SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.
Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers for their thoughts on the controversial disqualification of Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey in the 200 IM prelims:
Question: Did you agree with the DQ of Siobhan Haughey in the 200 IM at NCAAs?
- No, her pullout was perfectly legal – 53.7%
- It was a questionable, but defensible, call – 21.8%
- Unsure – 14.8%
- Yes, she took an extra dolphin kick – 9.6%
More than half of voters disagreed with a controversial DQ of Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey out of 200 IM prelims at women’s NCAAs.
Officials called Haughey for performing multiple dolphin kicks underwater on the breaststroke leg of her 200 IM. Race video made the call much more controversial, as many did not see a violation. You can watch a close-up of that turn specifically below. Haughey is in the yellow cap in the middle of the screen:
Naturally, controversial calls are a part of any sport. One doesn’t need to look much further than the NFL’s NFC Championship game this season to know that outcomes on the biggest stages can be determined by subjective calls from officials. It’s also unfair to expect officials to be perfect. They are as human as any competitor in the competition, and just as competitors and coaches can make mistakes, so, too, can officials. Maligning them, threatening them, or calling for them to be fired are typically overreactions, as controversial calls will be part of sports no matter how good officials are at their jobs.
Still, we can discuss controversial calls and weigh in on whether they appear correct or not. More than half our voters disagreed with this call, saying that Haughey’s pullout looked completely legal. Less than 10% said they saw a second dolphin kick, while about 21% said the call was questionable, but defensible from the official’s standpoint. About 14% were unsure.
The other wrinkle is that race video shows us a nearly-perpendicular angle to Haughey’s lane. That’s a vastly different view than the official had – the official was standing at the end of Haughey’s lane, and watching the underwater in question from behind. That makes it hard to come down firmly on one side or the other – the official’s angle could have made the pullout look far different. The issue of perspective also brings up discussion about underwater video review, or even underwater cameras to help officials make calls. Breaststroke pullouts, in particular, make for very tough officiating, as the perspective warp in watching an underwater movement from above the water can be very disorienting, and turbulence at the surface can further obscure any solid view of the athlete underwater.
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner