FINA Congress Votes ‘NO’ on Underwater Cameras

In what was a wild, multi-round vote, sources tell us that the FINA Technical Congress has voted to NOT allow underwater cameras for the judgement of disqualifications at major meets.

Those who we spoke to weren’t sure even they could exactly pinpoint what happened in the vote, but after two rounds, a few switches back-and-forth between which side of the issue put one ‘yay’ and which side of the issue put one ‘nay,’ ultimately the measure failed by about a dozen votes.

Who voted which direction was unclear; Denmark were the formal proposers of the rule, so they voted yes, as did the Americans, but after that things became murky.

There have been a number of reasons bandied about as to why various parties were against the cameras. Among them were:

  • interference with broadcasters’ underwater cameras
  • costs associated with installing
  • parity across the world (can every national/international level meet afford to install such cameras?)
  • How exactly the rules should be worded/administered
  • Deciding what exactly can be reviewed

So still, we emerge from yet another FINA Technical Congress with no solution to one of the most controversial issues in swimming over the last decade: how to monitor what happens underwater, specifically with regard to the breaststroke underwater pullout. Our readers will recall that at least half of the Olympic final could be observed on camera doing more than the one allowed underwater dolphin kick off of the start.

Yesterday, FINA rejected a different proposal that would allow unlimited dolphin kicks off of the start until 15 meters.

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8 years ago

So, people are going to keep cheating? I agree with no extra dolphin kicks in breaststroke but no underwater cameras either? Come on…

Breaststroke BS
Reply to  Rhi Jeffrey
8 years ago

Total BS. You let them cheat and admit to cheating and show the cheating on live TV, yet they totally get away with it. I feel bad for the poor breaststrokers that work their behinds off and lose by a hair because the cheaters are allowed to cheat. FINA should be ashamed of themselves. I have lost all respect.

Reply to  Breaststroke BS
8 years ago

Agreed completely

Lane Four
Reply to  Rhi Jeffrey
8 years ago

So who has been dropping $$$$ into the pockets of FINA to bring about such a decision? This smells of something we don’t know about. Look the other way and hey, here’s another dime to go into your pocket. But let’s keep this a secret amongst ourselves.

Reply to  Lane Four
8 years ago

Im thinking some of the same people that allowed Cielo off with a warning for his masking agent a few years back.

Mr Krabbs
Reply to  Rhi Jeffrey
8 years ago

I agree with you completely. Unlimited dolphin kicks off the wall ruins the nature of breaststroke, but not installing underwater cameras ruins the entire competition and FINA’s reputation.

8 years ago

At the very least there should be underwater cameras at the World Championships, Pan Pacs, Europeans and Olympics.

Reply to  boknows34
8 years ago


I agree 100%

8 years ago

I wonder why they couldn’t agree on a “compromise” where video “could be used as an option” if it met certain technical specifications?.That way, not every meet need have video but we could be sure that the “big” meets would use it (Olympics, Worlds, USA Nationals, etc).

Reply to  newswim
8 years ago

How about world records achieved at meetings without underwater cameras?

Reply to  SwimFanFinland
8 years ago

You need to start somewhere…..better to have them at major international meets (and big USA/NCAA meets) than no where.

8 years ago

I agree there should be cameras. I think those people voting aren’t officials, coaches or athletes! They don’t have a clue!

C Martin
8 years ago

I liken this rule to the automatic review for home runs in baseball. The decision was pretty much split for all parties, but once they passed it you can see what it has done for the sport.

Honestly, to have the excuse that you wouldn’t stop cheating dead in its tracks because it costs too much is complete bull. If you have a multi-million dollar facility you can afford to install a few cameras. Good job FINA.

C Martin
Reply to  Braden Keith
8 years ago

Braden, I can see where you’re coming from, but I wasn’t comparing the budgets of the MLB with that of FINA and other governing bodies. The baseball reference was used for the actual rule/proposal and the voting surrounding it.

You can’t put a price on cheating (technically, you could, but if you want a clean sport, you have to take the appropriate measures to keep it clean). If a third-world country can’t afford cameras, the right thing to do would be to loan or give them cameras, as you said. But for FINA to make the excuse that there isn’t enough money for them to buy cameras doesn’t seem to be right.

If a tree falls in the… Read more »

Reply to  Braden Keith
8 years ago

It should be mandatory for at the very least at the World Championships, Pan Pacs, Europeans and Olympics!! There is no excuse for that and saying there isn’t funding. if other countries and meets can’t afford it thats fine, but these meets should have it!

Philip Johnson
8 years ago

Alright van der Burgh and others, you just got the green light.

Coach Bambam
8 years ago

This line says a lot – interference with broadcasters’ underwater cameras -> I interpret that to mean its about the revenues instead of compliance.

Its unfortunate that this will not be instituted but it might make its way in due process.

Reply to  Coach Bambam
8 years ago

And that’s a BS excuse. Look at the underwater cameras in Indy or Omaha. There were broadcasting cameras as well as DQ-judging cameras underwater. Neither interfered with the other.

coach Bambam
Reply to  Phil
8 years ago

I agree – even at the Grand Prix in Santa Clara someone with a go pro did some great shots on turns (even caught a DQ).

No need for FINA to be stuck in the 80’s – technology is around to improve things and it shows not just in sports – medicine, engineering, automotive…cameras help.

8 years ago

This is probably the worst ruling in awhile. Could have at LEAST put them at the Olympics, world championship, or whatever international championship meet there is for the year. Agreed, cost is an issue and not every country can afford the cameras, but at the biggest meet of the year they are completely necessary. World records have been broken as a result of not having cameras (Van De Cheater). Really perplexed by this.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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