USA Swimming Disputes Pan Ams Medley Relay DQ to No Avail


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A spokesperson for USA Swimming disputed whether or not Cody Miller did 2 dolphin kicks on the American mixed medley relay on Thursday evening in Lima, Peru.

“[It was] two dolphin kicks off the breaststroke turn,” USA Swimming press officer Kara Raney said in a USOPC press release. “Per Pan Am rules, we are not allowed to introduce video that is not from Pan Am Sports. Per the video that the team has seen, it disputes the call. But, unfortunately, per the rules, we cannot introduce our own video or a broadcast video. It has to be from Pan Am Sports.”

When asked, USA Swimming declined to provide the footage that they claim showed his innocence.

The American relay was disqualified in the swim: the first mixed medley ever held at the Pan American Games.

While video review has become the norm at big international meets only to overturn disqualifications but not to call them (it was in use heavily at the World Championships, for example), only video taken by the official review system is allowed in the process.

Miller has been disqualified for multiple dolphin kicks at big collegiate, national, and international meets in the past, including on the men’s 400 medley relay at the 2016 World Championships, at the 2016 Pro Swim Series stop in Orlando, and at the 2013 NCAA Championships in the individual 100 breaststroke.

FINA changed breaststroke rules after the 2004 Olympics to allow swimmers to take a single dolphin kick during the underwater pullout phase of each length of breaststroke. The change came after Japanese swimmer Kosuke Kitajima did a clear dolphin kick and was not disqualified en route to double breaststroke gold. The rule, since implemented, has seen small tweaks, but in essence remains: 1 dolphin kick in each underwater pullout. The rule has remain one of the most hotly-debated, and inconsistently called, in swimming:

The Americans touched first in the relay, and after their disqualification was upheld, that moved Brazil into the gold medal position in 3:48.61, Canada into silver in 3:49.97, and Argentina into bronze in 3:50.53.

This is the 2nd time in the last year that Brazil has benefited with a gold medal from an American relay DQ: at last year’s Pan Pacific Games, the American men’s 400 free relay was disqualified for swimming out of order, leaving Brazil for gold there as well.

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1 year ago

I thought the DQ would come from multiple kicks off the start, not the turn

Swimming Fan
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Not everyone. Only those that choose to bend the rules.

Pac Swim Fan
Reply to  Swimming Fan
1 year ago

At Nationals, it seemed like about 80% were doing this off the start. There were some DQs for that as well, but most got away with it.

Propose rule change for start only: unlimited dolphin kicks but head must break surface by the 15m mark. Turns remain 1 dolphin kick (or we could eliminate the dolphin kick at turns to make up for the extra one or two that everyone will now get at the start).

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

I don’t even think the ones immediately upon entry help. You see so many folks just doing a bunch of little machine gun dolphins right as they’re barely in the water, if anything that’s just messing up their bodyline.

Peaty the Potato
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 year ago

I don’t think doping helps either.

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

MA doesn’t

1 year ago

Just wow. L

1 year ago


About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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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