Swimming Rules

Backstroke

Start

The backstroke start is used. The head must break the surface by the 15-meter mark.

Stroke Cycle

The shoulders must be past vertical toward back throughout the race except at turn. The swimmer must remain on their back and may not be completely submerged except at the touch and the finish.

On the turn and finish

Shoulders may turn past vertical as part of a continuous turning action at the turn only. Continuous single or simultaneous double arm pull may be used to execute turn, any kicking or gliding must be part of the turning action. Swimmer must be past vertical toward back when he/she leaves the wall.

Common Violations

Submerged past the 15M mark; getting artificial assistance (pulling on lane ropes or pushing off the sides); shoulders past vertical toward breast (not on back); non-continuous turn; independent kicks or pulls during the turn; no touch on the turn.


Breaststroke

Start

The forward start is used. Swimmer is permitted one full arm pull (beyond hipline) and one kick while submerged at the start and after turns; head must break the surface by the widest part of the 2nd stroke (before hands turn inward).

Stroke Cycle

Arm pulls shall be in same horizontal plane (parallel to water surface). Hands shall be pushed forward from the breast on or under the water (elbows must remain in water except at turn or finish). Stroke cycle consists of one arm pull and one kick in that order; the head must break water surface at least once each cycle. Swimmer’s leg motions must be simultaneous; feet must be turned out in downward propulsive part of kick. No flutter or butterfly kick is allowed.

On the turn & finish

a simultaneous two-hand touch is required. On turn, shoulders must be past vertical toward the breast when swimmer leaves wall.

Common Violations

Two strokes or kicks underwater; alternating kick; scissors kick; butterfly kick; arms not moving in the same horizontal plane; out-of-cycle; over water recovery; non-simultaneous or one-hand touch.


Butterfly

Start

The forward start is used. The swimmer is allowed one arm pull and as many kicks as desired at the start and turn, but the head must surface by the 15-meter mark. The first arm pull must bring the swimmer to the surface.

Stroke Cycle

The arms must pull and recover simultaneously, with forward arm motions over the water surface. The up and down movement of the legs and feet must be simultaneous. Breaststroke or flutter kicks are not allowed.

On the turn and finish

At the turns & the finish, both hands must touch simultaneously, but do not have to be on the same level. At the turn, shoulders must be past vertical toward the breast when swimmer leaves the wall.

Common Violations

The swimmer being submerged past the 15 meter mark; alternating kick; scissors kick; non-simultaneous arm stroke; underwater recovery; non-simultaneous or one-hand touch.


Freestyle

Start

The forward start is used. The Swimmer’s head must surface by the 15-meter mark.

Stroke Cycle

Any stroke can be used, except in the relay where a stroke can not be repeated. No pulling on the lane lines, walking or pushing forward off the bottom of pool.

On the turn & finish

Some part of the swimmer must touch the wall at the turn and the finish.

Common Violations

Submerged past the 15-meter mark; no touch on the turn; walking on or pushing off the bottom of the pool; getting artificial assistance (pulling on the lane ropes or pushing off the sides).


Individual / Relay Medley

The Individual Medley is swum in the following order: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle.
The Medley Relay is swum in the following order: Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly and Freestyle.