At the World Championships in Kazan, Ryan Lochte used a new freestyle turning technique, pushing away from the turn while still on his back, and then utilising his powerful dolphin kicks until turning to a prone position just before surfacing at the 15m mark.
While this is no problem in normal freestyle swimming, the regulation in medley does not allow dolphin kicks while in a supine position, which FINA now clarifies.
The rules state that the last leg of medley is to be swum freestyle, and that freestyle here is any other style than backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly. Backstroke is defined as when the swimmer is lying on his or her back, which means that dolphin kicks in a supine position is also backstroke. And backstroke is as mentioned one of the styles that are not allowed in the freestyle leg of medley.
The FINA officials have been clarifying this at the ongoing World Junior Swimming Championships in Singapore, that the “Lochte technique” is punishable by disqualificiation. An official interpretation willÂ be published shortly, according to swimsportnews.de
(and please excuse me if there are errors in my translation here)