Very impressive! (But maybe not so legal under FINA rules? I think the current rule states the swimmer can be completely submerged for no more than 15 metres off the start and turn.)
Tony - Great vid of the guys from Princeton and their NCAA gold medal medley relays. I swam against those teams and they were truly incredible. Wendy, the other poster here, is correct that those backstroke starts / turns are no longer legal primarily in response to Dave Berkhoff (from Harvard, who gets a big lead for them in 1999 in the video) - the guy who "invented" the technique. I must say it was awesome to see in person - he could kick on his back, underwater, faster than 95% of collegiate swimmers could swim freestyle of like length.
Swimming underwater circa 1990 must have been so dull to watch on TV since underwater cameras were that utilized. Imagine from an underwater view if it was Michael Phelps who invented the Berhoff-Blast and we saw him swim the IM mostly underwater in Athens while his competitors were swimming on the top?
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