Swimming is one of the few ways of exercising that improves all-round fitness because it can boost strength, stamina and suppleness all at the same time. One can look at it as having all the cardiovascular benefits of running, but with some of the strength-building effects of weight-training and some of the suppleness promoting effects of dance classes.

Swimming uses all the major muscle groups and is a demanding aerobic exercise that helps to keep our heart and lungs healthy. Swimming also helps to keep our joints flexible, especially in the neck, shoulders, hips and groin as our limbs and body move through the water.

One can increase his level of physical activity by swimming, and therefore, increase the amount of energy he burns up which is a vital component of a weight management program.
Another benefit is the strength and improved co-ordination, built up by swimming. It also reduces the risk of hip fractures in the old age. However, swimming will not build up bones because we need to perform weight-bearing land-based exercises to do this. Also there are some evidences that exercise may protect against colon cancer and can help the elderly people to retain more of their ability to think clearly.
Swimming is, generally, kinder to our body than land-based exercise because our natural buoyancy in water helps us to avoid the jarring knocks that can cause injuries. In water, one weighs about a tenth of his normal weight, and the range of motion for the less fit person is much wider, as the supports the weight of limbs.
Therefore, it is a good choice for people who want to exercise, but have problems with weight-bearing land-based activities. For example, swimming might suit those who have arthritis or back problems, weight problems or are pregnant.
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Swimming in Ancient Time

Babylonian bas-reliefs Assyrian wall drawings give ample proof to the fact that swimming skills in human beings are not a recent phenomenon. The most ancient, spectacular and vivid drawings can be seen in the Kebir desert. The drawings are about 6,000 years old. The paintings at Nagoya bas-relief also date back to about 5,000 years.
One can trace a lot of ancient drawings and paintings related to swimming in Italy. The oldest among them dates back to2, 600 years, belonging to the Etruscans at Tarquinia. An ancient tomb in Greece has also got many swimming paintings and most of them are 2,500 years old.
The written evidence of early swimming goes back to 3,000 years. While many of the sacred texts including the Bible, the Iliad and the Odyssey give references to swimming. In addition to this Thucydides describes it as 2,400 years old activity.
Most interestingly, many of the World’s ancient civilizations including the Egyptians, the Phoenicians, Persians, Romans and Greeks had recognized swimming as means of entertainment. Julius Caesar was known for his swimming prowess. Once Plato, a renowned politician and philosopher, advocated that a man who did not know swimming must be an “educated uneducated”.

Genesis of competitive swimming

Swimming is an activity of competitions has been mentioned in the early Japanese texts. The Japanese history describes that swimming races were held 2,000 years ago. Swimming as an item of ‘modern’ sport can be traced back to English clubs in the 1830s. And breaststroke was the most common category of moving through the water. Names such as Otter Swimming Club in London and the Leander Swimming Club date back to the 19th century.
After the mid 19th century, swimming was recognized as a popular competitive sport in England. But British swimmers often relied in the sedate breaststroke for traveling in the water, and were rather shocked at the exhibition staged by the group of North American Indians, who were invited to London by the Swimming Society in England.
When a swimming race was organized in London in 1844, people from many countries came to see the event and invitations were sent far and wide- even to Native Americans. The event attained great success as many aristocratic families thronged it. Many people belonging to Native Americans participated in the event and stunned the crowd by winning comfortably, by using a windmill action with their arms that was not too far removed from today’s front crawl, the stroke used in modern freestyle races.
Many ancient bas-reliefs infer that over arm actions may have been used thousands of years ago. Although, the Indian ‘innovation’ did effected the swimming action a bit but breaststroke remained the most commonly used stroke until the late 19th century. And while talking about the leisure swimming, one will be surprised to see that this is the easiest and most popular stroke all over the World.
Captain Matthew Webb, the first swimmer to cross the English Channel in 1875, crossed it by swimming breaststroke. A contemporary of Captain Webb was J. Arthur Trudges, an English swimmer and coach who lent his name to the Trudge stroke, had used the breaststroke kick but supported by an over arm action, a method used by South American Indians.
The Trudgen style of swimming was adopted around the World and Fred Cavill, an Englishman who had immigrated to Australia, was the master of it. Cavill had developed a different swimming technique by watching South Sea Islanders. Instead of the breaststroke kick, Cavill used a ‘flutter-kick’ like that seen among today’s front crawl specialists such as Thorpe.

Advancements In swimming

Many people of Europe particularly were keen observers of swimming and criticized Indian way of swimming and quoted it as totally un-European. They vehemently said that the Indians thrashed the water violently with their arms, like sails of a windmill and beat downward with their feet, blowing with force and forming bizarre behavior. However, the style of Flying Gull was faster than European style of swimming but British swimmers did not adopt it and they continued padding along in their accustomed manner. It was not until some forty years later that the Indian style or ‘totally un-European’ style was reintroduced as the crawl. This stroke was so rapid that it revolutionized competitive swimming.
This revolutionary advancement has not taken place in a day rather it has taken a long time. The indigenous population of America, West Africa and some Pacific islands had been aware of such kinds of crawl for generations. On the contrary, Europeans did not change their traditional style and they had limited their swimming to the breast and sidestrokes. But there is a slight modification in it. Later they invented man’s first method of keeping his head above water: the ‘dog stroke’, perhaps learnt from animals.
By 1837, swimming became a popular sport in London and the National Swimming Society in England used to organize swimming competitions. There were about six artificial pools in the London city. Later on, as the sport was gaining popularity many more pools were built. Then a new governing body, the Amateur Swimming Association of Great Britain, was formed in 1880, which comprised of 300 members. Nevertheless the Flying Gull and Tobacco style of swimming were the acknowledged way of swimming, but the English continued to use the breaststroke.
In the beginning of the 20th century, Cavill and his family, which included his six sons, sailed to some of the islands of the South Seas. During the trip, he observed that the Nauves were using an overhand stroke while swimming and their kicking action was also different. Returning to Australia, Cavill taught his sons the new stroke, and they soon were splashing past all existing records. One of his sons, named Richard, went to England in 1902 and swam the 100 yards in 58.8 seconds, using the less powerful new style of swimming.
When asked to describe the revolutionary style, one of Cavill’s sons said, “it was like crawling through the water.” Gradually, it was known as the crawl, and only somewhat modified is the freestyle stroke used today, the basis of swimming competitions.
Cavill’s sons were capable evangelists, and popularized the style invented by his father, which was widely adopted by the contemporary swimmers. One of Cavill’sson went to San Francisco, California in 1903 to coach at the Olympic Club. His disciple J. Scott Leary, Became the first American to swim 100 yards in 80 seconds, and won 17 consecutive races. Charles M. Daniels, who before Leary’s debut had been the U. S.’s leading swimmer, keenly observed the new stroke, and came up with a new ‘American’ crawl. This modified style helps Daniels to win four gold medals in the Olympic Games and made the world record for the 100 yards to 54.8 in 1910.

Role of camera in revolutionizing Swimming

Anybody can swim, but swimming properly, with the correct technique is an art few people master. For the crawl, a proper pattern of pull is a curved path. Today in all the swimming strokes, the correct pulling pattern should follow a curved path across a line describing the body’s forward motion. How ever for a long time, this method was considered to be a serious defect, a dreaded fault commonly known as ‘weaving’.
Earlier the swimmers were incorrectly taught to move the hand straight backward like a paddle and the amount of elbow bend was adjusted continuously to achieve this. In this technique the push of the arm from start to finish was fairly straight, with only a slight inward direction. However, this was a faulty technique since any lateral movement inward or outward cuts down the efficiency of the backward push against the water. This technique or ‘action-reaction’ theory is based on Newton’s third law of motion. This method, now known to be inefficient, was probably used for nearly 20 years.
The breakthrough came when the camera was used as a scientific instrument for analyzing swimming techniques. The study show that, in the swimming strokes, the pull does not follow a straight line but is composed of short motions, or impulses that change direction as the hand moves in a curved path across the line of the swimmer’s forward movement.

History of Stroke Development

Early interest in stroke development

Throughout the 1800s, a number of techniques of swimming strokes evolved. The sidestroke style of swimming, in which the swimmer lies on one side, took another form and it became the over arm sidestroke. One arm was taken out of the water to enhance the arm speed. Similarly the legs were squeezed together in an uncoordinated action. In 1895, J. H. Thayers of England, adopting the over arm sidestroke, created a record by crossing 100 yards in 1:02.50 time.


During the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 only the freestyle swimming events were held and most of the swimmers exhibited the various modified interpretations of the Breast or Trudgen stroke. After four years, backstroke event was included and since then the crawl became the dominant freestyle of swimming. Later on, in 1904, the breaststroke was made a separate competition in the Olympics.
The breaststroke was done in the traditional manner until the early 1930’s, when some swimmers discovered that they could get an extra boost going into the turns by digging into the water with a double overhead arm stroke.
The coach at Iowa University of the United States, Dave Armbruster, and one of his swimmer, Jack Seig, toyed with this 'butterfly’ arm action and developed a new method and give name ‘dolphin’ to it – a sort of undulating motion from hips to the toes.
Initially, the butterfly way of swimming was considered too tiring to swim for any distance. Instead it proved to be considerably faster than the conventional breaststroke and by 1938 swimmers using the butterfly arm action often combined with the usual frog kick, was dominating breaststroke racers.
A few years later, the rules were changed, so that the swimmers had to swim breaststroke with their head out of the water. This butterfly method was first implemented as a separate Olympic competition at the 1956 Melbourne Games.

Australian Crawl

The inefficiency of the Trudgen kick led Australian Richard Cavill to try new methods. He used a stroke, an imitation of the swimming style of the natives of the Solomon Islands, who combined an up-and-down kick with an alternating over arm stroke. He used the new stroke in 1902 at the International Championships and set a new World record (100 yards in 58.4 seconds). This stroke became known as the Australian Crawl.


Since its first appearance at the 1900 Olympic Games, the backstroke has changed little. It is the only swimming competition that starts with a push off from the wall of the pool instead of a dive. It is based on the movement of legs. The upside-down variation of the crawl’s flutter kick, with the arm reaching up and out of the water has made this event more spectacular. Adolph Kiefer, who dominated backstroke swimming from 1935 to 1945, got his thrust by pulling with his arms held straight in the water. But later on Australian backstrokes, who discovered that they could get more horizontal thrust by slightly bending the arm as it came around underwater. And today many international swimmers use this application.

Basic Techniques for All Swimming Strokes

The efficiency of swimming stroke is the key to success as a competing or training swimmer. An efficient stroke will significantly reduce spent energy output through less drag water and the cleaner execution of hand and arm entry and recovery. Thus, that little extra energy may provide you with an overall faster time. When your energy resources are exhausted and you are hanging on to the end of your race, you will be the winner if you can hold your technique till the end. Every swimmer knows how easy it is to let one’s technique drop off as you become more fatigued throughout a race. But the burning sensation in the shoulders as you try to hold together your last few strokes to the wall is the hardest part of the race.


When considering swimming technique for any stroke, analysis should follow the format described below, in this order:

  1. Leg kick.
  2. Timing.
  3. .Arm cycle.
  4. Breathing.

Leg Kick

The leg kick will control the body position in the water, while the arm cycle will provide the propulsive force. The timing between the two is vital for the efficiency of the given stroke in order to provide a great speed through the water by spending minimum energy. Finally, breathing technique should be analysed to ensure tat when you breathe your overall technique is not disrupted in any way which may cause a breakdown in efficiency.


he main propulsive force of the freestyle stroke is the arm cycle. The legs add only 10% of total speed through the water. The main function of the legs is to help keep the body balanced and efficient to allow the arms to do their work and keep the body moving when the arm cycle is at its weakest point. Following are the features, which are worth considering:


Elbow leaves the water first, with a high elbow, hand relaxed directly under the elbow, trailing fingers on the water and then reach forward to the entry position.

Entry & Catch

Thumb first, hand slightly cupped, reach further forwards and out (laterally) to catch the water to prepare for the out sweep –dropping the shoulder (upon the reach) slightly will help in the catch and also in the recovery of the other arm.

Out Sweep

Press the water laterally to the body with only slight elbow flexion and begin to rotate the hand from the wrist.


With the hand at the hip and palm facing towards the feet, press the water back by extending the arm to approximately 90% of full extension, keeping on line with the body to reduce drag.


Because of the required shoulder roll during backstroke swimming and a slightly weaker arm cycle, the legs play a more important part in adding a propulsive force to the stroke. The key, however, is to ensure that the feet work is just under the water surface and not above it, to ensure that the full kicking movement is propulsive and not against thin air. The arm cycle is described as follows:


Thumb first, arm fully extended, rotate the arm laterally through the shoulder joint, keeping in line with the body, gradually turning the hand laterally at the wrist ready for the entry. Allowing the opposite shoulder to drop will lift the recovery shoulder to help balance the stroke and create a more powerful propulsive phase

Entry & Catch

Little finger first, drop the shoulder to allow a reach and catch the water with the hand cupped. The arm should flex slightly at the elbow to assist in the catch.

Down Sweep

Continue to flex the arm at the elbow as you press laterally, then downwards as you pull the hand towards the shoulder and chest, keeping that shoulder in the drop position.


With the arm close to the body, press the water towards the feet in line with the body, ensuring that the full arm extension is achieved.


This is a stroke, where timing of the kick and the arm cycle are paramount. An inadequate butterfly technique can waste a huge amount of energy because of the double arm movement on recovery and propulsion and also the double leg kick. Practice makes perfect and the more efficient you can make this stroke the more power you will be able to generate, where it is needed. The arm cycle is as follows:


Both arms break the water simultaneously, hand and forearms first, the arms swing outwards, elbows slightly flexed as they both continue to swing round and meet forward of the head, thumb and fingers first.

Entry & Catch

Fingers first, the hands cup and catch the water simultaneously in preparation for the out sweep.

Out Sweep

Together, the arms press laterally and the arm begins to flex at the elbow.

In Sweep

As the arms continue to flex, the hands turn medially and press towards the body.


As the hands come close to the body, press towards the feet, fully extending the arms at the elbow in preparation for the quick ‘flick’ out of the water and then to recovery.


This final competitive swimming stroke to analyse is, like butterfly, controlled by the efficient timing of the leg kick and arm cycle in order to give the most effective end result – a faster swim! The arm cycle is as follows:


Once at the chest, the hands meet in the centre, elbows flexed close to the chest to reduce drag and recover together over the water at the beginning, but then dive into the reach and glide.

Reach & Glide

Both hands and thumbs together, reach forward, fully extending the arm at the elbow (the leg kick starts to push back to continue the forward movement) – the arms will stay in this position until the feet touching completes the kick.

Out Sweep

The hands rotate laterally, cupped to catch the water and press laterally with slight flexion of the arm at the elbow.

In Sweep

The arms continue to flex at the elbow as the press on the water is now turned medially towards the chest.


Diving is, no doubt, a separate aquatic sport but every swimmer should learn to dive for two good reasons. First, diving is the quickest and most enjoyable way of getting into the water and second you should learn diving if you want to get into competitive swimming. Before going for a dive, you have to be confident of the water first, only then you should start diving.

It is best to build up your skill by doing some of these simple practices first:

Sitting Dive

This should be done at a place where the water is at least one meter deep. Sit on the side of the pool with your feet placed firmly on the rail and knees apart. Raise your arms up high in front of you and then lower them so that they are pointing at the water and are almost between your knees. Take care that your thumbs are linked and palms held downwards and your head tucked between your arms with your chin resting on your chest. Now lean forward until you feel that you are overbalancing and then, thrusting with your legs, push yourself forward and downwards into the water. Try to stretch right out as you enter the water, making yourself as streamlined as possible and keep your head down.

Crouch Dive

For the crouch dive, move to slightly deeper water and crouch on the side of the pool with your knees bent and feet apart. Grip the edge of the pool with your toes and raise your arms as before and then lower them to point at the water, with your head tucked between them and your chin resting on your chest.
Now move forward, push yourself with your feet and straighten your knees. Stretch right out so that you enter the water in a long streamlined position. Try to start from a slightly less crouched position every time you dive, until you are almost upright. Lunge Dive
Now that you can dive from a standing position, you should move to the place where the water is deeper. Stand with one foot forward, toes gripping the edge. Raise your arms so that they point out across the water and bend your knees slightly. Shift all your weight on to your front foot and allow yourself to overbalance. Push vigorously with both feet as you drop forward.

Plunge Dive

Stand with your feet leveled and slightly apart and arms at your sides. Bend your knees slightly and bring your arms back behind you as you begin to overbalance. Then, as you drop, thrust yourself powerfully away from the side with your legs, at the same time swinging your arms confidently up in front of you to stretch fully. Your head should be between your arms, so that you are straight and streamlined and water resistance is kept to a minimum. Concentrate on entering the water cleanly, with as little splash as possible, each time you dive.Diving is an art. If you want to become an expert diver, then you need to practice, practice and more practice..

How To Be A Good Swimmer

Speed Tips for Swimmers

There is more to going faster in the pool than just putting more effort into the arm stroke and the leg kick. The arms and legs do so much work in the pool, so it is only natural to think that putting more effort into the limbs will improve speed.
This is a fallacy that can lead to a lopsided focus on the limbs, in the pool as well as in the gym. Imagine a batsman depending solely on dumbbells and arm workouts to increase the power of his cover drives!
The trunk is the unsung reservoir of strength behind every swimming stroke. Most strokes that seem to be derive their power from the limbs really depend on the trunk for the most part.
n the crawl and the backstroke, the trunk does most of the work by generating force during the sideways roll, while the arms take most of the glory. In the frog kick and the breaststroke, the bending and unbending of the trunk releases coiled up energy that the arms channel into generating power and leverage. The abdominal, back and chest muscles are key to this power. Work on them in the gym if you want to increase your speed in the pool.
Swimming drills are pool exercises that focus on strengthening the muscles involved in a particular stroke or on practicing repetitively the movements involved in a particular stroke.
This is a bit like hitting a cover drive a hundred times in the nets to get it right or working on a niggling problem in stance or technique. Drills let you become familiar with the complex movements in swimming strokes so they comes as naturally to you as walking or running. It allows you to gain subtle control on these movements. Doing drills is also a great way to unlearn old mistakes in technique.
It allows you to focus on the aspect of the stroke you are weakest in – maybe the backstroke flip, for example, beginners learning a new stroke must spend more time on drills than on doing the whole stroke.
This allows them to get the stroke right within a few attempts. Most glitches in technique are really about not keeping the body streamlined. While this may sound simple, it does not come naturally to anybody. The human instinct is to lift the head and breathe while in the water and it takes a constant battle with one’s dry – land instincts to press into the water with the trunk.
Lifting the head causes the hips to sink and exposes the trunk to drag. Minimising the drag is everything when it comes to speed. There is no easy solution to this except to fight it out in the pool, learning to breathe while the head is on the side roll. As with everything else in life, practice makes perfect.

Eating tips for swimmers

Your diet depends on what you believe and what you are trying to achieve with your food intake. The word diet, in this case, means, ‘what you eat’. Many people go on special diets from the time to time to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain weight (among other reasons).
What is the best diet for you – how much fat, protein and carbohydrate and how to decide what will work for you? The answer is up to you, your physician and your personal needs. Given below are some of the current ideas in nutrition and some of the ways those apply to swimmers. You should consult your physician before beginning any type of specific diet to avoid or reduce the chance of medical complications.

Each of these plans and many others, all have different rules and guidelines to follow in regards to what to eat – they also have recommendations on how much to eat. Swimmers, like other athletes, need to take in enough calories to offset those used in exercise (and used during the non – workout times, too). What is a calorie? A unit of measure that tells you how much ‘energy’ is in a type of food. Carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories per gram while fat has 9 calories per gram. Some diets also consider the glycemic index of foods, or how fast a food increases the level of glucose in the blood.
How many calories do people need in a day? A very rough rule is to multiply your weight in pounds by 12 – this is probably the minimum calories you need to get by day to day. As an athlete, you will need more – you could burn an extra 800 (or more) calories every hour during a workout. If you want to continue to be able to practice, you need to replace this spent energy. This can only be done by eating.
Basic guidelines state that in a general diet, approximately 60% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates, 15% from protein and 25% from fats. This will vary from plan to plan and from person to person, and the exact breakdown is up to you (remember, you should consult your physician before beginning any type of specific diet to avoid or reduce the chance of medical complications). Most expert also advise athletes to break up their meals into smaller mini – meals throughout the day, as opposed to just a breakfast, lunch and dinner. Specific guidelines on what to eat before, during and after exercise include:

Tips to improve swimming


Tips to improve swimming

Under the water

Tips to improve swimming

Note Your Turns
The big difference between good breast and fly turns and great breast and fly turns is getting your feet on the wall first. The faster you get your feet on the wall the faster you can apply power to the wall and drive off hard for the next lap.
At every stage of their swimming development, swimmers come to hurdles or obstacles. These hurdles and obstacles become goals to overcome and targets to achieve.
At each step along the way hurdles and obstacles need to overcome by training and racing smarter, more frequently, faster, with better skills and with more commitment than ever before.
Factors Essential to Swimming Success are

Common Characteristics of Good Swimmers

A great swimmer’s long term success will be determined by some of these factors:

A Great Swimmer Should

Officials For Swimming


The referee shall have full control and authority over all officials, approve their assignments and instruct them regarding all special features or regulations related to the competitions. He shall enforce all rules and decisions and shall decide all questions relating to the actual conduct of the meet, event or the competition.
The referee may intervene in the competition at any stage to ensure that regulations are observed and shall adjudicate all protests related to the competition in progress.
The referee shall ensure that all necessary officials are in their respective posts for the conduct of the competition. He may appoint substitutes for any who are absent, incapable of acting or found to be inefficient. He may appoint additional officials if considered necessary.
At the commencement of each event, the referee shall signal to the swimmers by a short series of whistles inviting them to remove all clothing except for swimwear, followed by a long whistle indicating that they should take their positions on the starting platform (or for backstroke swimming and medley relays to immediately enter the water). A second long whistle shall bring the backstroke and medley relay swimmer immediately to the starting position. When the swimmers and officials are prepared for the start, the referee shall gesture to the starter with a stretched out arm, indicating that the swimmers are under the starter’s control. The stretched out arm shall stay in that position until the start the start is given.
The referee can disqualify any swimmer for any violation of the rules that he personally observes. The referee may also disqualify any swimmer for any violation reported to him by other authorized officials. All disqualifications are subject to the decision of the referee.



The starter shall have full control of the swimmers from the time the referee turns the swimmers over to him until the race has commenced.
The starter shall report a swimmer to the referee for delaying the start, for willfully disobeying an order or for any other misconduct taking place at the start, but only the referee may disqualify a swimmer for such delay, willful disobedience or misconduct. Such disqualification shall not be counted as a false start. The starter shall have power to decide whether the start is fair, subject only to the decision of the referee.
When starting an event, the starter shall stand on the side of the pool within approximately five metres of the starting edge of the pool, where the timekeepers can see and/or hear the starting signal and the swimmers can hear the signal.

Clerk of Course

The clerk of course shall assemble swimmers prior to each event. The clerk of course shall report to the referee any violation noted in regard to advertising and if a swimmer is not present when called.

Chief Inspector of Turns

The chief inspector of turns shall ensure that inspectors of turns fulfill their duties during the competition. The chief inspector of turns shall receive the reports from the inspectors of turns if any infringement occurs and shall present them to the referee immediately.

Inspectors of Turns

One inspector of turns shall be assigned to each lane at each end of the pool.
Each inspector of turns shall ensure that swimmers comply with the relevant rules of turning, commencing from the beginning of the last arm stroke before touching and ending with the completion of the first arm stroke after turning.
In individual events of 800 and 1500 metres, each inspector of turns at the turning end of the pool shall record the number of laps completed by the swimmer in his lane and keep the swimmer informed of the remaining number of laps to be completed by displaying “lap cards”. Semi electronic equipment may be used, including under water display.
Each inspector at the starting end shall determine, in relay events, whether the starting swimmer is in contact with the starting platform when the preceding swimmer touches the starting wall.
Inspectors of turns shall report any violation on signed cards detailing the event, lane number and the infringement delivered to the chief inspector of turns who shall immediately convey the report to the referee.

Judges of Stroke


Judges of stroke shall be located on each side of the pool. Each judge of stroke shall ensure that the rules related to the style of swimming designated for the event are being observed and shall observe the turns to assist the inspectors of turns.
Judges of stroke shall report any violation to the referee on signed cards detailing the event, lane number and the infringement.

Chief Timekeeper

The chief timekeeper shall assign the seating positions for all timekeepers and the lanes for which they are responsible. There shall be three timekeepers for each lane. If Automatic Officiating Equipment is not used there shall be two additional timekeepers designated, either of whom shall be directed to replace a timekeeper whose watch did not start or stop during an event or who for any other reason is not able to record the time. When using three digital watches per lane, final time and place is determined by time.
The chief timekeeper shall collect from the timekeepers in each lane a card showing the times recorded and, if necessary, inspect their watches.
The chief timekeeper shall record or examine the official time on the card for each lane.



Each timekeeper shall take the time of the swimmers in the lane assigned to him. The watches shall be certified correct to the satisfaction of meet Management Committee.
Each timekeeper shall start his watch at the starting signal and shall stop it when the swimmer in his lane has completed the race. Timekeepers may be instructed by the chief timekeeper to record times at intermediate distances in races longer than 100 metres.
Unless a video backup system is used, it may be necessary to use the full complement of timekeepers even when Automatic Officiating Equipment is used.

Chief Finish Judge

The chief finish judge shall assign each finish judge his position and the placing to be determined.
After the race, the chief finish judge shall collect signed result sheets from each finish judge and establish the result and placing which will be sent directly to the referee.
Where Automatic Officiating Equipment is used to judge the finish of race, the chief finish judge must report the order of finish recorded by the Equipment after each race.

Finish Judges

Finish judges shall be positioned in elevated stands in line with the finish where they have at all times a clear view of the course and the finish line, unless they operate an Automatic Officiating device in their respective assigned lanes by pressing the ‘push-button’ at the completion of the race.
After each event the finish judges shall decide and report the placing of the swimmers according to the assignments given to them. Finish judges other than push-button operators shall not act as timekeepers in the same event.

Desk Control

The chief recorder is responsible for checking results from computer printouts or from results of times and placing in each event received from the referee. The chief recorder shall witness the referee’s signing the results.
The recorders shall control withdrawals after the heats or finals, enter results on official forms, list all new records established, and maintain scores where appropriate.

Official’s Decision Making

Officials shall make their decision autonomously and independently of each other unless otherwise provided in the Swimming Rules.

The Start

The start in freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly and Individual Medley races shall be with a drive. On the long whistle 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, the swimmers shall immediately enter the water. At the referee’s second long whistle the swimmers shall return without undue delay to the starting position. When all swimmers have assumed there starting positions, the starter shall give the command ‘take your marks’. When all swimmers are stationary, the starter will give the starting signal.
In Olympic games, World Championships and other FINA events the command ‘Take your marks’ shall be in English and the start shall be by multiple loudspeakers, mounted one at each starting platform.
Any swimmer starting before the starting signal will be considered 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.


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.
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. The feet, including the toes, shall be under the surface of the water. Standing in or on the gutter or bending the toes over the lip of the gutter is prohibited.
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. 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 come out from the surface of the water throughout the race. It shall be permissible for the swimmer to be completely submerged during the turn, at the finish 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.
During the turn the shoulders may be turned over the vertical to the breast after which a continuous single arm pull or a continuous simultaneous double arm pull may be used to initiate the turn. Once the body has left the position on the back, any kick or arm pull must be part of the continuous turning action. The swimmer must have returned to the position on the back upon leaving the wall. When executing the turn there must be a touch of the wall with some part of the swimmer’s body.
Upon the finish of the race the swimmer must touch the wall while on the back. The body may be submerged at the touch.


From the beginning of the first arm stroke after the start and after each turn, the body shall be kept on the breast. It is not permitted to roll onto the back at any time.
All movements of the arms and legs shall be simultaneous and in the same horizontal plane without alternating movement.
The hands shall be pushed forward together from the chest 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.
The feet must be turned outwards during the propulsive part of the kick. A scissors, flutter or downward dolphin kick is not permitted. Breaking the surface of the water with the feet is allowed unless followed by a downward dolphin kick.
At each turn and at the finish of the race, the touch shall be made with both hands simultaneously at, above or below the water level. 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.
During each complete cycle of one arm stroke and one leg kick, in that order, some part of the swimmer’s head shall break the surface of the water, except that after the start and after each turn the swimmer may take one arm stroke completely back to the legs and one leg kick while wholly submerged. The head must break the surface of the water before the hands turn inward at the widest part of the second stroke.


From the beginning of the first arm stroke after the start and each turn, the body shall be kept on the breast. Under water kicking on the side is allowed. It is not permitted to roll onto the back at any time.
Both arms shall be brought forward together over the water and brought backward simultaneously throughout the race.
All up and down movements of the legs must be simultaneous. The position of 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 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. By that point, the head must have broken the surface. The swimmer must remain on the surface until the next turn or finish.

Medley Swimming

In individual medley events, the swimmer covers the four swimming styles in the following order: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle. This is the same order of swimming for medley event as well in which, each player exhibits one style of swimming.
Each section must be finished in accordance with the rule that applies to the style concerned.

The Race

Swimmer swimming over the course alone shall cover the whole distance to qualify.
A swimmer must finish the race in the same lane in which he started. In all events, a swimmer when tuning 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 other 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 of the swimmer so offending.
No swimmer shall be permitted to use or wear any device that may aid his speed, buoyancy or endurance during a competition (such as webbed gloves, flippers, fins etc.). Goggles may be worn.
Any swimmer not entered in a race, which 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.
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, unless the swimmer in default returns to the original starting point at the wall, but it shall not be necessary to return to the starting platform.
Any relay team shall be disqualified from a race if a team member, other than 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 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.
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.
No pace making shall be permitted, nor many any device be used or plan adopted which has that effect

World Record Rules

Freestyle                                                      50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 metres
Backstroke                                                   50, 100 and 200 metres
Breaststroke                                                50, 100 and 200 metres
Butterfly                                                       50, 100 and 200 metres
Individual Medley                                         200 and 400 metres
Freestyle Relays                                          4x100 and 4x200 metres
Medley Relay                                               4x100 metres
For World Records in 25 metre courses, the following distances and styles for both sexes are recognized:
Freestyle                                                     50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 metres
Backstroke                                                  50, 100 and 200 metres
Breaststroke                                               50, 100 and 200 metres
Butterfly                                                      50, 100 and 200 metres
Individual Medley                                       100, 200 and 400 metres
Freestyle Relays                                         4x100 and 4x200 metres
Medley Relay                                              4x100 metres

The Alphabet Of Swim Officiating

The rules of any sport are designed to be applied by officials and it is no less so in the sport of swimming. In the sport’s venue, the swimming pool, an infraction of the rules can eliminate an athlete from the competition, a rarity in athletic events. There isno penalty box or points deduction, but rather elimination. With such an awesome responsibility one may rightly ask

What makes good official?

What makes a good official is knowledge of the rules and their intent. Knowledge of the rules builds an appreciation for them. The rules of swimming are designed to provide fair conditions of competition for all. The rules codify the principle that no swimmer shall obtain an unfair advantage over another. The rules must be interpreted with all the swimmers in mind. The only acceptable officiating philosophy then must be to conduct any and all swim meets according to the written rules, so that everyone had a chance to see, to know and understand prior to a meet. Swimmers, or officials cannot suspend any rule that they do not like. A good official must understand the philosophy and intent of the rule. There are many fine rules for people, who cannot officiate, but there are not any fine officials for people, who do not understand the rules.
Officiating to some is the ability to ‘run the show’. A good official is often perceived as one, who gets things done. It may be that the truly good official is the one, who is proactive rather than reactive. The official, who considers in advance where a rule problem might occur and plans to solve that eventuality before it occurs, may be a more valuable ally, than the official, who runs to the store to buy the watches for the timers after the sound of the gun.
A good official arrives early for pre meet briefings and coaches meetings. The good official has established the lines of verbal and visual communication around the pool before the event begin. During each heat the good official is alert to everything going on around oneself.
The dividing line between swimmer, coach and official is how differently each looks the fairness of competition. A swimmer wants a fair start and knowledgeable stroke and turn judges. A coach wants to project out and does not want an official to determine that outcome. An official does not care, who wins, he just cares that the race is swum fairly and within the rules.
When a volunteer official enters the pool deck an aura of professionalism must also enter with him or her. The approved officiating uniform of the day must be clean and pressed, the deck shoes must be polished and the whistle shiny. Becoming a professional volunteer swim official does not just happen it takes effort, ability, study and diligence. The key to successful officiating is the mind set that “I am a Good Official”. Many suggest that the good official is the one, who is diligent in his/her efforts to provide the athlete, coach and other volunteers with a professionally officiated contest. The professional swim official is the one, who has studies the alphabet of swim officiating……… 

The professional swim official is the one,

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