After Prior 15-Meter Misses, ISL Officials DQ Coleman Stewart

If you’ve been watching the third season of the International Swimming League and have paid attention to the amazing underwater dolphin kicking skills of the top athletes, you’ve probably noticed how close some of them come to kicking beyond 15-meters in backstroke, butterfly, and freestyle.

Remember–there is no 15-meter violation in breaststroke.

There have been surprisingly few disqualifications thus far in the third season of the ISL, but on day 2 of Match 6, Coleman Stewart of the Cali Condors was disqualified for kicking beyond 15 meters underwater on the final 25 of the 100 backstroke. This was a big blow to the Condors points-wise, though it was not the first 15-meter violation of the week.

In Match 5, Tom Shields of the LA Current kicked beyond 15 meters on the first length of the race yet was not disqualified for it. While Stewart consistently kicks to 15 meters off of almost every wall, and so far has been given the benefit of the doubt, Shields was the most-clearly missed violation that we’ve seen this season.

Shields said on Monday morning on Instagram (after this article was originally posted) that he “knew he was pushing the 15 (meter line) on skins” because he knew he was in 8th place at the time. “They’ve been relatively chill,” Shields said in the post, indicating that with little to lose, he thought he’d try to tiptoe as fine of a line as he could.

Shields can clearly be seen in lane 2 breaking the surface after his full head and shoulders have cleared the yellow 15-meter marker. The full video of the race is also posted below.

Why wasn’t Shields disqualified then?

For filming purposes, the ISL aims to keep the pool deck as clean as possible, meaning the officials are often not as close to the pool as normal. All ISL officials are certified, and because FINA now recognizes times swum in the ISL, it is important that normal rules are enforced. In this case, there is one official standing on the lane-1 side of the pool at the 15-meter marker nearer the blocks, though they are kept behind the camera track that runs beside lane 1. For comparison, FINA places multiple stroke judges on both sides of the pool utilizing “lead/lag” to coordinate coverage, as well as at both the start and turn ends.

In Match 2 of the 2021 ISL season, Stewart broke the World Record in the 100 meter backstroke with a 48.33. SwimSwam’s Coleman Hodges provides an in-depth analysis of Stewart’s World Record swim which shows fully-legal underwaters.

While the camera work performed by the ISL is commendable, giving the pool deck over to a film crew makes the officials’ jobs more difficult.

In the entire 2021 ISL season, only 4 disqualifications have been called.

ISL Disqualifications 2021

  • Match 1 – 2
  • Match 2 – 0
  • Match 3 – 0
  • Match 4 – 1
  • Match 5 – 0
  • Match 6 – 1

The ISL has disqualifed swimmers in the past for kicking beyond 15 meters, such as Shane Ryan at the 2019 American Derby where he represented the LA Current. There, Ryan took a DQ in the 50 backstroke. Even so, disqualifications are rare in the ISL.

Video – 50 Freestyle Skins, Match 5

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Hoosier Daddy
14 days ago

Is this what is taught at NC State??

Hswimmer
Reply to  Hoosier Daddy
14 days ago

Clearly

Snarky
Reply to  Hswimmer
13 days ago

Jealous daddy.

Hswimmer
Reply to  Snarky
13 days ago

Ok.

Breezeway
Reply to  Hoosier Daddy
14 days ago

How’s Cody Miller doing these days?

ALDASP
Reply to  Breezeway
14 days ago

Probably pretty good – I mean he is about to have a second child and had a pretty good match at ISL earlier this week, being a part of why DC were as good as they were

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Hoosier Daddy
13 days ago

Yeah, they just don’t teach one-hand touches at Worlds or dolphin kicks at Pan-Ams in breast.

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
14 days ago

Guess he was raised different

Huh
14 days ago

Stewart goes past 15m every swim.

CasualSwimmer
14 days ago

There’s no 15m limit in breastroke because if you do a legal pullout you can’t go further than 15m, you’d have to sneak some additional dolphin kicks

Tyson
Reply to  CasualSwimmer
14 days ago

Daiya Seto has joined the chat

Last edited 14 days ago by Tyson
Swimmer
Reply to  CasualSwimmer
14 days ago

This is not true. The reason there is no limit is because at a certain point in the breastroke pullout, you will eventually slow down significantly. I would argue that almost all male breastrokers at the international stage could do a pullout past 15 with one dolphin.

Rafael
Reply to  Swimmer
13 days ago

All male breaststrokers on state level can do that.. no need to go that high level

KimJongSpoon
Reply to  CasualSwimmer
14 days ago

I guess Max McHugh, Nic Fink and oh yeah Caeleb Dressel all sneak in some extra dolphin kicks then

Admin
Reply to  KimJongSpoon
13 days ago

Breeja Larson and Kevin Cordes were the first ones who I remember seeing go clearly past 15 in their full race mode.

Which doesn’t mean they’re the first, just means…that’s when I started paying attention to those things lol.

PACFAN
Reply to  Braden Keith
13 days ago

That Cordes 1:48 video will give you chills every time. The stroke length on the 3rd and 4th 50 !!

tea rex
Reply to  Braden Keith
13 days ago

I guess that’s why you run a swimming media company and I don’t – I still haven’t started paying attention to breaststroke.

Bruh
Reply to  CasualSwimmer
14 days ago

I can do a full 25 yards in 1 very legal pull out and I am only pretty good

John
Reply to  CasualSwimmer
13 days ago

Tell me your not a breaststroker without telling me your not a breaststroker

Rafael
Reply to  CasualSwimmer
13 days ago

I am pretty average, dad body like almost 40 and can go near 15 meters on breast without a block at all.

Erik
Reply to  CasualSwimmer
13 days ago

Really living that handle, aren’t you…

abby
14 days ago

I’m guessing this was also why Jay Litherland was disqualified in match 1

Barry
Reply to  abby
14 days ago

In the 200 breast?? No, that one was probably for a fly kick somewhere. Dude’s a 400 IMer. At some point, subconsciously he was probably like enough already with the breast.

Landen
Reply to  Barry
13 days ago

Still can’t believe they chose him to swim that event considering how it’s his weakest length in the 400 IM

Teddy
14 days ago

Seems like it should be less than 15 m for short course

Know that it would screw everything up at this point, but yeah

New rule: everyone go to town on dive breakouts—no distance limit, then pop up at the flags every other length

Last edited 14 days ago by Teddy
Corn Pop
Reply to  Teddy
13 days ago

Or just have a 15 m pool 7 lengths. They are going to have to surface sometime probly at each 2nd lap at 13 M to get a breath. The 3-5 mtr sprint at the end should be scintillating.

Last edited 13 days ago by Corn Pop
Steve Nolan
Reply to  Teddy
13 days ago

This is the kind of Galaxy Brain take I like to see!!

Townley Haas jackpots every swimmer in every race.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Teddy
13 days ago

We already went through that. Ever watch videos of NCAA medley relays from 90’s?

DJTrockstoYMCA
14 days ago

FINA is hurting our sport with the ridiculous 15m rule! Why not make sure all swimmers are swimming at least by the flag closest to the turn and finish wall! OR allow swimmers to swim the entire race underwater except for the turns! Now that would be exciting!

Bruh
Reply to  DJTrockstoYMCA
13 days ago

Then it becomes boring

Bub
Reply to  DJTrockstoYMCA
13 days ago

Congratulations, you’ve discovered finswimming

M d e
Reply to  DJTrockstoYMCA
13 days ago

You are the most ridiculous troll on this site.

tea rex
Reply to  DJTrockstoYMCA
13 days ago

It would be easier to keep track if it was just 12.5 meters or 12.5 yards. Clear line at the halfway mark. At least half the race above water.

Erik
Reply to  tea rex
13 days ago

Different lengths for different courses is a bit of a pain… It is based on the big pool, all 3 courses share the same UW limit.

Paul
13 days ago

Some of Coleman’s finishes have been suspect too- fully submerged. Easy to replay and see on video / poor judges. HVe to ask the question why do it if it’s suspect

Anonymous
Reply to  Paul
13 days ago

Having watched some of the matches, with the cameras and glare from the lights, I’m not sure what kind of visibility the officials have at all. Fully submerged finishes are not always easy to call, much easier with side lead/lag.

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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