Justin Ress Describes Emotions After DQ Overturn as “20 More Minutes of Shock”



  • World Record: 23.71, Hunter Armstrong (USA) – 2022 U.S. Trials
  • Championship Record: 24.04, Liam Tancock (GBR) – 2009 World Championships
  • 2019 World Champion: Zane Waddell (RSA), 24.43
  1. Justin Ress (USA) – 24.12
  2. Hunter Armstrong (USA) – 24.14
  3. Ksawery Masiuk (POL) – 24.49
  4. Thomas Ceccon (ITA) – 24.51
  5. Apostolos Christou (GRE) / Robert Glinta (ROU) – 24.57
  6. Ole Braunschweig (GER) – 24.66
  7. Isaac Alan Cooper (AUS) – 24.76

The final day of the FINA 2022 World Championships was not without drama. Justin Ress of the United States touched first at the wall in a 24.12 in the men’s 50 backstroke final before finding out he was disqualified for being fully submerged on his finish. The medal ceremony occurred with the second, third, and fourth place finishers while the review for the disqualification was still occurring. After the medal ceremony, it was ultimately decided that Ress’s disqualification would be overturned.

Ress spoke of his many emotions saying “It was shock the whole time. Twenty minutes I was just in the chair in the team room, paralyzed, shocked I got DQed. Obviously overturns rarely happened so I basically lost all hope. When they told me it got overturned, it was 20 more minutes of shock that it had been overturned! On top of that, there was all this sadness, anger –  you just never think – that’s the worst possible way a race could go. I could have went out there and gotten eighth and I would have been bummed to not get a medal or performed as good as I could have. I’ve learned it’s not about the results – it’s about the journey. When it goes down like that – thinking you’ve won for a couple minutes, then see the DQ, it’s kind of insane.”

This was Ress’ first individual gold medal at a World Championship. Ress also finished 0.02 seconds ahead of fellow American Hunter Armstrong making it the first time that two Americans were on the podium in the event.

The 50 backstroke was Ress’ only individual event of the meet. Ress also swam on the United States men’s 4×100 freestyle relay splitting a 47.48 in finals. That relay finished in a 3:09.34 for gold.

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3 months ago

I don’t know if this type of finish gives elite and really fast swimmers an advantage. But I see age groupers and high school swimmers trying to copy what they see and it turns into:
– stop
– think
– Submerge
– Lift foot out of water

There’s no way this gives any kind of advantage and kids need to stop copying this.

3 months ago

The judge at the finish must observe the swimmer touching the wall, not the entire body of the swimmer. The side judge has the better position to observe the entire body. It’s very difficult to observe the swimmers in lane 4 and 5 from both sides, especially with spashes and bubbles from all the swimmers coming to the wall about the same time. If you cannot see clearly, you shall not call. The benefit of the doubt ALWAYS goes to the swimmer.

The meet referee overturned the DQ which was the right thing to do.

Last edited 3 months ago by Mike
TX Swim
Reply to  Mike
3 months ago

It’s actually the lack of bubbles or whitewater that give it away that a backstoker has fully resubmverged at the finish. This call is rarely made but happens way more often than it’s called, mostly at the age group level.

3 months ago

It’s also the fact that this was overturned after the medal ceremony, and the DQ was announced while Ress was interviewing

3 months ago

Regardless of the result, Hunters responded well in the interview regarding to the DQ. From any DQs and if that gets overturned or not, it’s at least a learning experience moving forward

Last edited 3 months ago by Swimmer
3 months ago

What are the rules for ? Mr Ress should of never made it to the 50 bk 2022 final. He has cheated in front of the world through the heats and semi finals with licienced approved video evidence clearly showing his under water finish DQ. Its a farce if the DQ report form had a miner technical issue ? There was no benefit of doubt the swimmer cheated….

Moderately talkative observer
Reply to  LifeCentre
3 months ago

Didn’t realize you had a better view of the finish than the referee

3 months ago

Nobody queues for a flat rollercoaster

3 months ago

He should have been DQ’d in the heat. The heat and semi were two extremely obvious DQs. Even letting him be in the final was the mistake. Then it just got worse

Reply to  Sub13
3 months ago

Yes the actual DQ in the final was the least shocking thing that actually happened that day.

Reply to  Sub13
3 months ago

Does finishing underwater with your last stroke provide an advantage? No, it doesn’t. Deal with it 😎

Reply to  ReneDescartes
3 months ago

Of course it does!

Also, that’s a silly question. If a little kid is swimming fly, almost drowning, and not getting his or her arms above the water – is that an advantage? No!
Will they be disqualified? Yes, of course, because the rules say the arms must be brought forward above the water.
Rules are rules!

USA Official
3 months ago

In the US that call would not have been accepted by the deck ref The finish official would not been able to see the touch and the feet at the same time that close to the wall . From the video the water is not “glass” , so I doubt the stroke official declared a violation. The benefit of the doubt goes to the swimmer

Reply to  USA Official
3 months ago

What is a finish official?

Reply to  USA Official
3 months ago

As the official in that lane, basically the only thing relevant for the finish is whether 1 body part is (still) breaking the surface. That is everyday business for an experienced official (which all of them are or should be). This is the rule and also taught by FINA (https://www.fina.org/videos/2076796/officiating-swimming-backstroke). This rule exists because there is a massive advantage in submerging for the last meter or so. Winning by such a small margin when everyone else is following the rules is just not right. No, sorry, he did not deserve gold and he shouldn’t have been in the final or semis.
After not being DQed in heat and semis, he should… Read more »

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Government & Law and Economics at Lafayette College. There she is …

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