TURN JUDGE
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MANUAL FOR TURN JUDGES & TRAINEES

[Adapted from FINA's "Manual for Officiating Swimming Events," February 1999 edition, and USA Swimming's "Handbook for Officiating," June 1999 edition]


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Page Topics

RESPONSIBILITIES
THE TURN RULES
    FREESTYLE
    BACKSTROKE
    BREASTSTROKE
    BUTTERFLY
    INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
    FREESTYLE RELAYS
    MEDLEY RELAYS


RESPONSIBILITIES

TURN JUDGES: (see Competition Rule CR18.3)

  • Are stationed in the assigned lane(s) above the swimmer at both ends of the pool. This is especially important in a backstroke race.
  • Observe the swimmers:
    • From the backstroke flags to the wall and back to the flags.
    • During the "touch," commencing with the beginning of the last arm stroke of the approach to the wall on a turn, and during the "push-off" through to the completion of the first arm stroke following the departure from the wall, ensuring that, when turning and finishing, the swimmers comply with the turning and finishing rules for the stroke used.
  • Disqualify competitors as specified above for Stroke Judges.
  • May be assigned the extra duty of judging relay takeoffs.

THE TURN RULES

FREESTYLE: (see Technical Swimming Rule TSR2)

Start:    Dive start.

Turns:    Upon completing each length of the course, some part of the swimmer's body must contact the end wall in the turn. A freestyler who fails to touch on the turn may avoid disqualification by returning to the wall.  Permissible for swimmers to be completely submerged during the turn and up to 15 metres after each turn. By that point the head must have broken the water surface.

Finish:    Some part of the body must contact the end wall at the finish.

Infractions:    (1) Failure to touch the wall on the turn; (2) Finishing in the wrong lane; (3) Walking or springing from the bottom of the pool in the desired direction; (4) Artificial assistance, such as pulling on the lane ropes or the sides of the pool; (5) Leaving the water before completing the full distance of the race.

BACKSTROKE: (see Technical Swimming Rule TSR3)

Start:    In the water. For the start, the swimmer's back is to the pool with both hands resting on the starting grips. The feet, including the toes, must be beneath the water's surface and placed firmly on the wall. Standing in the gutter or curling the toes over the lip of the gutter immediately after the starting signal is not permitted.

Turns:    Upon the completion of each length of the course, some part of the swimmer's body must contact the end wall in the turn. During the turn, swimmers may rotate beyond 90 degrees toward the breast, to execute a continuous turn. They may use a continuous single arm pull or a simultaneous double arm pull to initiate the turn. During the turn, once the swimmer has left the position on the back, any kick or arm pull must be part of the continuous turning action. The swimmer must have returned to a position on the back upon leaving the wall.  Permissible for swimmers to be completely submerged during the turn and at the finish touch and up to 15 metres after each turn. By that point the head must have broken the surface. Swimmers who surface in the wrong lane may take one underwater stroke to return to their own lanes, if they do not interfere with other swimmers.

Finish:    At the finish, the swimmer must touch the end of the pool with any part of the body while still on the back. It is permissible for the swimmer to be completely submerged at the finish touch. In Medley Races, the completion of the backstroke leg is judged as a finish, NOT as a turn.

Infractions:    (1) After turning onto stomach on the turn and making single or double arm pull, swimmer either glides or takes additional kicks or arm pulls to get closer to the wall before initiating the flip-turn. [NOTE:- Gliding or an extended layout while on the stomach is a pause in the turning action, making the turning action noncontinuous. "Continuous turning action" is a uniform, unbroken motion with no pauses]; (2) After turning onto the stomach to execute a flip-turn, swimmer fails to touch the wall on the turn. [NOTE:- The swimmer cannot scull back to the wall while on the back to make the touch]; (3) Failure to return to or past vertical toward the back before the swimmer leaves the wall on the turn; (4) Turning shoulders past vertical at the finish; (5) Artificial assistance; (6) Standing on the bottom of the pool or resting on the lane ropes/sides of the pool during the race. [NOTE:- Swimmer is no longer on the back]; (7) Finishing in the wrong lane; (8) Walking or springing from the bottom of the pool in the desired direction; (9) Leaving the water before completing the full distance of the race.

BREASTSTROKE: (see Technical Swimming Rule TSR4)

Start:    Dive start. At the start, BSF Rules allow the swimmer one complete arm pull and leg kick, in that order, under the water. On the first arm pull at the start, the hands may be pulled back below the hips. However, the head must break the water's surface before the hands turn inward at the widest portion of the second arm pull. [NOTE:- Either a complete or incomplete movement of the arms and/or legs following the dive start or following a turn is considered as one complete stroke and/or kick.]

Turns:    Prior to the last arm pull before the touch, the body must remain with the shoulders horizontal. The touch must be made simultaneously with both hands at, above or below the water surface. The hands may be at different levels, but the shoulders do not have to remain horizontal if the touch is simultaneous. The head may be submerged going into the turn, provided it breaks the water's surface during the last complete or incomplete cycle preceding the touch. Once the touch has been made, the swimmer may turn in any manner desired. The shoulders must be at or past vertical toward the breast when the swimmer leaves the wall. The prescribed form on the breast should be attained before the start of the arm pull after the swimmer has surfaced at each turn. On each turn, the swimmer is allowed one complete arm pull and leg kick under water. On the first arm pull on each turn, the hands may be pulled back below the hips. However, the head must break the water's surface before the hands turn inward at the widest portion of the second arm pull. [NOTE: - Either a complete or incomplete movement of the arms and/or legs following the dive start or following a turn is considered as one complete stroke and/or kick.] The prescribed form on the breast should be attained before the start of the arm pull after the swimmer has surfaced. Swimmers who surface in the wrong lane may take one underwater stroke to return to their own lanes, if they do not interfere with other swimmers.

Finish:    Prior to the last arm pull before the finish, the body must remain with the shoulders horizontal. The touch at the finish must be made simultaneously with both hands. The hands may be at different levels, but the shoulders do not have to remain horizontal if the touch is simultaneous. The elbows should be under the water except for the final stroke before the turn, during the turn and for the final stroke at the finish. The head may be submerged at the finish, provided it breaks the water's surface during the last complete or incomplete cycle preceding the touch. In Medley Races, the completion of the breaststroke leg is judged as a finish, NOT as a turn.

Infractions:    (1) At the start or after any turn, head still below the water when the hands turn inward at the widest part of the second arm stroke; (2) Non-simultaneous touch or 1-hand touch on turns or finish. [NOTE: - Hands need not be at the same level. Be alert for a legal simultaneous "quick" touch, which Judges can mistakenly interpret as a 1-hand touch]; (3) Butterfly or flutter kicks underwater at the start or after pushing off on the turn; (4) Body not on breast when beginning arm pull after surfacing following the start or a turn; (5) Body not at or past vertical toward the breast when the swimmer leaves the wall after a turn; (6) Artificial assistance; (7) Standing on the bottom of the pool or resting on the lane ropes/sides of the pool during the race. [NOTE: - Swimmer is no longer on the breast]; (8) Failure to touch the wall on the turn; (9) Finishing in the wrong lane; (10) Walking or springing from the bottom of the pool in the desired direction; (11) Leaving the water before completing the full distance of the race.

BUTTERFLY: (see Technical Swimming Rule TSR5)

Start:    Dive start.  Permissible for swimmers to be completely submerged up to 15 metres after the start and each turn. The swimmer is allowed one or more leg kicks and one arm pull underwater which must bring the swimmer to the surface. By that point the head must have broken the surface. Prior to the first arm stroke at the start, the body must be kept on the breast.

Turns:    The head may be below the water's surface going into the turn. However, the swimmer may not use an underwater recovery to reach the wall. The touch must be made simultaneously with both hands at, above or below the water surface. The hands may be at different levels provided they both touch simultaneously. Once a touch has been made, the swimmer may turn in any manner desired. The swimmer should attain the prescribed form on the breast before the start of the arm pull after the swimmer has surfaced at each turn.  Permissible for swimmers to be completely submerged up to 15 metres after each turn. The swimmer is allowed one or more leg kicks and one arm pull underwater which must bring the swimmer to the surface. By that point the head must have broken the surface. Prior to the arm stroke after each turn, the body must be kept on the breast. Swimmers who surface in the wrong lane may take one underwater stroke to return to their own lanes, if they do not interfere with other swimmers.

Finish:    Prior to the last arm pull before the finish, the body must remain with the shoulders horizontal. The head may be below the water's surface going into the finish. However, the swimmer may not use an underwater recovery to reach the wall. The touch must be made simultaneously with both hands at, above or below the water surface. The hands may be at different levels but the shoulders do not have to remain horizontal if both hands touch simultaneously. In Medley Races, the completion of the butterfly leg is judged as a finish, NOT as a turn.

Infractions:    (1) Non-simultaneous touch or 1-hand touch on turns or finish. [NOTE: - Hands need not be at the same level. Be alert for a legal simultaneous "quick" touch, which Judges can mistakenly interpret as a 1-hand touch]; (2) Arm recovery not over the water after arm pull on the turn or finish. [NOTE: - An illegal underwater arm recovery is usually characterized by a short arm pull and a jabbing touch under water]; (3) Body not at or past vertical toward the breast when the swimmer leaves the wall after a turn; (4) Swimmer takes more than 1 underwater arm pull at start or on turn; (5) Artificial assistance; (6) Standing on the bottom of the pool or resting on the lane ropes/sides of the pool during the race. [NOTE: - Swimmer is no longer on the breast]; (7) Failure to touch the wall on the turn; (8) Finishing in the wrong lane; (9) Walking or springing from the bottom of the pool in the desired direction; (10) Leaving the water before completing the full distance of the race.

INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY: (see Technical Swimming Rule TSR6.1)

Start:    Dive start.  Permissible for swimmers to be completely submerged up to 15 metres after the start and each turn. The swimmer is allowed one or more leg kicks and one arm pull underwater which must bring the swimmer to the surface. By that point the head must have broken the surface. Prior to the arm stroke at the start, the body must be kept on the breast.

Order of Strokes:    Butterfly; Backstroke; Breaststroke; Freestyle. [NOTE: - In an Individual Medley race, "freestyle" is any style other than backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly. Consequently, in Medley races, Meet Officials interpret "freestyle" to mean FRONT CRAWL only.] Each stroke must be executed legally. The Rules pertaining to the individual strokes governs disqualifications.

Turns:    The Rules pertaining to the individual strokes governs the form of turning required for each length of the course.

Finish:    The turns from one stroke to another are considered finishes, not turns, and are judged accordingly. [NOTE: - When turning from butterfly to backstroke after a legal touch, the swimmer's shoulders must be at or past the vertical toward the breast when the swimmer leaves the wall. When turning from backstroke to breaststroke after a legal touch, the swimmer's shoulders in the backstroke may NOT turn past vertical prior to touching the wall. Furthermore, the swimmer must be at or past the vertical toward the breast when leaving the wall to swim breaststroke.] The touch at the end of each leg must be according to the finish rules for that stroke.

Infractions:    (1) Stroke violation; (2) Turn or Finish violation; (3) Failure to swim proper order of strokes; (4) Failure to swim the complete distance; (5) Artificial assistance; (6) Standing on the bottom of the pool or resting on the lane ropes/sides of the pool during the backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly legs of the race. [NOTE: - Swimmer is no longer on the back or breast]; (7) Failure to touch the wall on the turn; (8) Finishing in the wrong lane; (9) Walking or springing from the bottom of the pool in the desired direction; (10) Swimmer submerged after start or turn beyond 15 metres during backstroke, butterfly or freestyle leg of the race.

FREESTYLE RELAYS: (see TSR2 and TSR9)

The Rules pertaining to the Turns, Finish and Infractions are the same for relay freestyle events as for individual freestyle events set out above. No competitor may swim more than one leg of the race.

MEDLEY RELAYS: (see TSR1.2, TSR6.2 and TSR9)

Start:    In the water. For the start, the swimmer's back is to the pool with both hands resting on the starting grips. The feet, including the toes, must be beneath the water's surface and placed firmly on the wall. Standing in the gutter or curling the toes over the lip of the gutter immediately after the starting signal is not permitted. Permissible for swimmers to be completely submerged up to 15 metres after the start. By that point the head must have broken the water surface.

Order of Strokes:    Backstroke; Breaststroke; Butterfly; Freestyle. In a Medley Relay race, "freestyle" means any style other than backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly. Consequently, in Medley races, Meet Officials interpret "freestyle" to mean FRONT CRAWL only. Each stroke must be executed legally. The Rules pertaining to the individual strokes govern disqualifications. No competitor may swim more than one leg of the race.

Turns:    The Rules pertaining to the individual strokes dictates the style of turning required for each length of the course.

Finish:    The touch at the end of each leg must be according to the finish rules for that stroke. Except the last swimmer, relay competitors must leave the water immediately upon finishing their leg.

Infractions:    (1) Stroke violation; (2) Turn or Finish violation; (3) Failure to swim proper order of strokes; (4) Failure to swim the complete distance; (5) Early takeoff; (6) Entering the water before all competitors have finished the race; (7) Artificial assistance; (8) Standing on the bottom of the pool or resting on the lane ropes/sides of the pool during the backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly legs of the race. [NOTE: - Swimmer is no longer on the back or breast]; (9) Failure to touch the wall on the turn; (10) Finishing in the wrong lane; (11) Walking or springing from the bottom of the pool in the desired direction; (12) Swimmer submerged after start or turn beyond 15 metres during backstroke, butterfly or freestyle leg of the race.



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