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Kent County Amateur Swimming Association
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FINA Swimming Rules Update

30th January 2015

Below are the changes to the FINA Rules that were agreed at the recent Special Congress in Doha.  These changes will be implemented by British Swimming with effect from 1st January 2015.

It is recommended that you download the original British Swimming PDF, although it has been reproduced below for quick reference only.



(As amended following the FINA Extraordinary Congress December 2014)

Where no reference is made to a rule the existing rule within the FINA Handbook 2013-2017 together with any subsequent reference to those rules by Home Countries is still valid

New wording is shown in bold lettering and deletions by a strikethrough. Where new rules have been introduced re-numbering thereafter will be necessary



SW 2.1 Referee

SW 2.1.6 A disqualification for starting before the starting signal must be observed and confirmed

(NEW) by both the starter and the referee.

SW 2.1.7 The referee shall disqualify any swimmer for any other violation of the rules that he personally observes. The referee may also disqualify any swimmer for any violation reported to him by other authorised officials. All disqualifications are subject to the decision of the referee.

Comment: The decision to disqualify a swimmer for infringing the rules at the start of a race must now be a joint and agreed decision between the Starter and Referee

SW 2.6 Inspector of Turns

SW 2.6.3 In individual events of 800 and 1500 metres, each an inspector of turns at the start or 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-e Electronic equipment may be used, including under water display.

Comment: This rule change formally allows what has been practice on many occasions in placing the lap cards at the starting end of the pool.


SW 6.1 Prior to the starting signal, the swimmers shall line up in the water facing the starting end, with both hands holding the starting grips. Standing in or on the gutter or bending the toes over the lip of the gutter is prohibited. When using a backstroke ledge at the start, the toes of both feet must be in contact with the end wall or face of the touchpad. Bending the toes over the top of the touchpad is prohibited.

Comment: Backstroke ledges whilst now legal are not common. British Swimming treat the ledge in the same way as a starting platform in that all or none of the lanes should be provided with the equipment to allow for equality for all swimmers at the start. Personal equipment is not permitted. The wording of the rule makes it clear that if used the swimmer must have toes in contact with the wall or pad rather than bent over the edge of the ledge.

SW 6.2 When a backstroke ledge is being used, each inspector at the starting end shall install and

(NEW) remove the ledge after the start.

Comment: All officials acting as Inspector of Turn at a venue where ledges are provided must make themselves aware of how to safely install and remove the ledge. Swimmers should be encouraged to check the fitting and placement of the ledge


SW 7.1 After the start and after each turn, the swimmer may take one arm stroke completely back to the legs during which the swimmer may be submerged. At any time prior to the first Breaststroke kick after the start and after each turn a A single butterfly kick is permitted during the first arm stroke followed by a breaststroke kick.

Comment: The butterfly kick if used is not part of the breaststroke cycle of arm stroke followed by leg kick in that order. Officials need to observe for a single butterfly kick. If used, this butterfly kick may take place before, during or after the first arm pull but must be completed before the first breaststroke leg kick.

SW 12.1.1 Fina have introduced provision for World Junior Records. In general terms the rules and

(NEW) conditions for World Junior Records mirror those of the senior records but can only be recognised in 50m courses.


MSW 3.3 Any swimmer starting before the starting signal has been given by the Starter shall be disqualified. (Supersedes SW 4.1)

Comment: For Masters swimming events the SW swimming rules shall apply unless exceptions are provided under MSW rules. The removal of MSW 3.3 therefore brings SW rules relating to starting before the signal into force


OWS 7.2.3 When, at the finish of an Open Water Swimming competition, a touch pad is available,

(NEW) swimmers must touch the touch pad to finish the race. Any swimmer who does not touch the touch pad will be disqualified.


Masters Open Water Swimming shall be defined as any event for which the distance is greater than 1500 metres and where entry is restricted to Masters swimmers. Masters Swimming age groups shall apply.

MOWS 2 Age Groups for Open Water Swimming are the same as for Masters Swimming Individual

(NEW) Events (MSW 1.1)


FR 2.7 relates to Starting Platforms, the following reference to a backstroke starting device has been removed:. An adjustable back stroke starting platform may also be used.

FR 2.10 Backstroke Ledge

A backstroke ledge may be used:

- The ledge may be adjustable to 4 cm above or 4 cm below the water level.

- The ledge is a minimum of 65 cm in length.

- The ledge must be 8 cm in height, 2 cm at the width with 10 degrees of Slope

Backstroke Ledge Diagram


GR 9.6.1 & 2 In World Championships (25m & 50m) whilst 10 lanes may be used for Heats and Semi-Finals, Finals can only be swim using 8 lanes

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