Will Dolphins’ View Win Day On Dolphin Kicking?

Commonwealth champion Leiston Pickett (AUS)

Leading lights in FINA are having second thoughts about a proposal that would allow dolphin kicking to 15m out of starts on breaststroke in the face of clear opposition from Australia and the United States, among others brandishing a message of ‘leave well alone and let the tech talk where it can do some good’; Australia’s technical committee reached unanimous rejection vote on FINA proposal [Photo: Swimming Australia]

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Leading lights in FINA are having second thoughts about a proposal that would allow dolphin kicking to 15m out of starts on breaststroke in the face of clear opposition from Australia and the United States, among others brandishing a message of ‘leave well alone and let the tech talk where it can do some good’; Australia’s technical committee reached unanimous rejection vote on FINA proposal [Photo: Swimming Australia]

Comments

morrow3

The last 3 Olympic 100 breast Champions have cheated to win the medal – all clearly seen by underwater cameras. The rules were “adjusted” the first two times. It finally takes the third one to basically say, I’m going to cheat because you can’t tell, for them to finally do anything? Shame on FINA for being another political body and not truly a body to advance aquatic sports and protect athletes against cheaters of all kinds. Find people who are passionate about the integrity of our sports to represent us and clear out the bureaucrats.

The obvious solution is to have underwater cameras and officials in a monitor rooms watching each lane. It is amazing how much one can see by having an elevated perspective as well. I have often wondered why officials don’t use lifeguard chairs and watch the swimmers as they swim into their zone. It is a far superior vantage point than walking the deck, where you can really only see the first couple lanes and the middle lanes can get away with infractions.

Clearly the lifeguard chairs would be in the way of the tv cameras and fans. But surely we can think of something. Underwater cameras are better. Pools need to be the correct depth to allow for the cameras and be safe during crowded warmups. This doesn’t seem that hard to figure out.

People have been crying foul since 2004 about the breaststroke cheating. One would hope things can be fixed by 2016 so cheating is a thing of the past and not part of our legacy or history.

John Leonard

FINA should join all other major world sports with video replay to get calls “right”. Underwater officiating either on breaststroke alone or all the strokes, will immediately mean that our agreed upon rules will be honored b all athletes. History of underwater video in USA-Swimming competition clearly shows that there are a number of “things going on” that can be remedied with this simple step. Start with “confirmation” of calls made on deck, with a warning that in two years, FINA will initiate calls from underwater video. Instant compliance will result.

Yes, it will slow down our sport a bit, but will reward those who follow the rules, with medals and positions on the podium.
Lets retain the unique nature of breaststroke in our sport. John Leonard

Steve Friederang

This is far more complex than cheating suits. Cheating suits should be outlawed and we should return to the suits that, for example, Janet Evans wore when she set the world records in the 400, 800, and 1500 which in my opinion have not been broken except by the advantage of present and other suits which can be specifically designed to take advantage of hydrodynamic and biomechanic uniqueness of sponsored athletes who broke the records. Even if this weren’t possible the message that suits are more important than training clearly hurts our sport and hundreds of dollars to wear the suits makes it an elitist activity. This is a simple fix — no hydrophobic or binding material and even that only to the hips. Those who think it’s solved by calling acceptable suits those that are “textile” are misinformed. But money keeps winning that rule.

This issue is interesting because of the often unique nature of breaststroker’s ankles and hips. The ability to plantar flex your ankles is hugely responsible for speed in fly, back, and free and more so now that we swim underwater 45 meters for every 100 short course. I have personally researched this and designed tools to measurable improve this ability of the ankles to plantar flex and be stronger in dorsi flexion to deflect more water and allow a more streamlined leg and body. As Dr. Marty Hull and I have discussed, there are physical limits to improving plantar flexion — bones in the foot and ankle can lock upon each other and that’s all the flexion you get. Breaststroke allows those swimmers with limited ankle flexibility, which I and Marty agree through extensive research is the number one predictor of swimming success in the other three strokes, to become world class swimmers. Those who don’t have this ability but who instead have a good ability to rotate hips and angles outward are able to reach world class times and stay successful in breaststroke at all levels of our great sport.

Allowing 30-45 meters of dolphin kick per 100 would instantly change all that. Though my company would sell a lot more Fankles, we are against this rule change. And, think about it some more — the limitation of speed in Breaststroke isn’t power; it’s form drag. I’ve coached relatively mediocre breaststrokers who could achieve world class speed in workout using dolphin kick and narrow breast pull. At some point you have to enforce rules or people will dolphin in the middle of the pool. Logically I’d recommend the use of lane-by-lane EyeSwims for video review when coaches ask for it, and return to NO dolphin kicks in breaststroke races. I’m not trying to make money here, but a single video system going to judges might work at the Olympics but is impractical due to parallax view and expense in the thousands of other meets around the world each year. EyeSwims work under the lane lines and are very portable and instantly reviewable by the ref on the deck.

There isn’t a need to review everyone every time – but there is a need to have the option to make sure swimmers stay within the rules of each event. As stated, you can’t just keep changing the rules so that world records get broken or someday it might be legal to climb out of the pool and run down the deck. Even I could beat Evan’s records if that were allowed. 🙂

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