The purpose of rules in any sport is to ensure that no competitor enjoys an unfair advantage. There are rules covering starts: swimming each stroke – butterfly, backstroke, and breaststroke, front crawl and medley: turns and finishes. Swimmers are taught to swim according to the rules and are encouraged to observe them during training. Sloppy training leads to bad habits and disqualifications.

At a glance, if there is any doubt about whether the swimmer should be disqualified, then the benefit is given to the swimmer. The reason for the disqualification is recorded on the time slip and the recorder or the referee will give you the information if you ask for it.

If you want general information on the rules, speak to the swimmer’s teacher or coach and if you want a copy of the rules, this can be obtained from the Amateur Swimming Association, (ASA) Harold Fern House, Derby Square, Loughborough, LE11 0AL