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Rules Committee Blog


Questions about rules? Search the tag cloud to the right to find previous entries that might answer your question. Feel free to post questions via the comments tool in each post, or contact rules@usms.org.

  1. Question: Wearing more than one swimcap

    by , March 31st, 2019 at 02:21 PM (Rules Committee Blog)
    Question: Can a swimmer wear two swim caps during competition?

    Answer: By rule, swimmers are permitted to wear a swimsuit (in one or two pieces), goggles, and no more than two swim caps. The swimwear rules are covered in article 102.12.1 in the USMS rules.
  2. Question: Wearing a Watch in Competition

    by , March 31st, 2019 at 02:19 PM (Rules Committee Blog)
    Question:

    Is it permissible to wear a wristwatch while swimming during a race in a sanctioned USMS meet?

    Answer:

    It not illegal to wear a watch, but it is illegal to use a watch during a race. If the official observes that a swimmer is using a watch as a pacing device, the swimmer should be disqualified. But, simply wearing a watch is not enough to warrant a DQ.

    Charles Cockrell
    USMS Rules Committee Chair
  3. Question: Backstroke Turns

    by , March 31st, 2019 at 02:17 PM (Rules Committee Blog)
    Question:

    What is permissible in doing a backstroke turn?

    Answer:

    In backstroke, the requirement is for some part of the body to touch the wall at the turn. Prior to the turn, you are permitted to leave your back and turn over onto the breast in order to execute the turn. If you leave the back, only one single or double arm pull is permitted and you must initiate the turn before the conclusion of the arm pull. Any other kicking, pulling, or gliding motion that is separate from this continuous turning motion is not permitted.

    Note that swimmers are not required to perform what some people call a backstroke flip turn. You can also touch the wall with your hand or arm at the turn and do an open turn. Or, if you turn over on to the breast, you can touch the wall with your hand, as long as you dont take another pull, kick into the wall, or glide into the wall without initiating the turn.

    Charles Cockrell
    USMS Rules Committee Chair
  4. Question: How many official splts are possible?

    by , March 31st, 2019 at 02:16 PM (Rules Committee Blog)
    Question:

    When swimming the 1500-meter Freestyle, how many official splits may a swimmer obtain?

    Answer:

    When swimming a 1500-meter freestyle event (or any distance/stroke event), you may request any splits that correspond to a conforming event listed in article 102.5.2.

    For the 1500-meter Freestyle, that would include the 50, 100, 200, 400, and 800 meter freestyle events if you choose. Unless automatic splits are in place for the meet, you must request the split(s) in writing to the meet referee prior to the end of the meet for freestyle events.

    Note that for individual backstroke events and relay events, the split request must be submitted to the referee in writing prior to swimming the event.

    Charles Cockrell
    USMS Rules Committee Chair
  5. Question: Preliminaries/Finals Formats

    by , March 31st, 2019 at 02:07 PM (Rules Committee Blog)
    Question:

    Is it permissible to run a sanctioned or recognized meet with a format that includes preliminaries and finals?

    Answer:

    This is covered in article 102.5.5.

    Formats other than timed finals, including preliminary heats and finals, are permitted under USMS rules only for short course yards meets. National Championship meets may only be conducted in a timed finals format. The only difference is that when an alternate format is used, swimmers may only swim three events per day. We also say that if a format other than timed finals is used, the meet announcement should state the process for seeding since we dont cover seeding for prelims when finals are scheduled in the rule book.

    For meets held in 25-meter or 50-meter pools, all events must be conducted as timed finals, which means that swimmers only swim the event one time and the results are determined by ranking the official times of all swimmers who compete in the event.

    Charles Cockrell
    USMS Rules Committee Chair
  6. Question: Dual Sanctioned Meets

    by , March 31st, 2019 at 02:01 PM (Rules Committee Blog)
    Question:

    A team wishes to have a dual sanctioned meet. For the longer events they want to run as combined. For all other events they want to run either as parallel or interwoven. Is this permissible?

    Answer:

    It appears that meet host would like to run some events where the swimmers are separated by events/heats and other events where swimmers swim together in the same heats.

    That is perfectly fine as long as the meet information clearly states the entry procedures for each set of events. Also, swimmers may only swim for USA Swimming or USMS in the meet, not both. So, swimmers with registration in both organizations must select only one organization to represent for the entire meet.

    For additional information, all of the guidelines for running dual-sanctioned meets can be found in Appendix B of the USMS Rule Book:

    https://www.usms.org/rules/appb.pdf

    Charles Cockrell
    USMS Rules Committee Chair