The consensus was that it is a bad rule and too subjective to be consistently enforced.

cinc3100
July 1st, 2017, 08:35 PM
As a stroke or turn judge, I would have DQed Lochte (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k27x5cHSHu0#t=02m18s). I would not have DQed John Thomas Larson, who pushed off on his back but rotated immediately (https://twitter.com/JT_Larson_/status/880615592100810752) (and likely spent as much time not on his back during his back-back turn, as he did on his back during the free-free turn). Ella Eastin reportedly did at least one dolphin kick towards the back coming out of her free-free turn. Technically more than 1/4 of the race in the style of backstroke in breach of SW 9.1 - but nothing as blatant as Lochte's "I'm faster dolphin kicking on my back than on my front, so how about I swim ~10m of my 50m freestyle leg SDK underwater on my back".

When FINA drafted their interpretation of SW 9.1 (https://swimswam.com/official-language-of-finas-new-underwater-rule-as-of-junior-worlds/) following Lochte's non-DQ in Kazan, I wonder if they even thought about how it might impact free-free turns in 400IM or short course 200IM.


Eastin is one of those great short course swimmers who struggles in long course. She can still go to the world university games.

knelson
July 1st, 2017, 11:03 PM
I was very excited to see Abrahm DeVine make the Worlds team tonight with his second place finish in the 200 IM, putting that 400 IM DQ in the rear view mirror. Abrahm used to swim on the team I train with. He is an astoundingly efficient and graceful swimmer. Just made it look so easy.

orca1946
July 2nd, 2017, 01:00 AM
Agreed with the rule being unevenly enforced. We all live with the 15 m/17yard rule as to how far under water we can be so do we need a 5 yards rule for this instance?

orca1946
July 3rd, 2017, 12:44 AM
Watched the trials to get into Budapest today and the lochte rule was being enforced and talked about to the swimmers. "Think about your free in the I M so as not to get QD Q'ed" coaches were telling their swimmers.

sunruh
July 4th, 2017, 09:12 AM
this rule once again shows the complete and utter ineptitude and stupidity of fina.
1st we had the kobishie rule to ALLOW the underwater dolphin kick on breast stroke because they didnt want to have to enforce the rule and DQ the world record holder and olympic champion.
yeah maybe he wouldnt have that record and gold if he has swam it legally in the 1st place!
then to top it off, the london olympic gold medalist publicly says he took 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! dolphin kicks!!!
because you know, if 1 is legal then maybe i can take 3 and get away with it.
a local friend and awesome coach from austin swim club said of his bronze medal - i only took 1 dolphin kick and and am proud of my accomplishment. that's right brandon...you got 3rd because you only took the legal 1 dolphin kick.

then the non-swimming fina members make the opposite type of rule...lets dq lochte because nobody can beat him.
now, to be fair. since forever the last leg of the IM has always been "a stroke not previously swum". this is true.
HOWEVER!!! if being on your back is a dq for freestyle, should not being on your front for backstroke be a dq as well?
i mean in the 100 and 200 backstroke you get to roll onto your front and take 1 freestyle pull...how is that BACKstroke if you are on your breast?
HOW is doing any dolphin kicks part of breast stroke?
oh oh can we allow 1 arm butterfly? ya know 1 arm and then the other arm say in diametrically opposed fashion?
and while we are on rules...why is it super suits were ever allowed? oh did you like the big payout speedo gave you?
well right up until they gave you another pig payout to have them banned because they didnt make the better suit?
the only bigger joke in sports tham fina...is fifa

Chris Stevenson
July 5th, 2017, 03:27 PM
i mean in the 100 and 200 backstroke you get to roll onto your front and take 1 freestyle pull...how is that BACKstroke if you are on your breast?

Of course, as I'm sure you remember, we were not allowed to do that for the longest time (they changed that rule after I graduated from college). Since I wasn't swimming competitively when the rule was changed, I was never really sure why they did it. Maybe because of difficulty in judging the cross-over turn? But they still have that turn in IM...

I've always thought that, if they are going to allow freestyle turns in back, then they may as well allow us to dive off the blocks instead of use the traditional backstroke starts. There really is nothing worse than starting your race by slipping badly on the start in backstroke, and it can happen to anyone.

sunruh
July 5th, 2017, 03:50 PM
well at a few meets now...there is a "ledge" for back stroke starts. ah but not ALL meets...just some!
just like some meets have the "wedge" blocks and some dont

but to point more to the stupidity of fina....the underwater cameras cannot be used to DQ someone...no, just to confirm it?
wait if you cannot DQ them by the camera, why are you using it at all?
oh i cannot see correctly from the deck so i need to look in the water...but i cant look in the water in the 1st place?
and why is it that there is only 1 judge on a side except at the really big meets and then its 1 per lane?
are you not capable of looking at the underwater video? oh wait...thats only after the on deck calls the DQ. which we now need 8 of. and that 1 judge per lane seems blind to THREE (3) dolphin kicks in a single breast stroke turn!!!

if BACKstroke includes swimming on your breast....what exactly is legal on the 4th leg of an IM? you cannot swim on your back and since backstroke includes swimming on your breast? is truely only SIDEstroke allowed?

jpetyk
July 6th, 2017, 09:18 AM
if BACKstroke includes swimming on your breast....what exactly is legal on the 4th leg of an IM? you cannot swim on your back and since backstroke includes swimming on your breast? is truely only SIDEstroke allowed?

Perhaps they should change the wording to front crawl, since that is what "freestyle" tends to be, then they can define the stroke, and the turn. While they're at it, they could change the rule that front crawl requires an open turn to make sure that the swimmer is NEVER on their back during that leg of the race. And take out any dolphin kicks, because that is butterfly. Then in a 10-20 years, the commentaters can have a field day speculating why the current IM records are still standing.

sunruh
July 6th, 2017, 12:49 PM
well just look at what mens records have been broken lately:

100 breast - a full body suit wasnt used to begin with and wasnt broken with
100 back - again not full body
200im - again not full body broken by same guy by just 0.02
1500 - by the doper who then couldnt make the finals at the olympics ... hmmm wonder why? no hemoglobin additives yang?
and i think thats it
so the only fully body suit record broken was done by a known doper

had to add 200 breast - again not full body suit
http://www.fina.org/sites/default/files/wr_50m_mar_20_2017.pdf

orca1946
July 6th, 2017, 05:23 PM
Agreed to make Crawl the last of I M . That would solve a whole host of wording problems.

sunruh
July 7th, 2017, 08:23 AM
but since "crawl" isnt defined anywhere in the rule book, but freestyle is, a *new* section on crawl would have to be added that would basically be the same as freestyle but you cannot go on your back during an IM or leg of the relay. thus you have added an entire section that can be summed up in 6 words -> "and a stroke not previously swum"

orca1946
July 9th, 2017, 12:00 AM
It seems as if this is the time to just that.

knelson
July 10th, 2017, 05:51 PM
but since "crawl" isnt defined anywhere in the rule book, but freestyle is, a *new* section on crawl would have to be added that would basically be the same as freestyle but you cannot go on your back during an IM or leg of the relay. thus you have added an entire section that can be summed up in 6 words -> "and a stroke not previously swum"

Exactly and that's the reason I think all the problems would be solved just by removing the wording that the fourth leg needs to be a stroke not previously swum. If someone really wants to repeat fly as the fourth leg of an IM, go for it I say!

orca1946
July 10th, 2017, 11:41 PM
Let's start a survey.

ande
July 18th, 2017, 12:27 PM
The Lochte Rule is STUPID, FINA created a cure for something that wasn't a problem.
FREE should be FREE. #IM4FreeFREE

gobears
July 21st, 2017, 08:00 PM
IMO - more stupidity: https://swimswam.com/fina-votes-to-alter-rules-soften-lochte-rule/

So - you have to push off the wall and do nothing until you are on your breast in both the free on the IM and the fly now? That's just dumb.

pwb
July 22nd, 2017, 09:42 PM
The Lochte Rule is STUPID, FINA created a cure for something that wasn't a problem.
FREE should be FREE. #IM4FreeFREESpeaking truth to power. +1

knelson
July 24th, 2017, 04:29 PM
IMO - more stupidity: https://swimswam.com/fina-votes-to-alter-rules-soften-lochte-rule/

So - you have to push off the wall and do nothing until you are on your breast in both the free on the IM and the fly now? That's just dumb.

I do think it's an improvement, but I worry that this is still nearly impossible to judge well. Now the turn judge has to determine whether or not the swimmer is toward the breast before initiating a kick.

No side kicking in fly is going to irk quite a few swimmers.

sunruh
July 25th, 2017, 10:19 AM
technically you just can not be vertical. be at 91 degrees (ie slightly on the breast) and you should be good. key word - should

knelson
July 25th, 2017, 11:32 AM
key word - should

Correct, but would you be willing to take the chance? You're definitely going to want to be clearly toward your breast to avoid a possible DQ. Another really dumb rule, in my opinion.

sunruh
July 25th, 2017, 11:56 AM
what contiues to baffle me and show the utter stupidity of fina is this:
backstroke seems to be whenever you are even remotely on your back
but yet
on backstroke you can be on your breast and its ok

gobears
July 25th, 2017, 02:39 PM
what contiues to baffle me and show the utter stupidity of fina is this:
backstroke seems to be whenever you are even remotely on your back
but yet
on backstroke you can be on your breast and its ok

^^^This.