On Wednesday, September 25th, 2013, a slate of new FINA rules kick in.
To see the full rule-book that will be in effect from 2013-2017, click here.
The major among these is the fact that for the first time, FINA will be recognizing World Records in mixed medley relays. The race will be on to see who can put up the first sanctioned relays in mixed medleys and stamp their names on the World Record book. Odds are that the winners of that battle won’t be a big national-team relay that will eventually hold it at some point in the next year, but someone is going to get a bit of a free pass into the history books.
Remember that while these swims can count for mixed relay records, their lead-off legs will not be able to count as individual records.
There are also many changes to Masters’ swimming’s rules book, though those specific to that level are administrative. Specifically, Masters swimmers must now, by rule, belong to a club to swim a time recognized in the FINA World Rankings top 10 or break a FINA World Record.
Other new rules that apply to both levels include:
In breaststroke and butterfly, two-hand touches can no longer be overlapping. The hands must be separated when the wall is touched.
In backstroke, FINA took out the wording that a swimmer is allowed to be completely submerged at the finish of a race (though they can still do so at the turn). This means that the big lunges we see, most often in younger age groups, that put the swimmer entirely underwater into the wall are now eliminated. This is important for all coaches to keep an eye on.
All of FINA’s new rules books can be seen here.