Video Shows Lane Rope Tug in Tokyo Olympic Swimming

Correction: the original version of this story mis-identified the swimmer. We regret the error and it has been updated.

Pulling on the laneline is a part of the culture of swimming. And every time you’re caught doing it, the exchange goes something like this:

  • Coach: Are you going to pull on the lanerope in the meet too?
  • Swimmer: Coach, I promise I won’t do it in a meet, chill
  • Coach: Then don’t do it in practice!

But…what if it happened? At the Olympic Games?

SwimSwam’s eagle-eyed readers noticed on a slow-motion replay of heat 2 of the men’s 200 freestyle on Sunday evening in Tokyo that one swimmer, Israel’s Denis Loktev, appeared to grab the lanerope going into his turn.

There are very few things that can cause a disqualification in freestyle swimming, but pulling on the lanerope is one of them.

No full-speed replay of the same angle has been located to see the real force of the pull, though there is a zoomed-out view of the same. In reality, it probably didn’t make much difference – this appears to be more of a situation where he was swimming to close to the rope, his hand caught the buoy, and he just gave it a little tug. Be that it was going into a turn, the benefit was probably minimal anyway.

But, by the letter of the law, this could be called. The rules as written don’t allow for any judgement on intent, just on the action. The rule is, simply:

SW 10.6 Pulling on the lane rope is not allowed.

These are the first Olympic Games using video review in swimming, but video review can only be used extensively only to overturn a call. According to FINA’s pre-meet reservation, the video review official can initiate a call, but it must be on first viewing. Then the second referee then must confirm it. So Loktev escaped on an official’s decision, or miss, that the small tug was not in violation.

See the video of the pull below, first in slow motion then in full speed.

Loktev finished 5th in his heat in 1:47.58 and 27th overall to miss the semifinals of the event.

84
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of
84 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Monteswim
1 month ago

Wait is this Loktev or Stjepanovic?

Rush
Reply to  Monteswim
1 month ago

Stjepanovic would never do that… also Stjepanovic wears blue jammer, and the swimmer who pulled on the lane rope wears red.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rush
PhillyMark
1 month ago

I thought it was lane 3 when I watched the race but the 2nd video shows it was lane 4

Lpman
1 month ago

What’s next, do a flip at halfway and hope officials don’t see you?

Khachaturian
Reply to  Lpman
1 month ago

Thats how I went a 1:41.99 in the 200 free in practice

dddddddd
Reply to  Khachaturian
1 month ago

joe schooling moment

The Weez
Reply to  Lpman
1 month ago

We routinely had get out swims. During holiday season these were particularly brutal, as there was no rush to leave. 2 hour could easily be at least 2:30.
Long story shorter. Repeating 500’s on 5:30. All in group had to be under 5:00 on same 500 to end. Fourth or fifth attempt, three out of four under on previous tries, save one kid who kept missing. Next 500, he flipped half way on last lap – effectively now a 475. Got under the time.
Coach saw and asked.
Response:
You told me to figure out a way to get under 5:00. At this point, this was the only way I could do it.
– We went home.

Bruh
Reply to  The Weez
1 month ago

Legend

The boi
Reply to  The Weez
1 month ago

Greatest swim seam comment ever!

Necho
1 month ago

Most likely some great advice from the team advisor David Marsh.

Sam B
Reply to  Necho
1 month ago

most likely a comment from a classy, content individual NOT ! 🙂

jjswims
1 month ago

He certainly didn’t use it to his advantage…and actually lost ground on that turn. Fool.

Steve Wierhake
Reply to  jjswims
1 month ago

The move was either an accident or stupid – I cannot see how grabbing the lane line for a freestyle flip turn could be an advantage. Back in my swimming days (1970’s to 1980), seems like only backstrokers might try to sneak in a lane line pull – and certainly not on the turn. Of course, backstroke turns were different back then. I always thought the rule for backstroke turns changed because some whiney swim parent was mad because her little Johnnie or Sally kept hitting their head on the backstroke turns.

RebETC
1 month ago

That was no accideny

Last edited 1 month ago by RebETC
Dan
Reply to  RebETC
1 month ago

I agree, look way to natural for this swimmer, I would guess he does it a lot.
What do the coaches/representatives have to say? I really hope they are not trying to say he did not do it, that would make them look so bad. I hope they talk to him before he swims on any relay.
Any comment from FINA?

Canadian Swammer
1 month ago

Wtf I didnt even realize you could pull the rope in freestyle. Gonna have to bring that to my masters workouts.

Charge
Reply to  Canadian Swammer
1 month ago

Swimming for 40 years

It’s never occurred to me to try and I’m sure I’d tear my labrum or something at this point

Bruh
Reply to  Charge
1 month ago

My coaches actually had a a drill where we pulled on it doing backstroke to work on our catch but that was 10 and under

Golgotha
1 month ago

What about Michael Andrew’s finish in the 100m breastroke…. Looks like a double pull with a fly kick at the end. Happened fast though. I wonder if there is video of that?

Fle
Reply to  Golgotha
1 month ago

Yes

Olsswim
Reply to  Golgotha
1 month ago

The Canadian coverage of the swim called it and mentioned that it may be a missed disqualification.

Swammerstein
Reply to  Golgotha
1 month ago

whoa whoa whoa, americans dont cheat

Yup
Reply to  Swammerstein
1 month ago

We are totally fine with DQ’ing MA….

Coach Macgyver
Reply to  Golgotha
1 month ago

He did it on the turn as well during semis. Dolphin kicked into the wall and didn’t take a breast kick.

anonymous
Reply to  Coach Macgyver
1 month ago

No you are entirely making this up.

Coach Macgyver
Reply to  anonymous
1 month ago

1:21. Pretty obvious. You can see it on the underwater replay as well.

anonymous
Reply to  Golgotha
1 month ago

No it doesn’t. You are seeing things.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. 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, …

Read More »