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  1. Recalling Starts

    by , November 24th, 2015 at 12:11 PM (Rules Committee Blog)
    I was recently at a USMS sanctioned meet where a race was recalled by the referee after the start. Some swimmers did not hear the recall signal and kept swimming. Many swimmers standing on deck asked why this happened since we no longer recall false starts.

    The rules indeed say that if a swimmer commits a false start and the starting signal has already been given before the disqualification is noted, the race shall continue without recall. The swimmer is then disqualified upon completion of the race.

    However, the referee and starter have a responsibility to ensure a fair start for all competitors in the race. Something could happen at the start that gives one swimmer a clear advantage or put another swimmer at a clear disadvantage. Maybe one swimmer was clearly not ready, maybe an official was trying to get the starter to wait and the starter did not see it in time, maybe there was a sudden noise from the stands that caused one swimmer to react and leave early. In that case, the referee or starter may decide that we did not have a fair start and it would be better to recall swimmers and start the race again. While this is hopefully a rare occurrence, it is within the discretion of the officials.

    It is important to note that recalling a start for this reason is not considered a false start. In this case, the referee simply resets the heat and starts again.

    Charles Cockrell
    USMS Rules Committee
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