The following rules changes were made for 1998:
- R-1 Breaststroke
To permit the shoulder to drop on turns and during the swim
- R-2 Butterfly
1. To permit the shoulder to drop on turns
2. To limit underwater portion to 15 meters
- R-3 Freestyle
To limit underwater portion to 15 meters
USMS 101.2 BREASTSROKE
.2 Stroke - From the beginning of the first arm stroke after the start and after each turn, the body shall be kept on the breast and both shoulders shall be in line with the water surface. The arms shall move simultaneously and in the same horizontal plane without any alternating movement. …
.4 Turns - At each turn, the touch shall be made with both hands simultaneously at, above, or below the water surface, and the shoulders shall be in line with the water surface. The head may be submerged after the last arm pull prior to the touch, provided it breaks the surface of the water at some point during any part of the last complete or incomplete stroke cycle preceding the touch. Once a touch has been made, the swimmer may turn in any manner desired. The shoulders must be at or past the vertical toward the breast when the swimmer leaves the wall and the form prescribed in .2 must be attained from the beginning of the first arm stroke.
How does this affect the breaststroke turn? Well I have been telling everyone for the last couple of years that they could shave a tenth off each turn by allowing one hand to touch lower than the other. Well, make that .2 to .3 seconds on EACH turn. Masters experimented with dipping the shoulder at the turn, it is MUCH faster. I recommend twisting the shoulders at the turn, and having the hands about 10 inches apart, one over the other. The way you turn to best, should be the lower hand. I still recommend the Moffat turn, breast to back, twisting over to breast again. This rule remains: The shoulders must be at or past the VERTICAL toward the breast when the swimmer leaves the wall and the form prescribed in .2 must be attained from the beginning of the first arm stroke. I call this the Kristine Quance rule because she so blantly disregarded this rule in the 1996 Olympic Trials. She did not turn past the vertical until her feet were past the "T" on the underwater line. There is no excuse for not practicing correctly EVERY workout!
The amazing thing is this greatly increases the chance someone will do a FLIP turn in a breaststroke race. Up until the early 60's we had to touch the wall on the freestyle turn. As a young breaststroker I practiced breaststroke flip turns, but then our head could not go underwater, and we had to touch evenly. Come on coaches, lets see who will do the first legal breaststroke flip turn in competition. Boy, I love to tweek the rule makers. Reminds me of the days when they let me tweek them in the 200 fly, kicking the middle 100 all breaststroke kick with NO arm pull. I was so refreshed, I was able to sprint home doing the butterfly correctly.
- Technique and Training