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Thread: do I have to swim backstroke?

  1. #1
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    do I have to swim backstroke?



    ... Or can I SDK, surface and keep on SDKing on my back until the turn? Because it would be awesome if that were legal.

  2. #2
    USMS Membership Director Jayhawk's Avatar
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    Re: do I have to swim backstroke?

    The USMS Rule Book can be found on the usms.org web site:
    -- go to usms.org
    -- mouse over the red "For Volunteers" tab
    -- select "Rule Book"
    -- click on the link for "Part 1: Swimming Rules"

    The backstroke rules are as follows:

    101.4 Backstroke

    101.4.1 Start—
    The backstroke start shall be used.

    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 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.

    101.4.3 Turns—Upon completion of each length, some part of the swimmer must touch the wall. During the turn the shoulders may be turned past the vertical toward the breast, after which an immediate continuous single arm pull or an immediate continuous simultaneous double arm pull may be used to initiate the turn. Once the body has left the position on the back, any kick or arm pull must be part of the continuous turning action. The swimmer must have returned to a position on the back upon leaving the wall.

    Note: The swimmer who turns past vertical and, in a continuous motion, grabs the wall before pushing off with the feet while on the back is considered to have executed a “continuous turning action.”

    101.4.4 Finish—Upon the finish of the race, the swimmer must touch the wall while on the back.

  3. #3
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: do I have to swim backstroke?

    Backstroke means anything goes as long as you are on your back, (and you don't even have to do that right before the turn. ) You can only go 15M underwater,but you can keep dolphining at the surface.I expect you will find that disappointing however as wave drag at the surface will slow you significantly.

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    Very Active Member mmlr38's Avatar
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    Re: do I have to swim backstroke?

    What Allen said.

    And for inspiration for swimming backstroke all SDK with no arms, check out this 100m backstroke race at the 2012 Paralympic Games:

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    Re: do I have to swim backstroke?

    The only part of my backstroke that isn't disappointing is the SDK. Is the wave drag lessened by stroking?

  6. #6
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: do I have to swim backstroke?

    Form drag(the drag generated by the resistance of the shape and smoothness of our body moving through the water) increases as roughly the square of increased speed. Wave drag increases at a much more complicated rate,but a good first approximation is as the cube. This means that,on the surface,wave drag soon becomes the major drag.Dolphin kicking is not nearly as propulsive as pulling,but with less drag underwater,it doesn't need to be.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

  7. #7
    Very Active Member Swimosaur's Avatar
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    Re: do I have to swim backstroke?

    Yes, you do.

    If I have to swim breaststroke, you have to swim backstroke.

  8. #8
    Active Member determinedtri's Avatar
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    Re: do I have to swim backstroke?

    Quote Originally Posted by mmlr38 View Post
    What Allen said.

    And for inspiration for swimming backstroke all SDK with no arms, check out this 100m backstroke race at the 2012 Paralympic Games:
    Or the equivalent female race. 100m backstroke in an S6 WR time of 1:24.71, all SDK:


    (Also, Masters swimmer represent! 43 year old Mirjam de Koning Peper took bronze)
    Swimmer & triathlete with cerebral palsy

  9. #9
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    Re: do I have to swim backstroke?

    I caved and swam six strokes each length. Hard to break the habit I also think I would have botched the turn otherwise. Breakouts were at 15m ("you would have been DQd if you had gone any more") and 13m, according to observers. Went a 28.8, PB by 1.4s, according to USMS.

    While it might be true that Really Good backstrokers are faster backstroking on the surface than they are SDKing, I remain unconvinced that this is the case for me. It certainly feels slower. I might try this again with fewer strokes at my next meet.

  10. #10
    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: do I have to swim backstroke?

    Quote Originally Posted by sickfish View Post
    While it might be true that Really Good backstrokers are faster backstroking on the surface than they are SDKing
    And some swimmers are faster kicking UW than anyone can swim on the surface

  11. #11
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    Re: do I have to swim backstroke?

    No you don't have to swim bk
    If you're going to SDK
    Surface before 15 m
    I also suggest once you've surfaced & you're still kicking,
    tilt your body to one side but not past vert, that way you'll get more propulsion from your up beat

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