Thursday, February 23, 2012

FAIL: USA Swimming has a breaststroke tutorial that clearly violates the rules - I include a GoSwim video that shows how it's legally executed.

Breaststroke - Pulldown and Arm Recovery from Glenn Mills on Vimeo.

USA Swimming has put up a breaststroke tutorial passing itself off as both the correct and legal way to do a breaststroke turn - (see the first video above of the two) - This video is in error and MUST be corrected: [Link].

The second video, from GoSwim, illustrates the correct way to do it. Note: You cannot take two underwater pulls. You can only take one. Your second pull must occur after your head breaks the surface. See the GoSwim video above or the external page link: [Link]

If USA Swimming does not make an erratum post and subsequently put up a rule book example, there will be trouble in London and local pools across America!

The rule book states the following:  "... During each complete cycle, some part of the swimmer’s head shall break the surface of the water. After the start and after each turn, the swimmer may take one arm stroke completely back to the legs. The head must break the surface of the water before the hands turn inward at the widest part of the second stroke. ..."

I notified USA Swimming; you should too.Publish Post


Anonymous said...

I've only seen this video after the removal of the second half, so I can't tell if it's legal or not. However, when you say "You cannot take two underwater pulls. You can only take one. Your second pull must occur after your head breaks the surface", that's slightly misleading. According to the rule you posted ("...head must break the surface of the water before the hands turn inward at the widest part of the second stroke. ..."), so my interpretation is that you can start your pull (ie lateral motion of hands) before the head breaks the surface (which is very difficult not to do when swimming fast), but your head has to break the surface before your hands finish the outsweep.

junker23 said...

I've seen people kick at the front, the outset of the arm-pull like that, but not with that big a pause in the pull. Thought that might've been what you were referring to, though that's totally legal (but might be tough for officials).

libor said...

Tony, the rule you quote in your post is about breaking out from underwater pull to the surface, not about the dolphin kick. The USA swimming video is merely showing that there is more than one way to interpret the rule about the dolphin kick.

Anonymous said...

Tony - Love your blog but I think you are incorrect about this. The second video show one variation. However, the dolphin kick may come at any point after the initiation of the pullout. Initiantion of the pullout can mean just a downard movement of the hands, a simple seperation of the hands, etc. The pullout does not have to be continous. This is a very difficult call for the officials above water. Thanks

Tony Austin said...

This was sent to me by a coach:

"...The point is that once the hands start to outsweep, they have to continue going in that direction. The USAS vid shows the swimmer's hands pause, then slightly come back in, then sweep out again. ...

Just in case anyone says anything about the USAS vid... the point that is evident is when they slow it down, it shows the hands start out, pause, come back in slightly, then go out again.

Again... just because it's only a little... it's still illegal. Kinda like having just a little bit of steroids in your system. A rule is a rule. ..."

Anonymous said...

The hands just look like they're going back because they're rotating after the outsweep and the camera angle.

Tony Austin said...

I think it has become demonstrable just by the two videos and this discussion alone that the breaststroke is becoming increasingly difficult to officiate.

No other stroke has gone through as many rule changes and now these rules are becoming so nuanced that we are arguing them.

I think the dolphin pullout should be scrapped, even though it's a lot of fun, and the focus should be on pull and kick alone.

Glenn said...

Hi all. Thanks Tony for referencing us on this. I don't think the timing is the question of the legality. I looked at this and have to agree that the hands do slide back in, which is the problem.

Yes, tough to call from above, but still not legal. We tested this pause method at Navy a couple years ago, but the kids hands kept sliding back in right before the power move of the pull. We couldn't take the chance of a DQ, and moved to a more direct and continuous action.

Typically, what I teach is located at this more recent video on the subject, and not typically working on a day to day basis like guys like Russel Mark gets at the USOC, who are more able to control these moves, we have to default to the safest method.

Having filmed thousands of underwater videos, unfortunately, I can't agree this is camera angle either... just my opinion.

Russel is a good guy who does some great work with so many great athletes.

surfer said...

They need to change this rule (and will in due time) to limit breast to anything-goes out to 15m. swimmer can then choose multi pull downs or just streamline dolphin... as long as break out by 15m. This change will simplify officials task of judging and assure more world records from the tech era are broken.

Tony Austin said...

Surfer, I like how you have refined the problem down to a measurable quantity. The swimmer either past the line or did not; it takes all the "philosophy" out of it so to speak.

However, I don't like the idea of allowing the turn to be freestyle sort of option. obviously people will dolphin kick and/or include dolphin pull-downs thereby making it less disciplined.

With that said, your solution would take the argument out of it.

surfer said...

All world marks in this stroke for the last 20 years are 99% due to rule changes... dropped shoulder at wall, non-level hands at wall, dolphin kick on pull out, allowing complete re-submerging under water on each stroke (the list is long). As far as it concerns me, Victor Davis is still the fastest breaststroke ever!

Glenn said...

Victor was amazing, as well as Lunk and John Moffet. When the rule changes started happening, someone actually had the nerve to say to me that the athletes today are so strong that they can't control their legs when the pull down.

It was obvious whoever said that had never seen Steve or John. Moffet is STILL an amazing human specimen.

I recently swam a charity meet in Poland and I haven't been training... so on the start, I milked it. Afterwards, my hosts said I should have been DQ'd. I asked for what... they said I went passed the 15 meter mark on my start. My response was that 1) the 15 meter mark doesn't count for breaststroke, and 2) at 50, my goal was to swim as little as possible.

Making it to 15 with one pull or kick is easy... just slow. :) Making the rules so there aren't all of these confusing actions makes more sense... demand 1 breaststroke kick to make sure people introduce some sort of resistance, and demand a full pull down passed the hips. Make the rules easy to see, then say... anything else to 15 and at least there could be something easier to judge.

Tony Austin said...

GoSwim is the de facto standard for visual swim instruction.

Coach Kacy Ota said...

Hi Tony, I haven't looked over the video, but I'd like to comment on your thought about this stroke becoming hard to officiate because I think that you are right. Too many rules changed.

I was actually at convention the year the butterfly kick was put in, and I will tell you that no one in USA Swimming or at the convention wanted to pass this rule. Many were extremely upset about this rule as it was shoved down own throats.

FINA changed the rule after the Japanese had obviously done it in the Olympics just a few months prior. US was livid as it led to the defeat of Brendan Hanson. We knew at convention that we had to pass the rule as it would be legal in international competition, and to not change would put all of our breaststrokers at a disadvantage as it is a skill done better with some fine tuning and practice.

It was horrible change, but USA Swimming and all of us delegates were forced to pass this rule.

I do enjoy your blog. Keep doing what you are doing.