Faulty Stroke

Butterfly – Arms not clearing the water properly or not moving forward together. Legs not moving up and down together - freestyle kicks or breaststroke kicks are not permitted.

Backstroke – Swimming on front - stay on your back at all times except for turns. Some swimmers turn on their fronts towards the end of a race looking for the finish. This could cause a disqualification.

Breaststroke - Kicking with a Sidestroke or scissors motion (any alternating movement). Butterfly or flutter kicks are not permitted. (with the exception of a single downward dolphin kick at the start and turn)

Faulty Finishes

2 Hands! – Both Butterfly and Breaststroke require a two handed (i.e. together) touch at the finish. On Backstroke you must finish on your back – no turning over to see where the end of the pool is.

Faulty Turns

Again you must use two hands to touch before turning on Butterfly and Breaststroke. On Freestyle you must touch the end with some part of your body – so don’t tumble turn too early and miss your push off, not only will it slow you down but you could get disqualified. Backstroke turn is one area that a lot of swimmers get disqualified. You are allowed to turn on to your front to do a tumble turn BUT if you turn too soon and put in a kick or arm stroke while on your front and before you start to turn you will be disqualified. Any movement of the arms or legs while on your front must be part of the turn. Also once you have tumble turned you must push off the wall on your back. Breaststroke – you are only allowed one arm pull and one kick under water at the start and after each turn. Your head must be out of the water before you next pull back with your arms.

Faulty Starts

Simply if you start your race before the starting signal you will be disqualified. Also moving on the block can also cause a disqualification. Try to be as still as possible. There are no longer any second chances. Ask your coach to show you how to start to ensure you don’t go too soon.

Faulty Takeovers (Relays)

Most disqualifications are for setting off too soon. The golden rules are:

    • If starting from the blocks or side of the pool your feet must not have left the floor before the incoming swimmer touches the pool side.



  • If starting in the water you must hold onto the side of the pool and not let go until the incoming swimmer has touched. Remember it is your hands that count when you start in the water and not your feet.

Finally sometimes swimmers goggles come off after the dive start and while it may seem harsh or unfair, if they touch them or try to put them back on they will be disqualified because they will not be complying with the rules of the stroke. It is better to struggle on than be disqualified!

Committee member Ian Davey is qualified referee, if you keep getting disqualified for the same thing, speak to him and he'll give you a few tips.