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Ed Miller
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Quote Ed Miller Replybullet Topic: New Breaststroke Rule Interpretation
    Posted: Dec/12/2008 at 10:45am

The USA Swimming Rules and Regulations Committee has issued a new interpretation concerning the downward butterfly kick allowed during the first stroke at the start and after each turn.  As you know, by their charter, USA-S is required to follow FINA rules and this interpretation reflects the current thinking at FINA on this subject.

The interpretation states:
 
"For purposes of Article 101.2.3, as it relates to what constitutes the initiation of the first arm pull and the allowed single downward butterfly kick, the following applies:
 
After the start and each turn, any lateral or downward movement of the hands or arms is considered to be the initiation of the first arm pull."
 
This interpretation is effective immediately for all meets conducted under USA-S technical rules!
 
Undulating of the hands while in the streamlining position is not considered to be a lateral or downward movement as contemplated under the interpretation.
 
This interpretation only affects breaststroke; no parallels should be drawn to when the butterfly stroke begins for purposes of determining whether or not an underwater recovery has occurred.
 
Please continue to watch this Forum, as we will post additional guidance as it becomes available.
 
Ed Miller
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jpsquires
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Quote jpsquires Replybullet Posted: Mar/16/2009 at 11:48am

Ed,

  I worked USY Championships this weekend in Cary, NC.  I was stroke and turn judge for finals of the 200 Breaststroke.  The swimmer left the block in a stream line position with the hands slightly apart. She held this position and did not move her hands. She then initiated a dolphin kick, then initiated the pull.  I made a call that the kick was initiated before the pull (out of sequence).   The Referee overturned the call because of the new interpretation of the rule.  His reasoning was that since the hands were separated there was no way to tell if any movement in the hands occurred.  In his view if a swimmer is not in a hand over hand streamline this call can never be made.

 Is this the intent of the new interpretation? I would like to pass a clear ruling on to my officials.

 

Thanks

 

John Squires

YMCA Officials Trainer.  

 

John Squires
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rhallapp
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Quote rhallapp Replybullet Posted: Mar/16/2009 at 8:58pm
I would like to see discussion of this point as well.  While it is clear that any movement of the hands outward or downward is the initiation of the pull, it also seems clear that that the movement must continue in order to be a pull at all, and that merely separating from the hand-over-hand streamline to a static separated position is not a "pull."  I think the purpose of the interpretation is simply to relieve stroke judges of the obligation to determine when the actual pull - catching water in the traditional sense - begins.  The language of the rule does not relieve us of determining whether the movement is the start of a pull, or just a change of streamlining position.  We make the same kind of determination in a continuous turn call, and I think the referee's position was too literal an interpretation of the interpretation, without considering the intent of it. 
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Ed Miller
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Quote Ed Miller Replybullet Posted: Mar/17/2009 at 11:55am
It is always difficult to answer questions about a specific disqualification when you haven't seen the infraction.  However, in this case, as the facts were presented, it appears that a disqualification would have been in order.  The rule interpretation allows that any lateral or downward motion of the hands is considered the initiation of the stroke for purposes of the downward butterfly kick.  In this case, it appears that the turn judge discerned that there was no such motion so the disqualification was proper.  This is going to be a tough one for a little while until we all get more familiar with it.
 
Ed Miller
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Quote jpsquires Replybullet Posted: Mar/17/2009 at 12:02pm

Thanks for the reply(s). I agree that it should have been an infraction. My concern is that the word sent out from USA swimming is being taken the way this referee did, in a literal sense and possibly not the way it was intended.  Rhallapp I believe hit it on the mark and that it is to relive the stroke judges of the obligation to determine when the actual pull starts.

 I have posed the same question to our USA LSC chairs to ask their opinon.  
John Squires
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CG1966
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Quote CG1966 Replybullet Posted: Dec/20/2010 at 11:08am
I'd be interested in anyone's thoughts on the following:
 
Breastroke - swimmer pushes off in streamlined hand over hand position.  Hands then separate laterally a few inches.  Swimmer holds that position gliding for 1-2 seconds, and then does a dolphin kick, still holding the hands in the same slightly separated position.  After the dolphin kick, swimmer then glides for another 1-2 seconds, again holding hands in slightly separated position.  Swimmer then pulls down past the hipline. 
 
The question is whether this initial separation of the hands, which is then held for a considerable period of time before, during and after the dolphin kick is considered initiation of the pull.
 
 
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Quote daolson Replybullet Posted: Dec/20/2010 at 2:18pm
Originally posted by Ed Miller

...  This is going to be a tough one for a little while until we all get more familiar with it.
 
Ed Miller
National Officials' Committee Chair 


That's an understatement.

This issue is going to be locally big this year, as a number of the local swim teams are now teaching a Kitajima-style pullout with the downward dolphin kick executed essentially at the same time as the pull is initiated.   I became a lot more interested in this issue after I DQ'ed a swimmer for an illegal pullout.  I wound up discussing the rule with the other four officials on deck (small meet), and everyone but the meet referee was fuzzy on the rule.

It's not just an age group issue, either.  When I watched the TV broadcast of the 2010 Short Course Nationals, they had some underwater shots of pull outs in a breaststroke final.  I saw several of the situations described here: it appeared that one swimmer undulated his hands while executing the dolphin kick, but did not initiate an arm pull until after the dolphin kick was completed.  Another broke his streamline but then held his arms straight ahead and still (superman) while executing the dolphin kick, and then initiated the pull.  In that situation the call will be extremely hard to make, as I'd have to observe the initiation of the dolphin kick, turn my attention to the arms, and be certain that they have not initiated a pull.

FWIW, the Level I and Level II exam question on pullouts is worded in an extremely confusing way.  It needs to be re-written.
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Ed Miller
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Quote Ed Miller Replybullet Posted: Jan/02/2011 at 9:50am
Let me try to deal with CG1966 and DAOlson's above comments. 
 
As to the situation described by CG1966, that lateral movement would be considered to be an initiation of the first arm stroke under the Interpretation, which says "... any downward or lateral movement ...".
 
As to DAOlson's comments, I agree and we have to try to do the best we can to enforce the rule as written.  As a practical matter, at the start it is even more difficult than at the turns due to the water turbulence.
 
As to the confusing question, I have passed that one along to our YMCA representative on the USA-S Testing Subcommittee for consideration by that group.
 
Ed Miller
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Quote CG1966 Replybullet Posted: Jan/10/2011 at 8:45pm
Thank you, Ed.  I appreciate the clarification.
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Quote Paddylast Replybullet Posted: Feb/04/2011 at 10:13am

Slightly off topic but linked in that it relates to that first pull after start or turn. Does the requirement for movements of arms to be in same horizontal plane prohibit the pull commencing until "on the breast" as opposed to "past vertical to the breast" or are they the same thing?

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Ed Miller
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Quote Ed Miller Replybullet Posted: Feb/04/2011 at 10:27am

Rule 101.2.2 is explicit in that "All movement of the arms must be simultaneous and in the same horizontal plane without alternating movement".  The Glossary of the 2011 Rulebook defines horizontal as "parallel to the surface of the water".  Thus, in answer to your question, the pull cannot begin until the arms are parallel to the surface or the water; if the pull begins before the arms are parallel to the surface of the water, that is cause for a disqualification.

 
Ed Miller
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rosamichelle
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Quote rosamichelle Replybullet Posted: Jul/11/2012 at 6:32am
Where can I get more detailed information about this?
You will love me, I bet!
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Ed Miller
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Quote Ed Miller Replybullet Posted: Jul/11/2012 at 1:14pm
Rosa, I don't understand your question.  The 2012 USA-S Rulebook is the final authority on stroke rules.  The only other thing that might help is to obtain a copy of the USA-S video, "Officiating Swimming", and watch it.
 
Ed Miller
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nmckin
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Quote nmckin Replybullet Posted: Jul/11/2012 at 6:57pm
For the current USA-S interpertation of the rule, you can goto:

http://www.usaswimming.org/_Rainbow/Documents/431e9c0e-25b0-40e2-8cef-69929d118be2/Breaststroke%20Butterfly%20Kick%20Rule%20Interpretation%20Dan%20Rev%20Mar%202012.pdf

That is a LONG URL, hopefully this small one will work:

http://tinyurl.com/7lg57n3
Neal McKinney
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daolson
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Quote daolson Replybullet Posted: Nov/03/2013 at 10:46pm
On a related note, I still have problems with the question on the exams:

"...if a swimmer uses a single downward butterfly kick followed by a breaststroke kick during or at the completion of the first arm pull..."

I've tested the phrasing in the question with a few people to see how they interpret it. As stated, they see the above text as confusing, but indicating that there is a downward butterfly kick, and then a breaststroke kick during or at the completion of the arm pull. Under that interpretation, the appropriate response would be to DQ the swimmer for multiple violations.

Of course it is also possible to interpret the sentence as referring to a legal sequence as stated in the rulebook. But in the rulebook, the phrasing is clear:

"...a single butterfly kick, which must be followed by a breaststroke kick, is permitted during or at the completion of the first arm pull."

In this rulebook phrasing, there is no doubt that the (optional) butterfly kick is associated with the arm pull, and the breaststroke kick must come after the arm pull.
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Ed Miller
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Quote Ed Miller Replybullet Posted: Nov/09/2013 at 9:59am
Dan, I believe you are reading too much into the order of the words in the question. Basically, both the question and the rulebbok say the same thing, but if you want the definitive answer, use the wording in the rulebook.

Ed Miller
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Quote daolson Replybullet Posted: Nov/15/2013 at 12:29am
You assert that the test question says the same thing as the rulebook, but my tests do not support that conclusion.

For example, even non-officials conclude that, "butterfly kick, arm pull, breaststroke kick near the end of the arm pull," does not conform to the rulebook text. When I ask whether that action sequence conforms to the phrasing in the test question, people either can't decide (and tell me they are confused) or they say that it does. I get similar conflicts for some other action sequences.

I haven't tested alternate phrasings for the question, but if the intention is to describe a legal action, I would rephrase the question along the following lines, "...if a swimmer uses a single downward butterfly kick at the completion of the first arm pull, which is then followed by a breaststroke kick, ..."
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Ed Miller
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Quote Ed Miller Replybullet Posted: Dec/03/2013 at 8:32am
As I said, I passsed this one on to the USA-S Testing Subcommittee of the Officials Committee. Hopefully they will clarify the wording for the next iteration of the tests.

Ed Miller
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