Non-freestyle stroke "records" in OWS

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
...are kind of sketchy, right?

I'm an observer for two channel swimming sanctioning bodies, and though I'm familiar with the nuances of the different strokes from my pool swimming background, it certainly wasn't part of my training as an observer.

For the existing stroke "records" for the EC and CC, were the observers trained in evaluating strokes according to FINA rules? For swimmers who attempt to break these "records," should sanctioning bodies be required to provide observers who are qualified & credentialed to judge the strokes?

What happens during feeds? For what duration and distance is the swimmer allowed to "break stroke"?

In sufficiently rough conditions, presumably at some point it becomes difficult if not impossible to maintain a FINA-legal stroke, especially in butterfly. What then? Is the swim over?

It's all very sketchy. Frankly the policy of NYC Swim (as alluded to in this thread) - i.e., not recognizing stroke records at all - seems like the only reasonable approach.
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Comments

  • Here in the Netherlands we have breaststroke races.
    During every swim 10 km or less a swimmers has to wear and finish with a cap.

    During feeding and/or adjusting cap/goggles the swimmers isn't allowed any forward motion. No time length is specified but it has to be kept to a minimum.

    The record for the 22 km IJsselmeer marathon in breaststroke is 6h 48m 30s
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  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    OW breaststroke races sound dangerous. Do people ever get frog-kicked in the head?

    Was the IJsselmeer breaststroke record observed? It was verified there were no surreptitious dolphin kicks the entire 6h 48m 30s? Did the swimmer finish with both hands?
  • Yes it was observed and there were no surreptitious dolphin kicks.
    Did he finish with both hands? The time keepers and spectators made sure he didn't forget.

    Frog-kicks in the head? Take a wide berth around. :))
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  • SylleSylle Gothenburg, SwedenMember
    I am very interested in this discussion as a medley swim afficionado with a slight partiality towards fly. A couple years ago I have done a medley swim consisting of 4 laps around one (hell of an) island using all four strokes. I did my very best to never break stroke in any of the four styles. Backstroke was tricky as the island is surrounded with sharp rocks that are sometimes not really visible even when swimming on one's belly. Luckily I had a great crew of three support swimmers who made sure I was going the right way! Also on the breaststroke leg I was surprised to discover that it was a struggle to keep my feet underwater ... I kept kicking throught the surface.

    I took full advantage of the rule allowing me to stay underwater for 15m after each turn (all three of them) and actually did make sure to touch the wall with both hands at the end of the fly and breaststroke!

    I saw it mentioned recently that there might be talks about the rules of non-f/c long swims at the IMSHOF Board of Directors Meeting (which took place last week I believe). Has anyone heard anything about it?

    I would particularly like to know:

    - the observer situation: is there going to be someone keeping their eyes on the swimmer during the whole swim? This can be very tiring for that person!

    - what is the rule, as @evmo mentioned, when it is not possible for one's arms to clear the water (in fly). It actually never happened to me in training so far, either in the pool, lake or sea, and even in rough conditions. Even though, to be perfectly honest I haave taken some breaks (i.e. completing a stroke, checking the watch, looking around for 10 seconds and starting again, no forward movement) But in rougher conditions, longer swims, it's likely to happen.
  • NiekNiek Member
    edited September 2012
    The interpretation of the Fina rules as used here in the Netherlands say: The upper part of the arms must clear the water. Not the whole arms. This was also used at the Olympics in this way.

    Checking the watch would be a violence for two reasons.
    1/ No extra's (watch/music etc.) allowed FINA BL 8.2 In swimming competitions the competitor must wear only one swimsuit in one or two pieces. No additional items, like arm bands or leg bands shall be regarded as parts of a swimsuit.
    2/ While you're looking at your watch you're not performing the stroke sequence as described. butterfly

    Also on the breaststroke leg I was surprised to discover that it was a struggle to keep my feet underwater ... I kept kicking throught the surface.

    Wearing a wetsuite I presume?
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • SylleSylle Gothenburg, SwedenMember
    Niek said:


    Also on the breaststroke leg I was surprised to discover that it was a struggle to keep my feet underwater ... I kept kicking throught the surface.

    Wearing a wetsuite I presume?
    "Wetsuit"?! Brrr, no no no! I've given it up a few years back. Just the salty water and trying too much to stay quite horizontal.
  • I think there are really important questions here, to which I have no answer. @Sylle hopes to swim the EC 'fly next year, even though he hasn't mentioned it here, and I'll hopefully be there. I wouldn't mention it except he's already gone public. I know @Sylle is committed to following Channel rules, as am I.

    One Forum member has set an EC stroke record. They would have some input. @Sylle I'd recommend you contact them directly. I'll PM you.

    Since Capt Webb swam breaststroke, the best stroke at the time before the development of FINA rules and frontcrawl, it seems inevitable that there must be EC stroke rules, at least for those two strokes. And precedence has already established the other two for the EC.

    Outside the EC, I'd never thought about it much, but much of the problem would seem to stem from observation. If the Observer is sufficiently competent and aware, then it should be possible. But those are two big requirements over an extended period.

    We don't put that requirement for f/s because there's no point someone doing f/s slipping into 'fly or b/c because they are generally slower strokes, and AFAIR, there are no stroke prescriptive rules for a standard Solo (open to correction, or just looking it up).

    Also, Observation is very dependant on the individual Observer. Many of the EC Observers are not swimmers, are utterly unable to define or judge a stroke. They are checking for feeds, boat-touching, medication taken, elapsed time, stroke rates, basic stuff. Some spend most of their time in the various wheelhouses. Some even spend time asleep. This has worked to now because in the main we as swimmers are committed to following the rules. I'm not naive enough to believe this applies to everyone,as we have seen this summer.

    Does it synopsise down to:
    * Is the assumption that someone doing 'fly will try to deceive the ratifying Association or Observer
    * Or by virtue of what they are trying to do, seem to be trying something impossible in open water?
    * Is there a requirement because a swim is stroke-specific that the stroke must be monitored 100% of the time?
  • NiekNiek Member
    edited September 2012

    Is there a requirement because a swim is stroke-specific that the stroke must be monitored 100% of the time?

    No.
    Having said that I do believe it has to be monitored more frequent. If a swimmer does the stroke in a wrong way it will be noticed in the long run if he's more observed.

    Might be an idea to ask for a observer who's also a swimming judge if one is doing a special crossing.
    [I volunteer if travel expenses are paid. :-) ]

    edit: I'm a ow and pool swimming official with experience in day/night crossings in the Netherlands.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • NiekNiek Member
    edited September 2012

    Tags: butterfly backstroke breaststroke dogpaddle

    Dogpaddle is considered as freestyle.

    FINA swimming rules SW 5.1 Freestyle means that in an event so designated the swimmer may swim any style, except that in individual medley or medley relay events, freestyle means any style other than backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly.
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  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2012
    Sylle said:

    I saw it mentioned recently that there might be talks about the rules of non-f/c long swims at the IMSHOF Board of Directors Meeting (which took place last week I believe). Has anyone heard anything about it?

    I attended the meeting and it was not discussed. Unless there was a different meeting I didn't know about.

    Since Capt Webb swam breaststroke, the best stroke at the time before the development of FINA rules and frontcrawl, it seems inevitable that there must be EC stroke rules, at least for those two strokes. And precedence has already established the other two for the EC.

    Capt. Webb was swimming the best way he knew how in 1875. He swam a version of what we would now call "breaststroke." However, I'm not sure we can call his swim a "breaststroke crossing," because he wasn't being judged for adherence to any stroke-prescriptive rules. IMO, it's technically a "freestyle crossing" - albeit not using the front-crawl.

    Is the assumption that someone doing 'fly will try to deceive the ratifying Association or Observer"

    The reason and necessity for ANY swim observation isn't that the swimmer will otherwise cheat or mislead; independent verification is merely about stating the facts of what happened (I know you know this @loneswimmer, I'm speaking more generally...). It's just a bit more thorny & difficult when there are stroke-prescriptive rules involved, in addition to all the other channel-swimming rules.

    And the problem with existing channel swimming "stroke records" is that, I don't really know what happened. Did certain butterfliers really maintain a FINA-legal butterfly all the way across the channel? Really? And someone who knew the rules of butterfly was watching the entire time?

    If I were @Sylle, attempting a similar feat soon, I would want to know.
  • SylleSylle Gothenburg, SwedenMember
    I'm all in favour of a more thorough observation process, I've got nothing to hide (I think)! But up until now I was pretty much only focused on finding out if it's an achievable target or not ... not so much on the rules of observation. Especially since such records already exist, which suggested that pilots/observers somewhat knew what to do in these circumstances.

    @loneswimmer : Yep, I'd be interested in hearing what they might have to say:) I'll also contact other people as well as pilot.

    @Niek : this could be an option! I need first to figure out my budget for the next year, and then I might get back to you. I might also redirect you towards OW fly videos to have your opinion perhaps?

    @evmo : too bad they didn't address this issue in the end.. I'm also wondering if breaking stroke in case of broken goggles/big jelly encounter/getting stuck in floatsam/near encounter with the boat/etc. should be accepted or not? ... additionally to feeds.

    I will experiment so as to manage to feed without breaking stroke ... maybe by filling up a watergun with Maxim and positioning it right in front of me for 10-20 strokes?! :) Not sure if that'd be doable for hours and hours, but I'll definitely try during training!

    Otherwise, what about making a video of the entire swim, chopping it in little pieces (10 minutes or so) and using crowdsourcing in order to "flag" some of these samples and then submit them to stroke experts?!?

    Other idea: what about a system of yellow/red cards like in speed-walking?
  • Completely FINA legal butterfly stroke will be impossible if feeding, goggle-adjusting is allowed.

    We as ow community will have come to an agreement as to what is when allowed.

    The Dutch ruling with the breaststroke/butterfly is that the swimmer has to come to a full stop for those things. Unlike with freestyle/backstroke where the swimmer can keep going forward during feeds etc.
    This way the complete distance is done in the specific stroke and the necessary stops won't disqualify the attempt.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • I was the first person to swim the English Channel, backstroke in 1993. At the time I was given no instruction or special rules to follow by the CSA. The feeling being simply that I swim backstroke. It is obvious that even one stroke of front crawl, breastroke or fly, would disqualify the attempt. Luckily, I had no need to suddenly switch to crawl to escape jellies, a floating log, weed or to avoid the boat. When I stopped to feed, I was treading water and was especially careful to roll onto my back and not do a front crawl stroke by mistake. However, if one stroke, at random of front crawl, were employed, would that really matter? If one stroke, but accidentally done, say on 5 separate occasions, make a difference? Or, If a sequence of front crawl strokes were employed, say 5, would that matter? We just have to decide how to retain the integrity of the swim.

    Personally, I believe one accidental stroke should not disqualify, nor would a series of safety strokes (maybe less than 5). A breach of stroke would be quite clear to an observer to do his job and make his rulling. And that is all that is needed at present. The observer will decide and the CSA etc will accept his decision. If rules are put forward, these can be agreed at the AGM of the committee. They need not be agreed world wide.

    The difficulty I see is whether a fly stroke can include a breaststroke kick. Or whether a breaststroke can include a fly kick. Or a backstroke can include an old english double arm recovery. Once upon a time, breastroke was disqualifyable for having the head under water.......that would be virtually impossible to achieve in the Channel.

    Lets make one thing clear. Take a look at Julie Bradshaws fly video. The style is a mile away from a good looking fly. You can feel the effort of her getting those arms clear of the water. Would you really disqualify her if she accidentally made a single front crawl armstroke to reach a feed bottle?

    The thing is, as and when these difficulties start to concern the committee or the swimmers, the rules can be made to accommodate the views. ie, look at how many EC swimmers swim on the same day and record the same time. It is clear two swimmers (probably training companions) have swam side by side and have shared the cost of the boat. This is now banned. Do we strip them of their swims?

    The solutions are obvious:

    1. Make a defining set of rules.
    2. For any swimmer requiring a record attempt, have the attempt notified as such on the application form and have two observers.
    3. In the case of accidental infringement of a rule, employ a penalty mile.

  • @Haydn I'm glad you commented, I'd already given your background to @Sylle to PM you. Your perspective is very valuable.

    How would #3 work in open water?
  • SuirThingSuirThing Member
    edited September 2012
    Sylle said:

    Other idea: what about a system of yellow/red cards like in speed-walking?

    surely an excellent suggestion and very valid comparison ?
    I tried to convince myself, but, orange flavour electrolyte, mixed with hot chocolate,
    tastes nothing like Terry's Chocolate Orange ....
  • edited September 2012
    Sylle said:


    Other idea: what about a system of yellow/red cards like in speed-walking?

    As a long-time racewalker and racewalking judge, that isn't a bad idea, but it would need to be modified quite a bit to fit marathon swimming.
    For example: In international RW, a judge can only give ONE warning to a competitor for a given violation (loss of contact or failure to straighten). Furthermore, for a competitor to be DQ'ed, (s)he must have 3 red cards, each from a different judge and none of the judges may be from the same country. No judge can put in two red cards on a competitor. There are usually 6-9 judges on the race course, with a head judge who is the only one who can inform the athlete that they have been DQ'ed. Also, judges are not allowed to talk to one another during the race and preferably they are situated so that one judge can't see what another judge is doing. etc.

    I'm not quite sure how to adapt this to swimming, but I think having more than one judge is important. Also, in races where I've been the head judge, I've had people that I DQ'ed take a swing at me. I'm not sure how someone would react if they'd paid thousands of dollars for a channel attempt in a stroke, only to be DQ'ed a few hundred meters from the end, but I'd definitely have the boat captain keep the fishing knives locked up.

    -LBJ

    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • NiekNiek Member
    edited September 2012
    Having more than one judge is certainly important. You can't expect a judge to stay alert the whole time during a long swim. You don't want people to doubt the observation.

    (3 strikes=) 3 Yellow cards for small violations and your out.
    No need for violence. The swim can always count for freestyle.

    Yellow cards/Small violations might be 1-2 false kicks during a breaststroke/butterfly, 1-2 times turning to far on the belly at the backstroke.
    Red cards for touching the boat with the hands, not treading water during feeds at breaststroke/butterfly but keeping forward propulsion.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • My observations on stroke infringement are meant to suggest that the random, infrequent or safety stroke would have absolutely no beneficial affect regarding the outcome of a swim. We could consider some of the energy drinks could be banned instead, particularly those loaded with caffeine. Or sheltering on the lee side of a big fishing boat rather than a small boat escort.

    The thing is, a world class swimmer gets across in 7 hours. A Normal or lesser swimmer takes 14 hours. A stroke infringement is more likely to come from a lesser swimmer as he has less ability and has twice as many chances to get it wrong.

    Giving any penalty for any infringement (especially if only a few strokes out of the many thousands) is pointless. The swimmer still swam the Channel and would not have derived any meaningful advantage from the odd stroke.

    Any strokes that would give advantage would need to be 100 yards worth and even then maybe more like 400 yards worth. Even then, it might still only be an advantage if it were done during the swim in. Yet with these distances, I expect most will agree they are too great to retain the integrity of a swim.

    I would suggest any observer would spot a sequence of stroke changes (as opposed to a slightly flawed stroke).

    Is 10 strokes in one sequence too many? Maybe that's about the right number to disqualify the swim. Not because of any perceived advantage but purely to deal with the integrity of the swim.
  • SylleSylle Gothenburg, SwedenMember
    @Haydn, yes it sounds like 10 strokes of a different style would quite clearly break the spirit of the crossing ... with very little benefit. It could be great to have the opinion of somebody who's on the board of either CS&PF / CSA / any other Marathon Swimming association. Or an observer's opinion? Is there any on the forum (I know of @evmo of course!)
  • NiekNiek Member
    edited October 2012
    I'm an observer and a Dutch Swimming Federation (KNZB) official/judge for open water and pool.

    10 strokes in one sequence is certainly too many. Occasionally a false stroke can be overlooked as not infringing with regulations but if even that occurs to often than the stroke has to be disqualified. Just like in a pool.
    Sorry if I seems harsh but that is the consequence of doing a specific stroke. Otherwise it is freestyle swimming.

    @Sylle You better look for another observer :)
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  • SylleSylle Gothenburg, SwedenMember
    @Niek this does sound good to me. My intention is to not take a single stroke of any other style... We'll see, fingers crossed for no surprises during the swim :)
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    If 10 "safety strokes" are disqualifying, then will we see people swimming 9 safety strokes followed by 1 "proper" stroke... all the way across the Channel?
  • That wouldn't happen as an accumulated false stroke would clearly be disqualified. Most posts above seem to agree ten strokes in a sequence is too many. And I think we would all accept that there would be no advantage in as few as ten false strokes considering the overall distance being swam. (Of course in a pool, even one stroke would disqualify).

    I still believe false strokes under ten could be acceptable if the observer has such a rule to follow. More offences along the way could also be acceptable under certain conditions, but very risky as the observer might disqualify. The observer would certainly disqualify if these were not safety strokes or happened too often (maybe twice). Even 30 safety strokes spread over 20 miles and 3 or 5 occasions would not give any advantage but would be disqualified.

    I think any perceived advantage through false strokes is a red herring. There is no real advantage for 50 yards of false strokes spread over 20 miles. ( I am assuming a false stroke is a reach for the feed container, messing up the rotation from front to back, dodging the hull of the boat.) But there is definately an integrity of the swim issue. So the integrity and not the advantage is the question to answer.

    I am not suggesting a false stroke is swimming say five strokes just to stretch after every feed, or swimming freestyle for ten yards for no justification........that is simply cheating.

    How many false or safety strokes ruins the integrity? Again it is the integrity not the perceived advantage that is important. I believe any observer already has enough authority to make up his own mind.
  • NiekNiek Member
    edited October 2012
    @Haydn Stop looking for allowed limits.
    False stroke is false stroke. Certainly if done more often.

    During a Channel crossing or a marathon swim I would be lenient if the false stroke occurred because a big wave or a piece of debris hit the swimmer but when that occurs to often (and NO I won't say what is to often) than it's end of the road, period.

    Now we can't expect a Channel crossing without feedings and that's why for feedings and a few rare goggle adjustings the swimmer has to come to a full stop. Only treading water so not to sink.
    Also during getting on and off the beach we won't expect the swimmer to use the proper stroke. (But I will disqualify if the swimmer walked the whole way to the other side :) )
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • SylleSylle Gothenburg, SwedenMember
    Bumping up this thread now if you don't mind :)
    Niek said:

    We as ow community will have come to an agreement as to what is when allowed.

    Let's try to do this then!

    I have tried to summarize the different views from this thread into one file. It's only a first draft, so the structure (and content, of course) is bound to evolve quite a lot. The document is available (and editable by all) there:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pviP0TDDR-YAc5UHTMSfJEUoM6gMpMMpwATD-8udCCE/edit

    It includes points from this conversation, mostly regarding fly, but there probably should be more regarding backstroke and breaststroke.

    Would those who have any interest in the subject (and have a bit of time) mind reading this document quickly and give their feedback? As mentioned, there will be changes to the format (at the moment, it contains problematic situations, suggestions of solutions, open questions, etc.) so as to turn it into something that looks like this:

    Technique:
    - Possible Set of Rules #1
    - Possible Set of Rules #2
    - Possible Set of Rules #3
    ...

    Situation #1:
    - Possible Ruling #1
    - Possible Ruling #2
    - Possible Ruling #3
    ...

    Situation #2:
    - Possible Ruling #1
    - Possible Ruling #2
    - Possible Ruling #3
    ...

    We should keep the conversation going in this thread too ... and then I will modify the document accordingly.

    Feel free to edit the document directly (don't remove anything, if you feel like something should be modified then add a comment or a brand new bullet point).

    Let's see what we can get! :)
  • SylleSylle Gothenburg, SwedenMember
    Thank you @Niek for your comments, I should be able to modify the file accordingly tonight when I have some time.

    Some questions for y'all:

    (Variations on already asked ones, but let's see if we can get new insight/ideas..)

    - Imagine you are an observer on a non-freestyle swim ... when would YOU decide that the swimmer should be disqualified?

    - Should the swimmer be given a warning first?

    - What other stroke infringements can we have in butterfly?

    - What other stroke infringements can we have in breaststroke?

    - What other stroke infringements can we have in backstroke?

    - What would happen if one was to touch the boat in Fly or B/s, strokes in which one does reach further laterally? ... well, okay, mostly in fly.

    - Should the observer(s) be trained to recognize a proper style?

    - Anything I'm forgetting??
  • SylleSylle Gothenburg, SwedenMember
    I was also wondering if any native English-speaker would mind making translating the file into proper English? I've been away from Ireland for too long:)
  • This thread started off with the suggestion that no stroke records should be recognized like the NYC Swim policy.

    But then the discussions morphed into suggestions to how to define the stroke attempts and records.

    Based on these various suggestions, I have the following questions and requests:

    1. Once or if these definitions of how to approve (certify/ratify/judge) butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke are written, who in this Forum is responsible for final approval? In other words, how is everyone on this Forum going to approve the final definitions and parameters of swimming butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke?

    2. After or if these definitions are approved by this Forum, how will the current successful swims and record-setting swims be viewed by individuals in this Forum? In other words, there are numerous butterflyers and the previous swims performed from the English Channel to the Catalina Channel (and everywhere else between)) be "grandfathered in" and accepted as successful swims?

    3. After or if these definitions are approved by this Forum, who will propose these new rules to the various marathon swimming and channel swimming governing bodies (e.g., CCSF, CSF, CS&PF, SBCSA, TCSA, ACNEG, HCSA, CLDSA, BLDSA, ILDSA, LTSS, SSO, JIOWSA, NEKOWSA, MOWSA, MCSA, CLDSA, DOWSSA, CIASA, HSDP, JLDSA, RCSA, NEMSA, USOWSA, VOWSA, FISA, TOWSA, TSSA)? Will there be a chief spokesperson who will champion these new rules to these various governing bodies? Please note that I will gladly accept these recommendations as a member of the board of directors of IMSHOF, TCSA, and WOWSA. I will propose and discuss it with my colleagues for formal ratification - which may should be time-consuming and easy (in most cases) to get consensus.

    Thank you very much for drafting, discussing and approving these new rules. Your work is greatly appreciated.
    Steven Munatones
    www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com
    Huntington Beach, California, U.S.A.
  • NiekNiek Member
    edited October 2012
    Suppose we get consensus on the rules.
    I propose the old records will be treated somewhere along the lines the Fina did with the swimsuits. Leave the old records and start a new list of records swum by the new rules.
    It will be up to the sanctioning organizations if they will keep their own old records if their documented recordings /observer reports show that the swim wasn't swum by the 'new standards'.

    @Sylle Should the observer(s) be trained to recognize a proper style?

    Certainly. They should be certified ow judges/officials.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • I am not sure it's needed to list new swims according to newer rules. Are we assuming the newer rules will make the swims tougher and therefore more worthy to be shown as such? I would suggest current swimmers have an easier time of things when compared to those of us who had to learn our art along the way. Can you remember swimming before goggles? Remember your eyes hurting all night through chlorine or salt? and early morning training made hurt through school? We had it tough. No Internet to learn from others (not because the Internet wasn't invented), there just weren't others. Swimming the Channel was about skilful guiding not about GPS .

    Most of all, we must not rob or belittle the originals efforts as of lesser valiance just because their rules were different. Otherwise we disqualify Capt Webb.
  • @Haydn, the purpose is not disregard or disrespect the previous pioneers, we hold them in the highest esteem. But it is important to for the larger marathon community to agree guidelines that might affect future swims or swimmers and i know that is @Sylle's goal here.
  • SylleSylle Gothenburg, SwedenMember
    Munatones said:

    1. Once or if these definitions of how to approve (certify/ratify/judge) butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke are written, who in this Forum is responsible for final approval? In other words, how is everyone on this Forum going to approve the final definitions and parameters of swimming butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke?

    @Munatones The target imho is to compile a list of possibilities rather than definite rules.
    Munatones said:


    2. After or if these definitions are approved by this Forum, how will the current successful swims and record-setting swims be viewed by individuals in this Forum? In other words, there are numerous butterflyers and the previous swims performed from the English Channel to the Catalina Channel (and everywhere else between)) be "grandfathered in" and accepted as successful swims?

    Oh yes, definitely. All swims that have been approved shall remained approved, unless proof is given that the swim wasn't legal (swimmer resting on the boat, didn't complete the swim, swam 2 miles of freestyle, etc)
    Munatones said:


    3. After or if these definitions are approved by this Forum, who will propose these new rules to the various marathon swimming and channel swimming governing bodies (e.g., CCSF, CSF, CS&PF, SBCSA, TCSA, ACNEG, HCSA, CLDSA, BLDSA, ILDSA, LTSS, SSO, JIOWSA, NEKOWSA, MOWSA, MCSA, CLDSA, DOWSSA, CIASA, HSDP, JLDSA, RCSA, NEMSA, USOWSA, VOWSA, FISA, TOWSA, TSSA)? Will there be a chief spokesperson who will champion these new rules to these various governing bodies? Please note that I will gladly accept these recommendations as a member of the board of directors of IMSHOF, TCSA, and WOWSA. I will propose and discuss it with my colleagues for formal ratification - which may should be time-consuming and easy (in most cases) to get consensus.

    Again, the goal for now is rather to address all possible problematic situations and find as maybe possible rulings as possible. Then we can see if some governing bodies are interested in setting rules for non-f/c swims. Hopefully a consensus can be easily reached (but we've seen that it's not easy, even for freestyle swims).
    Niek said:

    Suppose we get consensus on the rules.
    I propose the old records will be treated somewhere along the lines the Fina did with the swimsuits. Leave the old records and start a new list of records swum by the new rules.
    It will be up to the sanctioning organizations if they will keep their own old records if their documented recordings /observer reports show that the swim wasn't swum by the 'new standards'.

    That's an option, but hasn't FINA actually NOT made any difference between 2008-09 (suited) times and the current (and older) ones? There's still only one (official) list of records and performances, right? I think this way would be fair. We shall assume that the non-f/c swims from the past were accomplished fair and square , which they most certainly were, or am I naive?
    Niek said:

    @Sylle Should the observer(s) be trained to recognize a proper style?

    Certainly. They should be certified ow judges/officials.
    @Niek Are certified open-water judges/officials trained to recognize b/c, fly and b/s?
    Haydn said:

    I am not sure it's needed to list new swims according to newer rules. Are we assuming the newer rules will make the swims tougher and therefore more worthy to be shown as such? I would suggest current swimmers have an easier time of things when compared to those of us who had to learn our art along the way. Can you remember swimming before goggles? Remember your eyes hurting all night through chlorine or salt? and early morning training made hurt through school? We had it tough. No Internet to learn from others (not because the Internet wasn't invented), there just weren't others. Swimming the Channel was about skilful guiding not about GPS .

    Most of all, we must not rob or belittle the originals efforts as of lesser valiance just because their rules were different. Otherwise we disqualify Capt Webb.

    @Haydn Gosh no, we do not want this, I, proud member of the ow community respect, admire and get inspired by all comrades from the past and present. Swimming without goggles sounds like torture ... but swimming 2 hours or more sounds like torture to most people ... this (the goggle one) I shall try during training, I'm sure I'll learn a couple things 8-)

    @Haydn, the purpose is not disregard or disrespect the previous pioneers, we hold them in the highest esteem. But it is important to for the larger marathon community to agree guidelines that might affect future swims or swimmers and i know that is @Sylle's goal here.

    @loneswimmer Yep yep. I (and others I assume) would feel better knowing that there's as little a chance as possible that future non-f/c swims be treated as "fraudulous" if they've been done the proper way.
  • SylleSylle Gothenburg, SwedenMember
    Sylle said:

    Thank you @Niek for your comments, I should be able to modify the file accordingly tonight when I have some time.

    Some questions for y'all:

    (Variations on already asked ones, but let's see if we can get new insight/ideas..)

    - Imagine you are an observer on a non-freestyle swim ... when would YOU decide that the swimmer should be disqualified?

    - Should the swimmer be given a warning first?

    - What other stroke infringements can we have in butterfly?

    - What other stroke infringements can we have in breaststroke?

    - What other stroke infringements can we have in backstroke?

    - What would happen if one was to touch the boat in Fly or B/s, strokes in which one does reach further laterally? ... well, okay, mostly in fly.

    - Should the observer(s) be trained to recognize a proper style?

    - Anything I'm forgetting??

    To add to this list ...

    - What happens if the swimmer is simply really tired/has bad cramps and does come to a full stop as a result?
    Option A: It's not an emergency situation, the swimmer is disqualified.
    Option B: It's not an emergency situation, the swimmer gets a warning, gets disqualified after N warnings.
    Option C: It's not an emergency situation, but as long as the swimmer comes to a full stop and shows willingness to continue following the rules the swim may continue.
    Option D: anyone? ...
  • HaydnHaydn Member
    edited October 2012
    I know and this is a great discussion . But all discussions need an opposing view . I just do not believe a faulty stroke provides any advantage to the swimmer at all. A few strokes might, and constant flawed strokes would. But even so, I do not believe such strokes would affect the outcome of a successful swim. You would need a few hundred yards of false strokes to make a real difference.

    It's the integrity that counts, not any perceived advantage.

    Agreeing new protocols is helpful but I am not sure penalties should be applied unless purposeful cheating occurs.

    I am sure that many will agree that regulation is not excitedly sought but actually ows has very few rules and there is plenty of room to add quite a raft of stroke protocols to preserve the integrity of a swim.

    It is interesting that very few swimmers ever think to do anything other than freestyle. Therefore stroke rules for the few non freestyle swimmers can go a long way to ensure no 'nyad' moments occur. Rules can add value, guidance and clarity to the few and can erase the questions raised by doubters.

    But why would the freestyle swimmers really care, they will never switch strokes.
    The other swimmers still get across (two on fly and two on backstroke and a handful on breaststroke). Does it matter that much if I did a couple old English arm pulls, or Julie a couple breaststroke kicks on her fly? I am sure I didn't do old English arms on my backstroke swim, but I might have done a couple breaststroke kicks in order to stretch while treading water, it would have been awful if the observer thought it worthy of a penalty card. But who would really care, apart from the swimmer.

    Adding in special rules to the stroke technique, and applying them to the handful of swimmers worldwide that consider doing other than freestyle, gives them an unfair burden that is not placed on the freestyle swimmer. This therefore makes the Channel tougher still, as they worry about jumping through these extra hoops that don't apply to others.

    Having said the above, I welcome more clarity but until then, the validity of a swim is generally up to the observer. He is already empowered to make the judgement.
  • I would suggest current swimmers have an easier time of things when compared to those of us who had to learn our art along the way. Can you remember swimming before goggles? Remember your eyes hurting all night through chlorine or salt? and early morning training made hurt through school? We had it tough. No Internet to learn from others (not because the Internet wasn't invented), there just weren't others. Swimming the Channel was about skilful guiding not about GPS .

    I can't help but detect a sense of an béal bocht here – the "we had it tough in our day" and "we walked to school in our bare feet" attitude. I thought the purpose of this forum was to get away from this kind of thing?

    I think it is unreasonable to expect that the swimmer maintains perfectly legal form throughout a marathon swim, mostly because of the necessity to feed. I doubt that any and "frontcrawl" swims will be discounted for the swimmer rolling onto their back during feeds, etc. We have to be some way reasonable about how we judge these swims...
    http://fermoyfish.com – Owen O'Keefe (Fermoy, Ireland)
  • By the way, @Haydn, I do actually agree with your points!
    http://fermoyfish.com – Owen O'Keefe (Fermoy, Ireland)
  • Are certified open-water judges/officials trained to recognize b/c, fly and b/s?

    Here in the Netherlands they certainly are.
    All our openwater judges/officials are also pool judges/officials. Unfortunately not the other way around. And as pool judge/officials one has to be able to judge the different strokes.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • Some thoughts on rules to add to stroke infringements.

    Backstroke. Standard arms and leg kick. No double Arm pulls (0ld English), no breaststroke kick whilst horizontal. Maybe no turning to face France at any time.

    Fly. No breaststroke leg kick.

    Breaststroke. No fly leg kick. (I have spent the summer training for a breaststroke Channel swim, I strained my knee and to rest it, I swam for a month with a fly kick. ) I concluded I could not risk a year training and not have faith on my knee, so I stopped. The fly kick always felt wrong, even though I got good at it.

    I was challenged to be the first to swim the Channel using three different strokes, already being the first to do so on two different strokes.

    No penalties for bottle reaching or emergency strokes or fighting surf.

    No penalties if the observer fails to warn the swimmer of potential breaches of stroke. The observer should do all things possible to ensure a faulty stroke is not repeated sufficiently to give the swimmer an advantage or bring integrity into question. Only repeated or consistent breaches should be penalised. Such breaches should be obvious and blatant in as much as special stroke training should not be needed by the observer (anyone should know what back stroke, fly or breaststroke looks like) if an infringement needs special training to notice, maybe the infringement is too minor to give an advantage or lose integrity.

    I would add that I am planning a swim that will probably break all the rules never written. So I have to make my own rules just like Ben Lacomte, BenFogle, Dave Cornthwaite, Guy Delage, Dan Martin...... Dare I say Diana Nyad.

    I am worried to tell the CSA unless they say no, but expect the CSPF will be ok. What the swimmers will think will be a thread all of its own.
  • Haydn said:

    if an infringement needs special training to notice, maybe the infringement is too minor to give an advantage or lose integrity

    great point
    I tried to convince myself, but, orange flavour electrolyte, mixed with hot chocolate,
    tastes nothing like Terry's Chocolate Orange ....
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited October 2012
    SuirThing said:

    Haydn said:

    if an infringement needs special training to notice, maybe the infringement is too minor to give an advantage or lose integrity

    great point
    @Haydn would you extend this argument to judging the strokes in pool swimming? If not, why not?
  • HaydnHaydn Member
    edited October 2012
    No. In the pool swimmers are always trying to evolve their stroke to gain advantages that almost seem like cheating. Dolphin leg kick for 15 meters. Backstrokers turning onto their front take a pull prior to a forward flip turn. These advantages provide a split second advantage in a race. But generally the integrity of the stroke is retained.

    I remember starting a breaststroke race and having dived in, I did one stroke of front crawl before I realised it was a breaststroke race. I was not disqualified. I gained no advantage. It probably disadvantaged my rhythm.

    A slightly flawed random stroke gives no advantage in the Channel considering the many thousands of good strokes. In a pool it's different, it's about winning a race at the risk of robbing your competitor for the sake of a tenth of a second. A flawed stroke could either be a cheat. Or a great new development.

    In the Channel the stroke style should be left to simple interpretation. Backstroke should not include front crawl etc and the swimmer will know not to switch strokes.

    This thread seems to seek discussion about when or if the swimmer should be disqualified. Yet I can't see any advantage to the swimmer for breaking a stroke rule . When would a swimmer really needto switch strokes?

    If a swimmer actually switches stroke and maintains it, that's one thing but I can't see any instance where a swimmer would ever need to swim enough flawed strokes to become disqualified.

    I can see that other strokes would add a substantial kudos for the swimmer if these others strokes are more severely judged whilst freestyles get the easy swim.

    The answer of course is to scrap freestyle. Replace it with front crawl and subject the swim to all the laid down technicalties of maintaining the correct stroke. and therefore disqualify the odd breast strokes that are often done either side of a feed.

    Freestylers could then go to the dark side along with the wetsuit swimmers. The thing is, Long distance swimmers are seeking only to get across. Those handful of fly, back and breast swimmers feel the same. But they are only a handful and the odd stroke infringement shouldn't rob them when the masses get away with as many infringements as they want and all the modern advantages that actually do benefit them ie power drinks and caffeine.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited October 2012
    A recent DNOWS article by @Munatones implicitly references this thread (albeit without linking or sourcing the material).

    EDIT: Sourcing issue now corrected. "Leadership" kudos, however, should go to @Sylle, @Haydn, and @Niek.

    http://dailynews.openwaterswimming.com/2012/10/decisions-on-open-water-butterfly-back.html?m=1
  • SylleSylle Gothenburg, SwedenMember
    Hej hej,

    I've added a few things to the document (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pviP0TDDR-YAc5UHTMSfJEUoM6gMpMMpwATD-8udCCE/edit).

    Let me know if I've missed anything.

  • The Daily News of Open Water Swimming article now specifically identifies this Forum and its co-founders in the article. It was no meaning in NOT identifying this Forum in the original draft. But I am happy to identify your efforts. The article now reads, "...Under the leadership of Evan Morrison and Donal Buckley at the Marathon Swimmers Forum, members of the marathon swimming community are..."

    This is a great effort and I applaud you all. We have had similar discussions and various proposals discussed at the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, but discussions never were finalized to a comprehensive set of recommendations. Your effort will go beyond these early discussions and written proposals (by Dale Petranech). That is great.

    Although photos in the referenced article are exclusively butterfly, it is mostly breaststroke that I see swum as a non-freestyle stroke around the world. Which brings to mind that many of the early open water swimmers and marathon swimmers were breaststrokers. Then the new fangled freestylers came onboard and have dominated the sport ever since. This transition from roughly 1850 - 1920 makes me wonder a few things:

    1. Did the rule makers back address the differences in breaststroke and freestyle in open water swimming competitions?
    2. Did any of the early Olympic swimmers (i.e., 1896, 1900, 1904, 1906) compete using breaststroke against the victorious freestylers? If so, are there any archived information on this?
    3. The Daily News article was partly initiated because one of the early inductees (1967) in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (Sydney Cavill) is credited with inventing the butterfly. In light of these discussions, it would be interesting to get his feedback on these discussions as well as the feedback from the well-known butterflyers, backstrokers and breaststrokers (e.g., Vicki Keith, Julie Bradshaw, Dan Projansky, Brenton Williams, Tina Neill).

    I did not see these individuals on this thread, so it seems to me that their input would be a wonderful addition to everyone else's input. These individuals know best the stresses, issues and problems that one faces while attempting a channel swimming non-freestyle.




    Steven Munatones
    www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com
    Huntington Beach, California, U.S.A.
  • SylleSylle Gothenburg, SwedenMember
    Haydn said:

    I can see that other strokes would add a substantial kudos for the swimmer if these others strokes are more severely judged whilst freestyles get the easy swim.

    We are still talking about marathon swims, "easy" isn't a word I use too often in marathon swimming discussions:) My view on the matter of difficulty of f/c vs non-f/c swims is ... that non-f/c are more difficult simply because 99.9% of the time these swims end up taking longer than if they were done in f/c. That alone makes them more difficult. If instead of doing a EC swim all in f/c one was to use 1 (5, 10, 50?) strokes of fly, b/s or b/c every hour, it would likely make the swim (marginally) more difficult, but would still count as a f/c swim.

    My point is: rules (and possibly strict-ish ones) WILL make the swim more difficult because the swimmer will have to make an extra effort to comply to them ... okay ... but non-f/c swimmers already make their lives difficult by choosing a more unusual and tougher (because slower) way.

    We can have a loose set of rules and each swimmer will decide if they want to follow them or even push them a step further (i.e. not using b/s legs even if they're allowed).

    Sitting on a chair now, I'm saying that I would like a set of rules that makes my swim valuable, that makes it clear that if I did my swim and managed to follow all the rules, then no one would come and say "Oh well, you know, he could actually take some strokes of b/s ... and the observer didn't even know the rules of butterfly". Once I'm in the water, unsure if I can take another 5 or 5000 strokes then I'll probably change my mind. But we saw what happened with Diana Nyad, and I don't want this to happen to my swims (all proportions kept, I'm not doing 100 miles!)
  • HaydnHaydn Member
    edited October 2012
    Just to add to Steves post. Whilst Tina Neil was the first female backstroke Channel swimmer, I swam the Channel backstroke in 1993. Having swam freestyle the year before, I was not ready to hang up my goggles and fancied trying to get a world first.

    What Sylvian says about freestyle strokes being tougher because they can take longer actually simplifies the case. My freestyle was a very average 13 hours 42 mins compared with the backstroke of 17 hours 2 mins. Despite a years extra fitness. The real issue is that in choosing backstroke just because nobody had ever done it, meant I had to learn to swim a stroke that I hadn't swam for 20 years as a competitive swimmer and it was my third stroke even then.

    The swim took a lot of emotional investment , especially when four weeks before my swim , another uk swimmer was attempting ( but failed). That last month was full of anxiety thinking he would get another quick swim in before my tide.

    As it happens, l had a training companion at the time trying to be the worlds oldest female. I was offered to go halves on her boat and two weeks later we swam together (her crawl being slightly slower than my back) . A storm blew in after 13 hours and we both ended the swim five miles short. Two weeks later on a spring tide, I took my chance and got across. That day other swimmers chose not to swim. It was a risk , but I understand the other uk swimmer was disappointed I made it first.

    This is the best reason for bringing strict rules. After my aborted attempt the CSA changed the rules and banned two swimmers sharing a boat. But what is iimportant is that our swims must not rob other swimmers which maybe I would have done had my first attempt succeeded. I may have had to defend the matter of sharing the boat, drafting etc and the other guy may have thought my swim unfair (although the rules did not address the matter).

    I believe it should be for the swimmer to declare his intention if he plans a record swim or a first, or anything unusual eg being the first swimmer to swim twice using different strokes. This way the swim committees can ensure a second observer or clarify specific rules. For my backstroke swim I only told the CSA Ray Scott before the swim, and he promptly forgot I was doing a world first until he had my observers report afterwards.

    The swim went virtually unrecognised until Tina Neil swam and announced she had made the worlds first backstroke many years later.

    So I recognise Sylvians wish for greater clarity and worry over potential 'Nyads'.

    We absolutely must remember that if non freestyle strokes get to have strict stroke technical rules applied to them, then the freestyles will be getting the easy swim as they will not be subject to technical stroke issues.

    We should ensure all swims are subject to equal standards of rules. I suggest again that freestyle is scrapped. It should be replaced with front crawl and therefore subject to the same rules as the non front crawl swimmers. Ie no breastroking during feeds, no turning onto your back to stretch.

    If a person seeks to do a freestyle channel swim, rather than front crawl, maybe the CSA should refer them to the CSPF along with the west suit swimmers.
  • NiekNiek Member
    edited October 2012
    @ Haydn Have you considered that when you've done the EC in backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly in the correct manner your freestyle EC could be announced as of null value?
    In medley ,the freestyle is any stroke not being one of the first three. Are you sure you haven't done some breaststrokes during your freestyle crossing? :))

    Your only excuse can be that you didn't swim it during a medley. :)

    Fina swimming rules
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • bobswimsbobswims Charter Member
    First a disclaimer: There is absolutely no chance I would do anything but freestyle. In fact there are only 2 times I do anything but front crawl. 1) jumping into water below 60° F warrants a few strokes breaststroke and 2) feeding when I break down into a stroke resembling dog paddle, although I think that does a great disservice to some amazing aquatic canines.

    If you think about it, all stroke judging is an art, not a science. Sure there are certain movements that are outside the stroke parameters that will disqualify you in the pool, but they are always subject to the judge's point of view and to rules which can change. Take for example backstroke. The rule used to be you could never flip over on your stomach even on the turn. Now it's ok on turns. At my first swim meet in high school my coach put me on an all backstroke 4 X 50 relay, despite the fact I barely knew the stroke. As it turned out I ran into the wall head first, and in a daze gathered myself and turned around. I was disqualified. Under today's rules that would have been legal. (Worst part? is we would have made it into the finals if I hadn't goten the whole relay disqualified.) So what's my point?

    My point is that whenever you evaluate a stroke you are looking at the person swimming and mentally compare it to a set of current rules. Then you must then decide if that "looks right" under the rules. I'd like to suggest that what you are really doing is determining whether the swimmer's movement's substantially and sufficiently complies with the idealized set of rules such that it should be considered legal. (For further discussion see Plato's Theory of Forms).

    In fact I'd argue that this is the only way you can determine if a swimmer is swimming a stroke legally. There is no way you could watch every detail of a swimmer's stroke and look for one slightly out of place movement in order to disqualify them, particularly in open water. For example, if a OW swimmer never stopped to feed and never broke form, but a wave suddenly struck them and rolled them over (on back or stomach) would you disqualify them? How about as they swam into the beach in France and was knocked around in the surf, would they be disqualified. Of course not. The question is did the swimmer's stroke substantially and sufficiently meet the stroke criteria to be considered legal under the conditions.

    The conditions would include among other things:
    1) the need to feed on the swim;
    2) the need to stop and even go vertical if necessary to pee;
    3) the roughness of the seas;
    4) the surf conditions on entry and exit;
    5) the need to get or self administer medical attention (eg jellyfish stings)
    6) the need to stop and change goggles;
    7) a bunch of other stuff that people can agree on.

    Is this subjective and left in the hands of the observer/judge? You bet. Is subjective judging in its nature unfair to the athlete? Not necessarily, but it can be. However, name a sport that doesn't face that challenge (or at least didn't before electronics took over starts and stops). Would this mandate the need for more than one judge? I don't think so, but the certifying organization would have to make sure they had the very best on board for those swims. Frankly if I was a swimmer attempting a specialized stroke crossing I would want more than one observer and require that they agree - although it would bring another set of eyes on me that might see a stroke break. Should the observer video the person documenting the disqualifying movement? Surely that would be helpful, as it was helpful for people to see Nyad hanging on the boat during a feed. However, once you get into the instant replay world I'm not sure it makes thing better.

    So I am suggesting that before we begin listing a set of applicable rules, that we examine the meta-rules that we would apply. Absolute: I saw something wrong you're disqualified. Or contextual: under the current conditions the swimmer failed to substantially and sufficiently comply with the stroke requirements. Surely if the swimmer breaks the rule once the'll be plenty of time in the 10 hour swim to identify it again.
  • NiekNiek Member
    edited November 2012
    There is 1 basic rule we learn for judging during a swim:
    "When in doubt rule in favour of the swimmer"
    That and what I said before:

    @Haydn Stop looking for allowed limits.
    False stroke is false stroke. Certainly if done more often.

    During a Channel crossing or a marathon swim I would be lenient if the false stroke occurred because a big wave or a piece of debris hit the swimmer but when that occurs to often (and NO I won't say what is to often) than it's end of the road, period.

    Now we can't expect a Channel crossing without feedings and that's why for feedings and a few rare goggle adjustings the swimmer has to come to a full stop. Only treading water so not to sink.
    Also during getting on and off the beach we won't expect the swimmer to use the proper stroke. (But I will disqualify if the swimmer walked the whole way to the other side )

    That combined together would certainly come more in the way of contextual ruling.
    But I personally won't be pinned to numbers. Like 2 times fault is passable and 3 times it's over. It's not swimming in a pool with flat water and no obstacles. But one must realize that when swimming a butterfly or breaststroke making a false stroke will occur much easier. Another reason why people swim in freestyle.
    Swimming backstroke there will be less excuses.
    Feeding, adjusting cap, peeing, taking medicine etc. can all be done will remaining on the back (= not turning more than 90 degrees from horizontally). Only freak waves or unexpected debris and that unexpectedness only because of the dark prevented early warning, should be reasons for a false backstroke.
    Very rough waves/weather can be a reason that a backstroke, butterfly or breaststroke is off for that day. To bad but don't blame the weather, one can always do the crossing in freestyle.
    Don't expect a legal different stroke swim that only becomes legal if the observer 'overlooks' to many faults because the waves were to big. If the observer does that he/she is a lousy observer.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • I still maintain then freestyle becomes an easy option as there will be no stroke rules to apply. You can invent your own rules for freestyle. If you get cramp on your legs, switch to breaststroke for an hour. Tread water as much as you like. Curl into a ball a few times.

    Or, swim another stroke and get disqualified for all the above. Stroke rules will serve more to make it tougher for those wishing to swim anything other than freestyle, than serve a better purpose. Unless similar rules apply to freestyle so all swims become subject to them.

    Should we scrap freestyle in favour of front crawl , so front crawl can be benchmarked against stroke rules ? I say yes.
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