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Thread: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

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    Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    After seeing some accomplished swimmers get disqualified in Austin, our masters group has been trying to interpret the rules on both the butterfly and breaststroke turns.

    The first question is related to the "simultaneous touch":

    The 2008 USA Swimming Rules and Regulations book states for both strokes: "The touch shall be made simultaneously at, above, or below the water surface."

    Does this mean that one hand can be above the water and one below the water as long as they touch at the same time? We all seem to remember as kids that the touch had to be simultaneous on the same horizontal plane.

    For breaststroke, the book also states that throughout the stroke "the arms shall be simultaneous and in the same horizontal plane...", so if that is the case, then the swimmer would have to touch the wall at the same level.

    There is no such added description for arms in the butterfly stroke.

    The second question is regarding the body position upon leaving the wall:

    For breaststroke, the book states: "...after each turn when the swimmer leaves the wall, the body shall be kept on the breast." Must the swimmer be 100% flat as soon as their feet leave the wall?

    For butterfly, it states: "Once the turn has been made, the shoulders must be at or past the vertical toward the breast when the swimmer leaves the wall."

    To further complicate things, for the backstroke to breaststroke turn in the IM, the rule book states: "Once the legal touch has been made, the swimmer may turn in any manner but the shoulders must be at or past the vertical toward the breast when the swimmer leaves the wall and the prescribed breasstroke form must be attained prior to the first arm stroke."

    Does anyone have any insight into these rules?

    Thanks!

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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    Quote Originally Posted by skihwy View Post
    The first question is related to the "simultaneous touch":

    The 2008 USA Swimming Rules and Regulations book states for both strokes: "The touch shall be made simultaneously at, above, or below the water surface."

    Does this mean that one hand can be above the water and one below the water as long as they touch at the same time? We all seem to remember as kids that the touch had to be simultaneous on the same horizontal plane.
    Yes, unlike BitD (back in the day) hands no longer have to be on the same plane when they touch. That means that you can start to set up your turn as you come into the wall by dropping one shoulder down prior to the touch.

    Quote Originally Posted by skihwy View Post
    For breaststroke, the book also states that throughout the stroke "the arms shall be simultaneous and in the same horizontal plane...", so if that is the case, then the swimmer would have to touch the wall at the same level.
    Ah, but the streamline/glide portion is not a 'stroke', this refers to while the arms are moving thru the motion. Since you are at the end of a complete 'stroke' at the turn, this rule does not come into effect.

    Quote Originally Posted by skihwy View Post
    For breaststroke, the book states: "...after each turn when the swimmer leaves the wall, the body shall be kept on the breast." Must the swimmer be 100% flat as soon as their feet leave the wall?
    No, it refers to the fact that the shoulders must be rotated to the breast. So a swimmer can leave the wall with thier shoulders just barely rotated to the breast BUT the rule concerning the arms being in the same horizontal plane WILL come into play if the swimmer starts thier arm pull before they get thier shoulders turned to parrallel (or nearly so from the S&T judges view) to the pool bottom.

    Quote Originally Posted by skihwy View Post
    For butterfly, it states: "Once the turn has been made, the shoulders must be at or past the vertical toward the breast when the swimmer leaves the wall."
    The rules for body position prior to the feet leaving the wall for Breast and Fly are the same. As long your shoulders are even _slightly_ past vertical to the breast you are legal




    Quote Originally Posted by skihwy View Post
    To further complicate things, for the backstroke to breaststroke turn in the IM, the rule book states: "Once the legal touch has been made, the swimmer may turn in any manner but the shoulders must be at or past the vertical toward the breast when the swimmer leaves the wall and the prescribed breasstroke form must be attained prior to the first arm stroke."

    Does anyone have any insight into these rules?

    Thanks!
    The best way to think about IM is to break it into 4 sections by stroke. All turns during each stroke portion must be legal for that stroke and each finish of each stroke portion must be a legal finish for that stroke. While this has no real affect on Fly or Free, it does have meaning on Back and the Back to Breast transitions. By that I mean during the backstroke portion you can perform a backstroke flipturn if the next length is backstroke but at the back - breast transition you must touch the wall with any portion of your body while rotated to your back. Once you finish you can turn any way you like. but you have to leave the wall according to breaststroke rules as you have finished the backstroke portion.




    Paul

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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    Breaststroke, simultaneous touch: Yes, one hand can be above the water and one below as long as they both touch at the same time.

    Breaststroke, horizontal plane throughout the stroke: The "horizontal plane" is in the stroke rule and applies to the stroke itself not to the touch at the wall. It's the turn and finish rule (not the stroke rule) that applies to the touch at the wall.

    Breaststroke, body shall be kept on the breast: the body must be on the breast when leaving the wall. 100% flat is hard to judge, but "on the breast" is not. "On the breast" is different from on the side, and breaststrokers have been disqualified for leaving the wall on their sides. This rule is different from "shoulders...at or past the vertical toward the breast" for fly and back-to-breast on the IM (interesting that this IM language is different from the breaststroke language, something for me to investigate).

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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    Quote Originally Posted by Kathy Casey View Post
    Breaststroke, body shall be kept on the breast: the body must be on the breast when leaving the wall. 100% flat is hard to judge, but "on the breast" is not. "On the breast" is different from on the side, and breaststrokers have been disqualified for leaving the wall on their sides. This rule is different from "shoulders...at or past the vertical toward the breast" for fly and back-to-breast on the IM (interesting that this IM language is different from the breaststroke language, something for me to investigate).
    I find this interesting and want to take it up with our district official. in the fall I attended an officials class, mostly to get caught up in all the rule changes from the early 90's when I stopped swimming.

    she told the class that on all turns back or breast, that as long as the body was not past 90 deg that it was ok. meaning on back stroke the officials should not see your back and on the other strokes they should not see your chest.

    going to print out this thread and discuss this with her.

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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    Quote Originally Posted by Kathy Casey View Post
    The "horizontal plane" is in the stroke rule and applies to the stroke itself not to the touch at the wall. It's the turn and finish rule (not the stroke rule) that applies to the touch at the wall.
    I think it useful to divide the rules up into the start, the turn, and the stroke. The turn includes the actual turn as well as the last stroke into the turn and after the turn until your head breaks the surface. Agreed?

    I disagree with what Paul said about the "horizontal plane" thing NOT applying to the glide/streamline. It does. It only doesn't apply to the last stroke into a turn.

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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    I disagree with what Paul said about the "horizontal plane" thing NOT applying to the glide/streamline. It does. It only doesn't apply to the last stroke into a turn.
    I may have simplified it a bit but what rule book breaks out the difference between strokes in the middle of the pool and the last stroke before a turn or a finish with regards to arm position in the streamline? I haven't seen it broken out to that respect. Now, of course, not being on the horizontal plane makes staying legal for your next stroke very difficult if not impossible to do but I was more pointing out that one does not have to be perfectly horizontal at the finish of a length of breast or fly and it is faster to start to drop one shoulder just prior to touching the wall in preparation for your turn.

    Paul

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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    Quote Originally Posted by pwolf66 View Post
    I may have simplified it a bit but what rule book breaks out the difference between strokes in the middle of the pool and the last stroke before a turn or a finish with regards to arm position in the streamline?
    It doesn't, but I was thinking of backstroke where's it obvious you can do something different on the last stroke into the wall. For that reason I was thinking that last stroke into a turn is treated differently.

    Which also begs the question--and it's been asked here before but I don't know the exact interpretation of the rules--can you come into the wall in breatstroke with only a pull and not a kick? If your timing is off at all this can happen routinely and I've never been sure if this is illegal or not. The rules definitely state that a pull must be followed by a kick, but does this also apply going into the turn?

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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post

    Which also begs the question--and it's been asked here before but I don't know the exact interpretation of the rules--can you come into the wall in breatstroke with only a pull and not a kick? If your timing is off at all this can happen routinely and I've never been sure if this is illegal or not. The rules definitely state that a pull must be followed by a kick, but does this also apply going into the turn?
    I was DQd for this during a 400 SCM IM a few years ago, having not bothered to look at that particular rule for, oh, thirty years or so. First time I was ever DQd for Beautiful Stroke, my fav. I thought that it was funny that the world-class swimmers seemed to be gliding into their turns without that short stroke we used to take, but found out the hard way!

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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    Which also begs the question--and it's been asked here before but I don't know the exact interpretation of the rules--can you come into the wall in breatstroke with only a pull and not a kick? If your timing is off at all this can happen routinely and I've never been sure if this is illegal or not. The rules definitely state that a pull must be followed by a kick, but does this also apply going into the turn?
    Yes, you must complete a stroke cycle which for breaststroke is defined as one pull followed by one kick even into a turn. It's why you see short strokes on some turns because otherwise it would only be an arm stroke with no kick.

    Paul

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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    I think I am even more confused now than I was before????

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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    No, the swimmer does not have to complete the cycle before touching the wall on the turn (or finish). The last sentence of 101.2.4 (Breaststroke turns and finish) says: "...during the last complete or incomplete cycle preceding the touch." A complete cycle is not required prior to the touch. A swimmer cannot take two pulls prior to the touch (I have seen swimmers do that and get disqualified). It has to be an arm pull and a kick in that order, but if the wall comes up before the swimmer can kick, an incomplete cycle is legal preceding the touch. I heard of one case in my area this year in which the official was going to disqualifiy the swimmer for an incomplete cycle preceding the touch. Fortunately, the swimmer knew the rule and explained it to the official, who I hoped checked it in the rule book.

    Kathy Casey, Chair
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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    This is good to know. Thanks, Kathy.

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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    Quote Originally Posted by pwolf66 View Post
    Yes, you must complete a stroke cycle which for breaststroke is defined as one pull followed by one kick even into a turn. It's why you see short strokes on some turns because otherwise it would only be an arm stroke with no kick.

    Paul
    Ugh, what the heck was I thinking? My appologies for the above. I should know it was wrong but I'm glad that someone else pointed it out. Once again, my appologies for being such a bone head.

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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    Regarding my statement earlier on the breast stroke rule:
    Breaststroke, body shall be kept on the breast: the body must be on the breast when leaving the wall. 100% flat is hard to judge, but "on the breast" is not. "On the breast" is different from on the side, and breaststrokers have been disqualified for leaving the wall on their sides. This rule is different from "shoulders...at or past the vertical toward the breast" for fly and back-to-breast on the IM (interesting that this IM language is different from the breaststroke language, something for me to investigate).

    And the reply to that:
    I find this interesting and want to take it up with our district official. in the fall I attended an officials class, mostly to get caught up in all the rule changes from the early 90's when I stopped swimming.
    she told the class that on all turns back or breast, that as long as the body was not past 90 deg that it was ok. meaning on back stroke the officials should not see your back and on the other strokes they should not see your chest.

    I did investigate the difference in language between the breaststroke rule and the IM back-to-breast. It probably is an oversight. USA Swimming changed the language of the breaststroke rule to match the FINA language. In spite of the change in language, the rule is the same in both instances: the shoulders must be at or past vertical when the feet leave the wall. I asked Bruce Stratton, Chair of USA-S Rules & Regulations Committee, the following: "So 'kept on the breast' means at or past vertical and breaststrokers should not be disqualified for leaving the wall on their sides?" His answer was, "That is correct." So the trainer at the officials class was correct. I will include this in a future Rules Corner.

    Kathy Casey, Chair
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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    I have an even more fundemental question about what constitutes a "simultaneous touch". I maintain that the rule requires two hands in simultaneous contact with the wall prior to turning or at the finish. If one hand gets to the wall a bit before the other it is not an infraction. A two hand "non-simultaneous" touch would require touching with each hand independantly one after the other. This could afford a swimmer an advatage of hitting with one hand then dragging the other past the wall after the turn is in process. However as long as both hands are on the wall together at some point it shouldn't matter how they got there.
    So what say you all?
    Does the "both hands simultaneously" mean that both hands must make initial contact the wall at exactly the same instant? If so would an accidental touch of the wall with one hand prior to a 2-hand touch be a DQ at the instant of initial contact? (OK not likely but it happens with young swimmers who misjudge distances)

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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    I view simulataneous as being at the same time, so if I see one hand touch before the other, I will rule that a non-simulateous touch. Advantage is not supposed to be a judging criteria, judges are supposed to judge on what they see not what they think they see.

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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    I totally agree with hulk. If all you have to do is place both hands on the wall at any point it kind of nullifies the whole two-handed rule in the first place.

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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    Agreed. Both hands/arms are supposed to be moving simultaneously on the same plane throughout the strokes, so why wouldn't they touch together? Not touching at the same time indicates other stroke problems as well.
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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    Simultaneusly means at the same time.

    Also see Situation #3 in the USA Swimming Situation Resolutions - Stroke & Turn, Breaststroke:
    "In a breaststroke turn, the swimmer touches with his left hand and then touches immediately after with his right hand....The coach argues that the turn is legal because both hands were on the wall at the same time. Does the disqualification stand?
    Yes, the rule is very clear....'At each turn, the touch shall be made with both hands simultaneously...' Therefore, the hands must touch at the same time, not one after the other."

    The USA Swimming Situation Resolutions can be accessed on the USA Swimming website, go to volunteers, go to officials, go to training, and find the Situations Resolutions for Stroke and Turn; Breaststroke comes up first.

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    Re: Butterfly/Breaststroke Turn Rule Interpretation

    Kathy, perhaps you can also clarify the exact criteria for judging whether a dolphin kick occurred "during the pull" versus immediately prior to the pull? In another thread one person said when the hands came apart, another said at the widest part of the outsweep, the FINA rules are not very specific.

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