Qualifying Times 
All Ages:529 
Age Group:49 
Short Course:24 
Age Group:

These Hints & Tips are to help you understand what the teachers and coaches are training you to do. They show how a turn for example should be executed and what to avoid. Where appropriate the FINA Law is quoted that the officials follow and judge you against.

Backstroke Turn - Video (read the bit below first!)

SW 6.4 When executing the turn there must be a touch of the wall with some part of the swimmer's body in his/her respective lane. 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. The swimmer must have returned to the position on the back upon leaving the wall.

What this means for the swimmer is that once you turn onto your front you must either be turning or 1 or both of your arms must be doing a continuous pull that ends in a turn.

Common Disqualifications:

If you roll on your front with your arms by your side and do not turn immediately you can be disqualified, some judges and referees may allow a short pause but if one or both of your arms aren't pulling you will be disqualified.

If you do more than one arm stroke on your front then you will be disqualified.

You must push off on your back which is the natural position out of the turn, if you somehow manage to end up on your front you will be disqualified.

Breaststroke Turn - Video (read the bit below first!)

SW 7.4 'After the start and after each turn, the swimmer may take one arm stroke completely back to the legs'

'A single downward dolphin kick followed by a breaststroke kick is permitted while wholly submerged. Following which, all movements of the legs shall be simultaneous and in the same horizontal plane without alternating movement'
Interpretation: A dolphin kick is not part of the cycle and is only permitted at the start and turn whilst the arms are pulling back to the legs or after the arm pull whilst wholly submerged followed by a breaststroke kick.

'The head must break the surface of the water before the hands turn inward at the widest part of the second stroke'

This can seem very complicated but watch the video and you will see that once the swimmer turn and drives off the wall streamlined he does once powerful pull down past his hips he holds that position until he starts to slow and then drives his arms forward and does a big breaststroke kick. As he starts to slow he begins his first full breaststroke and you will see that the rule say your head must break the surface before your hands start the in sweep part of the pull! For Junior swimmers this means almost immediately as they have very little if any out sweep, make sure your head clears the surface in time!

This pull and kick are used at the start from a dive as well.

The dolphin/fly kick can be difficult for swimmers to get right and for the majority of Junior swimmers it's not of any benefit until they do it well, the most important thing is that it is just a downward kick and done as the arms are doing their big pull down to your sides. Any kick upwards or second kick will get you disqualified.

Note. Older powerful swimmers can have a stroke cycle that looks very much as though they are doing a dolphin kick at the end of every stroke, this is a grey area because modern breaststroke has an action very similar to butterfly which generates a lot of power, as long as the downwards kick looks part of the strokes kick cycle and not separate it is allowed.