Rules of Swimming
The following Rules are just a small portion of the Rules of Swimming as set down by Fina and utilised by Swimming Australia and Swimming NSW.
A full copy of the Rules of Swimming can be found on the Swimming NSW website under Policies and Procedures – Swimming NSW Rules.
FOREWORD TO THE SWIMMING RULES
These rules contain the requirements for the conduct of Swim Meets at any level ranging from State, Area and Club Championships. Therefore, whilst the Swimming Rules incorporate the salient principles of the FINA Swimming Laws many have been expanded over the years to cater for the contingencies encountered by Swimming New South Wales
Swimming New South Wales has embraced the need for all Technical Officials to be aware of the current Rules that apply to the Sport. In particular, all Referees must meet and maintain the re-accreditation requirements as determined and published by Swimming Australia Limited (SAL) and the Company from time to time. In the Rules a reference to “a Referee” means a person who has attained the Referee’s credential and who meets the reaccreditation requirements.
The Swimming Rules in the following sections are based on the Rules and principles laid down by FINA, IPC and SAL. For the purpose of the following Rules an EVENT shall include a scratch race, a handicap or championship or other swimming competition, heat or final. “Notes” and “Clarifications” DO NOT form part of the Swimming Rules but rather are for guidance and understanding.
A reference to “Men” and “Women” includes all age groups in each sex; the prefixes “GR” and “SW” followed by a number indicate a reference to the General Rules and Swimming Rules respectively, as the context requires.
SW4 THE START
The start in Freestyle, Breaststroke, Butterfly and Individual Medley races shall be with a dive. On the long whistle (SW2.1.10) from the Referee the swimmers shall step onto the starting platform and remain there. On the Starter’s command “Take your Marks”, they shall immediately take up a starting position with at least one foot at the front of the starting platforms. The position of the hands is not relevant. When all swimmers are stationary, the Starter shall give the starting signal.
The start in Backstroke and Medley Relay races shall be from the water. At the Referee’s first long whistle (SW2.1.10) the swimmers shall immediately Amended 31 May 2016 Page 40 of 73 enter the water. At the Referee’s second long whistle the swimmers shall return without undue delay to the starting position (see SW6.1). When all swimmers have assumed their starting positions, the Starter shall give the command “Take your Marks”. When all swimmers are stationary, the Starter shall give the starting signal.
Any swimmer starting before the starting signal has been given, shall be disqualified. If the starting signal sounds before the disqualification is declared, the race shall continue and the swimmer or swimmers shall be disqualified upon completion of the race. If the disqualification is declared before the starting signal, the signal shall not be given, but the remaining swimmers shall be called back and start again. The Referee repeats the starting procedure beginning with the long whistle (the second one for backstroke) as per SW2.1.10
It is permissible for the Starter to give a “Step Down” command if a swimmer is not stationary or is slow taking his starting position. If the swimmers are asked to “Step Down” and a swimmer or swimmers do go into the water, if in the opinion of the Referee the false start was caused by the Starter, then the Referee shall have the discretion to allow the swimmers to start again.
Freestyle means that in an event so designated the swimmer may swim any style, except that in medley or medley relay events, freestyle means any style other than backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly.
Some part of the swimmer must touch the wall upon completion of each length and at the finish.
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 metres after the start and each turn. By that point, the head must have broken the surface.
Prior to the starting signal, the swimmers shall line up in the water, facing the starting end, with both hands holding the starting grips. Standing in or on the gutter or bending the toes over the lip of the gutter is prohibited. When using a backstroke ledge at the start, the toes of both feet must be in contact with the end wall or face of the touchpad. Bending the toes over the top of the touchpad is prohibited.
When a backstroke ledge is being used, each Inspector of Turns at the starting end shall install and remove the ledge after the start.
At the signal for starting and after turning the swimmer shall push off and swim upon his back throughout the race except when executing a turn as set Amended 31 May 2016 Page 41 of 73 forth in SW6.5. The normal position on the back can include a roll movement of the body up to, but not including 90 degrees from horizontal. The position of the head is not relevant.
Some part of the swimmer must break the surface of the water throughout the race. It is permissible for the swimmer to be completely submerged during the turn and for a distance of not more than 15 metres after the start and each turn. By that point the head must have broken the surface.
When executing the turn there must be a touch of the wall with some part of the swimmer’s body in his respective lane. During the turn the shoulders may be turned over the vertical to the breast after which an immediate continuous single arm pull or immediate continuous simultaneous double arm pull may be used to initiate the turn. The swimmer must have returned to the position on the back upon leaving the wall.
Upon the finish of the race the swimmer must touch the wall while on the back in his respective lane.
Backstroke start procedure shall be in accordance with SW4.2
After the start and after each turn, the swimmer may take one arm stroke completely back to the legs during which the swimmer may be submerged. At any time prior to the first breaststroke kick after the start and after each turn a single butterfly kick is permitted.
From the beginning of the first arm stroke after the start and after each turn, the body shall be on the breast. It is not permitted to roll onto the back at any time except at the turn after the touch of the wall where it is permissible to turn in any manner as long as the body is on the breast when leaving the wall. From the start and throughout the race the stroke cycle must be one arm stroke and one leg kick in that order. All movements of the arms shall be simultaneous and on the same horizontal plane without alternating movement.
The hands shall be pushed forward together from the breast on, under, or over the water. The elbows shall be under water except for the final stroke before the turn, during the turn and for the final stroke at the finish. The hands shall be brought back on or under the surface of the water. The hands shall not be brought back beyond the hip line, except during the first stroke after the start and each turn.
During each complete cycle, some part of the swimmer’s head must break the surface of the water. The head must break the surface of the water before the hands turn inward at the widest part of the second stroke. All movements of the legs shall be simultaneous and on the same horizontal plane without alternating movement. Amended 31 May 2016 Page 42 of 73
The feet must be turned outwards during the propulsive part of the kick. Alternating movements or downward butterfly kicks are not permitted except as in SW 7.1. Breaking the surface of the water with the feet is allowed unless followed by a downward butterfly kick.
At each turn and at the finish of the race, the touch shall be made with both hands separated and simultaneously at, above, or below the water level. At the last stroke before the turn and at the finish an arm stroke not followed by a leg kick is permitted.The head may be submerged after the last arm pull prior to the touch, provided it breaks the surface of the water at some point during the last complete or incomplete cycle preceding the touch.
From the beginning of the first arm stroke after the start and each turn, the body shall be kept on the breast. Underwater kicking on the side is allowed. It is not permitted to roll onto the back at any time, except at the turn after the touch of the wall where it is permissible to turn in any manner as long as the body is on the breast when leaving the wall.
Both arms must be brought forward simultaneously over the water and brought backward simultaneously under the water throughout the race, subject to SW 8.5.
All up and down movements of the legs must be simultaneous. The legs or the feet need not be on the same level, but they shall not alternate in relation to each other. A breaststroke kicking movement is not permitted.
At each turn and at the finish of the race, the touch shall be made with both hands separated and simultaneously, at, above, or below the water surface.
At the start and at turns, a swimmer is permitted one or more leg kicks and one arm pull under the water, which must bring him to the surface. It shall be permissible for a swimmer to be completely submerged for a distance of not more than 15 metres after the start and each turn. By that point, the head must have broken the surface. The swimmer must remain on the surface until the next turn or finish.
SW9 MEDLEY SWIMMING
In Individual Medley events the swimmer covers the four swimming strokes in the following order: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle. Each of the strokes must cover one quarter (1/4) of the distance.
In Medley relay events, swimmers will cover the four swimming strokes in the following order: Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly and Freestyle. Amended 31 May 2016 Page 43 of 73
Each section must be finished in accordance with the rule which applies to the style concerned.
FINA has ruled that in the case of the change from backstroke to breaststroke the swimmer must touch the wall while still on the back before the shoulder has rotated beyond the vertical.
SW10 THE RACE
A swimmer swimming over the course alone shall cover the whole distance to qualify.
The swimmer must remain and finish the race in the same lane in which he started.
In all events, a swimmer when turning shall make physical contact with the end of the pool or course. The turn must be made from the wall, and it is not permitted to take a stride or step from the bottom of the pool.
Standing on the bottom during freestyle events or during the freestyle portion of medley events shall not disqualify a swimmer, but he shall not walk.
Pulling on the lane rope is not allowed.
Obstructing another swimmer by swimming across another lane or otherwise interfering shall disqualify the offender. Should the foul be intentional, the referee shall report the matter to the Member promoting the race, and to the Member of the swimmer so offending.
No swimmer shall be permitted to use or wear any device or swimsuit that may aid his speed, buoyancy or endurance during a competition (such as webbed gloves, flippers, fins, power bands, or adhesive substances etc.). Goggles may be worn. Any kind of tape on the body is not permitted unless approved by the Referee.
Any swimmer not entered in a race, who enters the water in which an event is being conducted before all swimmers therein have completed the race, shall be disqualified from his next scheduled race in the meet.
There shall be four swimmers on each relay team. Mixed relays may be swum. Mixed Relays must consist of two (2) Men and two (2) Women. Split times achieved in these events cannot be used for records
In relay events, the team of a swimmer whose feet lose touch with the starting platform before the preceding team-mate touches the wall shall be disqualified. Amended 31 May 2016 Page 44 of 73
Any relay team shall be disqualified from a race if a team member, other than the swimmer designated to swim that length, enters the water when the race is being conducted, before all swimmers of all teams have finished the race.
The members of a relay team and their order of competing must be nominated before the race. Any relay team member may compete in a race only once. The composition of a relay team may be changed between the heats and finals of an event, provided that it is made up from the list of swimmers properly entered by a Member for that event. Failure to swim in the order listed will result in disqualification. Substitutions may be made only in the case of a documented medical emergency.
Except as provided in SW 10.16, Any swimmer having finished his race, or his distance in a relay event, must leave the pool as soon as possible without obstructing any other swimmer who has not yet finished his race. Otherwise the swimmer committing the fault, or his relay team, shall be disqualified.
Should a foul endanger the chance of success of a swimmer, the referee shall have the power to allow him to compete in the next heat or, should the foul occur in a final event or in the last heat, he/she may order it to be re-swum.
No pace-making shall be permitted, nor may any device be used or plan adopted which has that effect.
Swimmers shall not leave the water at the finishing point in any event until instructed by the Referee.
Unauthorised persons shall not be permitted in those areas of the pool designated for competition, for the swimmers or officials for the duration of any competition.
General Swimsuit Rules
The swimwear (swimsuit, cap and goggles) of all swimmers shall be in goodmoral taste and suitable for the individual sports discipline.
Swimsuits worn by Competitors in events conducted in NSW by Swimming NSW and any member Associations shall be non- transparent and conform to the following design:
(i) All swimsuits must be FINA approved;
Swimmers may wear swimsuits provided the suits meet the following criteria:
(i) Men’s swimsuits are limited to one (1) suit that covers at most the body surface from hips to knee. Swimsuits may not extend above the waist or below the knees;
(ii) Women’s swimsuits are limited to one (1) suit that is of “open back” and “open shoulder” designs that may extend down to the knee. Swimsuits must not extend below the knees.
(iii) No zippers or other fastening devices are allowed except for a waist tie. Amended 31 May 2016 Page 20 of 73
(iv) Swimsuits must be of textile material and must not contain any non textile material such as polyurethane or neoprene.
Modification of Swimsuits worn by swimmers with disability to accommodate a competitor’s disability is permitted Proposed modifications shall be submitted in writing to the Company for approval at least 14 days prior to the meet. Approved swimsuits shall be presented to the Meet Director prior to the swimmer’s first event at the competition
The Referee of a competition has the authority to exclude any swimmer whose swimsuit does not comply with this Rule.
Swimsuits are limited to one (1) suit, which may consist of one or two pieces
Australian Open & World Records can only be broken by wearing a FINA approved swimsuit.
At all Swimming New South Wales sanctioned meets, competing Areas, Clubs and swimmers must observe the following regarding advertising on clothing and equipment.
Identification in the form of:
• one manufacturer’s logo/name/insignia of a maximum size of thirty (30) square centimetres is permitted. Where one-piece body suits are used, two manufacturer’s logos/names/insignia shall be permitted, one above the waist and one below the waist of a maximum size of thirty (30) square centimetres each when worn. These manufacturer’s name/logos/insignia shall not be placed immediately adjacent to each other. Where two- piece body suits are used, the two logos/names/insignia of the manufacturer shall be placed on one part each.
• one sponsor’s logo/name/insignia of a maximum of thirty (30) square centimetres when worn. The name and the logo of the Area, Club, State or Country shall not be regarded as advertisements.
Pool Deck Equipment
All pool deck clothing, including those items listed below may carry two logos/names/insignia (one of the manufacturer and the other one of the sponsor) each with a maximum size of 40 square centimetres All accessories and equipment items listed below may carry two logos (one of the manufacturer and one of the sponsor) each with a maximum size of 6 square centimetres. Amended 31 May 2016 Page 21 of 73
1. T-shirt, polo, casual shirt, jumper, tracksuit top (40 square centimetres)
2. Bathrobe, deck coat (40 square centimetres)
3. Pants, shorts, skirts (40 square centimetres)
4. Towels (6 square centimetres)
5. Caps, hats, socks, footwear (6 square centimetres)
6. Bags – not greater than 10% of the surface area of the item, to a maximum of 60 square centimetres
For upper-body clothing items only, the manufacturer’s logo (being a design mark of maximum of 8cm in width) may additionally be displayed in the form of a strip in one of the following positions:
a) around the bottom of both sleeves; or
b) centred down the outer seam of both sleeves (from the collar across the top of the shoulders down to the bottom of the sleeve).
For lower-body clothing items only, the manufacturer’s logo (being a design mark of maximum of 8cm in width) may additionally be displayed in the form of a strip centred down the outer seam of both legs (from the waistband down to the bottom of the leg).
The name and the logo of the Club, Area, State or Country of the competitor shall not be regarded as advertisements.
Club/Area/State/Country caps may carry:
• one (1) manufacturer’s logo/name/insignia of a maximum of twenty (20) square centimetres (when the cap is not being worn).
• one (1) sponsor name/logo/insignia not exceeding twenty (20) square centimetres.
The name and the logo of the Area/Club/State/Country of the competitor shall not be regarded as advertisements.
Two (2) manufacturer logos/names/insignia of maximum six (6) square centimetres are allowed on goggles but only on the spectacle frame or band.
Body advertisement is not allowed in any way whatsoever.
Advertisement for tobacco or alcohol is not permitted.
This rule does not apply to design advertising and trademarks of SAL, or its commercial sponsors, or the design advertising and trademarks of the major sponsor of the Company or other State Association, so long as it does not conflict with a sponsor of SAL. Amended 31 May 2016 Page 22 of 73
Any advertising logos/identifications, which are not indicated in GR20 are not permitted. In the event that any apparel contravenes these regulations, the Club, Area or competitor must immediately remove the offending item/s and replace it with apparel, which complies with these regulations. In the event that a breach is not immediately remedied, the Club, Area or competitor may be requested to wear attire provided by Swimming NSW.
SNSW reserves the right to:
a) request Clubs, Areas and competitors to present any apparel for inspection and approval prior to the commencement of the Championship.