BRENHAM, TX -- Most people know "how-to swim" but don't understand the terminology or process of an actual swim meet.
Swimming is one of the best, full-body workouts one could partake in, yet it's not a typical sport someone thinks of when discussing sports in a conversation.
--A meet is composed of 12 events.
--The four different competitive strokes are the Freestyle, Backstroke, Butterfly, and Breaststroke.
--Each swimmer can participate in a maximum of four events. If the swimmer does enter four events, there must be a minimum of two relay events. The competitor may also do three relay and one individual event.
--Each team may enter a maximum of three swimmers per event, and three relay teams per relay race; but only two of those teams may record a score for their team.
Starts and Turns
Every race begins with a starting signal given by the "starter," usually by a gun shot or horn sound. For the freestyle, breaststroke, and butterfly races; swimmers start on the blocks and dive into the pool. The backstroke races start with swimmers in the water, hanging onto the bottom of the platform.
If an individual jumps in any race before the signal is given from the starter, the swimmer will be given a false start penalty and will be disqualified from that event.
Turning is often the difference between winning and losing a race. Usually, the competitors are required to touch the end of the pool when turning, but each style of swimming approaches turns differently.
Freestylerstypically somersault in the water and push off the wall with their feet.
Backstrokerscan touch with their hands and follow with a backward somersault off the wall, or may flip to their stomachs before doing a freestyle flip-turn.
Breaststroke and Butterflyswimmers must touch the wall with both hands BEFORE the turn, and the two-hand touch at the turn and finish must be simultaneous.
During a relay race, competitors must be in contact with the starting platform when the preceding teammate finishes his/her part of the race. If any swimmer leaves before the previous swimmer touches, the relay team is disqualified and scores no points.
In the 200 Medley Relay, four swimmers each swim two pool lengths with splits of backstroke, breaststroke,butterfly, and freestyle, in that order.
Regulations per Stroke
Backstroke: Competitors must swim on their back until he/she approaches the wall for a turn. Once the turn is complete, the swimmer must return to their back.
**The pennants hanging across the pool are designed to warn the backstroker of an approaching turn.
Breaststroke: This is the most rigorous stroke for swimmers to learn. While swimming, the competitor must swim with at least some part of his/her head above the surface of the water, except on starts and turns where the swimmer is allowed one kick and one pull of the arms underwater. All arm movements must be simultaneous and in the same horizontal plane without any alternating movements. The hands must stay pushed forward together from the breast, and brought back simultaneously and symmetrically. The swimmer's breast and both shoulders must be held in line with the surface of the water. The leg kick must be squeezing action with no downward thrust of the legs. All vertical and lateral movements of the legs must be done together. The feet must turn outwards in the backward movement.
Butterfly: The most energy-consuming stroke of the four strokes is the butterfly. Both arms must be brought forward over the surface of the water and thrust backward simultaneously. The leg kick must be a downward thrust with the legs and feet together. No scissor-kicking or breaststroke kicking movements are permitted.
Freestyle: This event allows the swimmer to swim in whichever form comes the most naturally to them. Nearly every swimmer will use this opportunity to swim the "crawl," easily recognized by the "overhand" stroke.
**Because of the shorter distance, turning to breath often becomes a factor in "sprint" events, between 50 and 75 yards, and swimmers rarely slow down to breathe. However, oxygen balance is more important in longer events, and distance free stylers usually breath each cycle.
200 Yard Individual Medley (IM) challenges the swimmer's versatility by forcing them to swim 50 yards of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle, in that order.
"Every swim listed in the USA Swimming times database includes a Hy-Tek Power Point value. This point system allows for comparison of the quality of performances across strokes, distances and events, as well as between ages. The scale ranges from 1 to 1100 points. The higher the points, the stronger [the swimmer is] in that event."
Source:USA Swimming at usaswimming.org.
To calculate different strokes, ages, distances and events point scales, click here
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