Swimming Rules and Laws

Swimming competitions around the world have specific rules that are needed to be followed when it comes to competitive swimming. Official swimming rules are formulated by Federation Internationale de Natation or FINA. The rules formulated by FNA are used at World Championships such as Olympic Games. The FINA rules and regulations specify a particular number of officials who are assigned with the control of competitions. A single referee who looks over the operations, a control room supervisor, four or more stroke judges, two or more starters, more than two chief inspectors at each side of the pool who also double as turns inspectors, a chief recorder, two clerks of course, a false start personal and an announcer, are all assigned roles by FINA.

There are different swimming styles, such as Breaststroke, Freestyle, Individual Medley and Butterfly that are recognized by FINA. All these different swimming styles have their own rules and regulations. However, all these swimming style competitions start with a dive or from the water itself, where the competitors jump into the water from a platform. The clocks are started when the command for diving into the water is given. If a competitor jumps into the water before the start signal is given, he or she is disqualified. In Freestyle racing the swimmers are allowed to swim in any way they like, except in in medley relay and individual medley events. Backstroke, butterfly and backstroke are not allowed in freestyle either. After the completion of each length, the swimmer must touch the wall and also at the finish. In a backstroke, if a swimmer turns his back by more than 90 degrees, he or she is disqualified. Many competitions also specify the time within which a swimmer has to surface for air or touching a turn at specific meters into the race. Failing to adhere to these rules leads to disqualification or time penalties where seconds are added to the finishing time of after a race.

FINA also has a set of rules for open water swimming, i.e. any competition that takes place in lakes, ocean or rivers. The minimum age limit defied is above 14 years. The number of people responsible for making sure the rules and regulations are followed is also defined.

Swimming competitions also authorize the approved swimsuits allowed to be worn by swimmers taking part in the competition. Companies have started developing swimsuits that are being made from special material that reduces friction between the water and the swimmer, and helps in increasing speeds. FINA allows only textile fabrics to be used in swimming.


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