RULE: "... The color of the floats extending from the walls the distance of 5 meters for long course and 15 feet for short course shall be distinct from the rest of the floats. Distinctive colored floats, or markers extending around the full circumference of the floats, shall be placed at 15-meters (49' 21/2") from each end wall in both short course and long course pools. Additionally, in long course pools, a distinctive warning line or lane markers may be placed at a distance of 13 meters from each end wall.
I want to stress that this is seemingly inadvertent and not intentional. Nonetheless, he should have been DQed and the gold given to Pieter Van Den Hoogenband.
You Tube Video of the 200 meter free: [Link]
USMS Rules with FINA reference: [Link]
USA Swimming - Officiating Championship Swimming PDF: [Link]