Okay, some of the best swimmers in the world are making money. Hey, I’m all for it. In fact, Sandy and I worked hard toward that end way back when. But for most of us, swimming is something we do for other reasons. And, it’s just a game.
I always hated it when I heard coaches or parents telling swimmers who should have been DQed, but weren’t; “You got away with it.” What is being taught here? And, why? Where’s the satisfaction in a victory or a time that wasn’t played within the rules?
I like American Swimming Association Rules. (Obviously.) In ASA we have what we call “Integrity Rules,” one of which is a Self-Disqualification rule.
Yes, we have a referee who enforces the rules. But rule infractions get missed. In ASA events, if you are aware that you broke a rule, you are mandated to let the referee know that you need to be disqualified. The referee will see to it that you get disqualified.
Hey, you still got to play. You just messed up and couldn’t be counted among those who placed.
Of course, in a USA Swimming meet you may not be able to get yourself DQed. When we were first drafting ASA Rules, I tested the butterfly no-touch flip turn in a USA Swimming meet. I wanted to see how a fly flip turn would feel in a long course 100 fly in competition.
I flipped my turn and headed for home. Oh man, I liked it. I felt so much better on the second lap than I usually had with an open turn. The race felt so much more fluid. I had a good swim.
When I finished, I looked at the scoreboard expecting to see a DQ instead of a time for my lane. But, no. There was my time, posted with the rest of them.
So, I went over to the referee and told him that I didn’t touch the wall with my hands on the turn and that I needed to be disqualified. He told me that there was no DQ. Neither the turn judge, the stroke judge, nor he had called it. “Well,” I told him, “I flipped my turn and didn’t touch the wall at all with my hands. I need to be disqualified.” He shrugged and told me that it wasn’t called and it wasn’t confirmed, so I couldn’t be disqualified. “But I didn’t swim the race according to the rules,” I iterated. It didn’t matter. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get myself disqualified.
There’s something wrong with that. It makes me want to go play a round of golf.