“Lochte Rule” Heavily Enforced in 400 IM Prelims at U.S. Trials


The “Lochte Rule” is being heavily enforced at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials. 2015 Junior National Teamer and YMCA National Champion Savanna Faulconer of Y-Spartaquatics fell victim in the 400 IM earlier this morning, getting disqualified for coming off towards her back on a freestyle turn. Faulconer is an incoming freshman at the University of Florida.

Last November, FINA, citing the rule that only allows the backstroke to be swum on one leg of an IM, ruled that coming off a freestyle wall closer to the backstroke axis does constitute backstroke swimming, and thus is not a legal technique in the IM races.

You can read an in-depth analysis of the Lochte Rule here.

Colleen Callahan and Lauren Edelman were also disqualified for freestyle infractions in top flight prelims this morning.

Going into 400 IM finals, Sarah Henry of Aggie Swim Club sits first with 4:36.93, followed by Elizabeth Beisel of Bluefish (4:37.61), Bethany Galat of Texas A&M (4:38.39), Maya DiRado (4:38.54), and Caitlin Leverenz (4:39.55).

Full results of the women’s 400 IM prelims are here.

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Omaha stylee
5 years ago

This is such an injustice. This rule needs to change. I get the concept but needs to come to a common ground. We allow bleeping butterfly dolphin kick on breaststroke pullout a but not someone doing a flip turn, which your natural somersault is to your back. At least amend the rule to be something like “must be on freestyle axis” before flags” or “before first kick”. Such crock

5 years ago

Looks like multiple DQs from the same lane. Bummer to be in lane 9 this morning. That rule is DEFINITELY not called consistently across the board.

Reply to  Coach
5 years ago

Another lane 9 – on the freestyle turn – Heat 7. Sorry Solie. You got robbed.

5 years ago

“Lochte rule heavily enforced”


Why tho

Attila the Hunt
Reply to  PACFAN
5 years ago

Because it will be enforced at the Olympics.

5 years ago

Kids are and will get deeked for simply being past vertical the moment their feet leave the wall – like on a breast turn. It’s not like they’re trying to rock fly kicks on their back. Only very few officials call it ridiculously close, but it only takes 1. It’s not uniform at all.

5 years ago

Ridiculous. Swimmers come up with something new, and are penalized for it.

5 years ago

I don’t get it. “Freestyle” is exactly what it says – “any style”. You should be able to swim a full race on your back if you want.

Reply to  DMan
5 years ago

FINA and USA Swimming have clarified the freestyle in the IM rule. They’ve determined that pushing off on the back during the freestyle leg of the IM or Medley Relay is doing backstroke, which violates the section where a swimmer must swim only 1/4 of the race stroke. By pushing off on the back the swimmer is swimming more than 1/4 of the race backstroke.

Swimmers can do any style in just freestyle events as long as the head surfaces throughout the race.

Reply to  DMan
5 years ago

I’m pretty sure freestyle in the IM can be anything except one of the previously swum strokes.

John Deere Green
5 years ago

If the justification for this rule is that each stroke must only be 1/4 of the IM, then shouldn’t being able to roll over onto your stomach in the back to back turn offset pushing off the wall on your back for free to free turns? The breast to free turn would still apply the rule, but that also applies to open turns for fly and breast, so there is not much difference in those motions.

About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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