The 2009-10 Short Course season is underway. Please don’t
forget that your USA Swimming membership must be renewed for the new
season before December 31. For more information regarding membership
registration, see the PVS website.
Describing the Backstroke Non-Continuous Turn
Please note: the recommended verbiage used when describing a
non-continuous turning action during the backstroke has changed. The
rule itself has not changed – only the words used to describe
when the swimmer is disqualified during the backstroke turn. If the
swimmer rotates to the breast during the turn, the new verbiage will
specify whether there was a “delay initiating the arm pull”
or a “delay initiating the turn” during the required continuous
turning action that warranted a disqualification call.
to our own Tim Husson, who is the November, 2009 recipient of the Maxwell
Excellence Award for service to local swimming. The Maxwell Excellence
Award is given under the sponsorship of Swimming World magazine and
Maxwell Medals to honor an LSC official for his or her outstanding contributions
to local swimming. Tim is the third PVS official to receive this prestigious
award; Boots Hall and Ron Whalen are previous recipients. Congratulations,
Tim, on a well-deserved honor!
Uniform for Championship Meets
The PVS Officials Committee has established a standard uniform
for PVS Championship meets: white polo shirt over navy blue shorts,
trousers, or skirt for Prelims; light blue oxford shirt over navy blue
trousers or skirt for Finals.
Officials Qualifying Meet
The Tom Dolan Invitational Meet (December 3-6) has been approved by
USA Swimming as an Officials Qualifying Meet for N2 and N3 certification.
It is anticipated that the meet will include opportunities to be observed
for N2 certification in all positions as well as Initial N3 Referee
and Starter, and Initial and Final N3 Stroke and Turn and Chief Judge.
More information about the meet is available in the meet
announcement. More information about the National certification
program for officials can be found on the USA
You Make the Call
Although a breaststroker’s head breaks the surface of the water
during each cycle, she was disqualified for not taking a breath during
each cycle. Is this a valid DQ?
See the answer at the bottom of this
Advanced Hy-Tek Clinic
Back by popular demand, PVS will once again be offering an Advanced
Hy-Tek Clinic on November 14, beginning at 9am at the MLK Swim Center
in Silver Spring. The exact topics to be covered will be determined
by the needs of the class, but the primary focus areas will be running
Hy-Tek at a trials/finals championship-level meet and setting up a meet
database. The instructors will also be available for questions after
the session. You can register
for this clinic online at the PVS website.
Breaststroke is the slowest of the four strokes in competitive swimming.
Most coaches agree that it is the most difficult to teach to beginning
swimmers. Certainly, it’s one of the more difficult strokes to
In 1696, the French author Melchisédech Thévenot
wrote The Art of Swimming, describing a stroke very similar
to the modern breaststroke. The book popularized this technique. Matthew
Webb, the first man to swim the English channel, used breaststroke,
swimming the 21.26 miles in 21 hours and 45 minutes in 1875. The 1904
Summer Olympics in St. Louis were the first Olympics that included a
breaststroke competition, over a distance of 440 yards. These games
differentiated breaststroke, backstroke, and freestyle, with breaststroke
being the only stroke with a required style.
In 1934, David Armbruster, coach at the University of Iowa,
devised a double overarm recovery out of the water. This “butterfly”
arm action gave more speed but required greater training and conditioning.
One of Armbruster’s swimmers, Jack Sieg, developed the skill of
swimming while beating his legs in unison like a fish’s tail.
This kick was named the dolphin fishtail kick. Armbruster and Sieg combined
these techniques into a variant of the breaststroke called butterfly.
Even though the butterfly breaststroke, as it was called, was faster
than the breaststroke, the dolphin fishtail kick was declared a violation
of the rules. By 1938, almost every breaststroke swimmer was using butterfly
arms with a breaststroke kick. In 1953, the butterfly
stroke with the dolphin kick was legalized as a separate stroke for
competition. In the mid 1960s, the breaststroke rules were revised to
prevent the arm stroke from going beyond the hip line, except during
the first stroke after the start and after each turn. And in 2005, another
revision allowed one dolphin kick at the start and after each turn.
Do you have a question about officiating or a tip you’d like to
share? Is there a rule that you’d like to have clarified? Do you
have a suggestion for a future item in this newsletter? If so, please
send your questions/comments to the newsletter editor, Jack
Judging the Butterfly Recovery
The following is a perspective on how to judge the
recovery portion of the butterfly stroke, from Jim Sheehan (National
Officials Chair) and Bruce Stratton (Chair of USA Swimming’s Rules
and Regulations Committee):
Article 101.3.2 requires that, in the butterfly stroke, “both
arms” must be brought forward “over the water" and
pulled back simultaneously. It is the interpretation of the USA Swimming
Rules & Regulations Committee that the arm is that portion of the
body which extends from the shoulder to the wrist. It is also the interpretation
of the Committee that “over the water” means the arm, as
defined above, must break the surface of the water.
An analogy to this might be a comparison between a submarine
and a sail boat. One operates under the surface of the water and one
operates “atop” the surface of the water (i.e. part in the
water and part above the water). Clearly, if the swimmer’s arms
do not break the surface of the water it cannot be considered to be
“over the water” and would be cause for a disqualification.
However, should both arms (as defined above) break the surface of the
water, that would be legal and no disqualification should be called.
From a very practical standpoint, if the swimmer’s elbows and
wrists break the surface of the water, the recovery would be considered
legal. It is not required that both arms be completely out of the water.
Resolution to ‘You Make
There is no requirement to breathe at any specific point of any swim.
The rulebook states, “some part of the swimmer’s head shall
break the surface of the water at least once during each complete cycle
of one arm stroke and one leg kick, in that order, except after the
start and each turn the swimmer may take one arm stroke completely back
to the legs and one leg kick while wholly submerged.” There should
be no DQ.