DQ, or Disqualification is every swimmer’s dread. Half of the process of not DQ’ing is understanding what you can be DQ’d for. I present the following guideline from USA Swimming for a most illuminating yet easy to understand guide on some of the basic disqualifiable (not sure that’s a word) actions in each stroke:
“The technical rules of swimming are designed to provide fair and equitable conditions of competition and to promote uniformity in the sport. Each swimming stroke has specific rules designed to ensure that no swimmer gets an unfair competitive advantage over another swimmer.
Trained officials observe the swimmers during each event to ensure compliance with these technical rules. If a swimmer commits an infraction of the rules that is observed by an official, a disqualification (DQ) will result. This means that the swimmer will not receive an official time and will not be eligible for an award in that event. A disqualification may result from actions such as not getting to the starting blocks on time, false starting, performing strokes in an illegal manner, or unsportsmanlike conduct.
DQs are also a result of technical rules violations. They include but are not limited to:
•Freestyle: Walking on the bottom, pulling on the lane rope, not touching the wall on a turn, or not completing the distance.
•Backstroke: Pulling or kicking into the wall once a swimmer has turned passed the vertical onto the breast. Turning onto the breast before touching the wall with the hand at the finish of the race.
•Breaststroke: An illegal kick such as flutter (freestyle), dolphin (butterfly), or scissors (side stroke); not on the breast; alternating movements of the arms; taking two arm strokes or two leg kicks while the head is under water; touching with only one hand at the turns or finish.
•Butterfly: Alternating movements of the arms or legs; pushing the arms forward under instead of over the water surface (underwater recovery); a breaststroke style of kick; touching with only one hand at the turns or finish.
For specific language on any technical rules consult the USA Swimming Rules and Regulations book. Violations of the rules are reported to the Referee. The rules require that every reasonable effort be made to notify the swimmer or his coach of the reason for the disqualification. If your child is disqualified in an event, be supportive rather than critical. For beginning swimmers, a disqualification should be treated as a learning experience, not as a punishment. A disqualification alerts the swimmer and coach to what portions of the swimmer’s stroke need to be corrected. They should be considered in the same light as an incorrect answer in schoolwork-they point out areas that need further practice. Disqualifications are necessary to keep the competition fair and equitable for all competitors. A supportive attitude on the part of the official, coach, and parent can make a positive situation out of the disqualification.”
Again, this is not an exhaustive list of offenses that merit a DQ. Another example, and one we see at meets on a regular basis, is executing a backstroke flip turn on the Individual Medley (the wall must be touched on the back in the Medley, no movement past vertical is permitted). There are also probably 20 possible violations in the Breast Stroke dive pullout itself, executing more than one permitted butterfly kick, sequencing of arms, etc.
If you find or your child finds that they are being DQ’d repeatedly for the same violation, and you can’t figure out what it is, march down on the deck and tell that referee to stop being so mean to your kid…just kidding. Consult your coach, they get a report on all the causes of the DQ’s and you can ask if they could work on that so it doesn’t happen again.
But THE MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember is what DQ really stands for….and that is DON’T QUIT. The problem with the DQ signal (raised hand at the time of offense) is that it is terribly vague. I mean, if they really wanted to be clear, they would point straight at you with a devilish smile on their face and whilst doing the bull dance.
But since they just raise their hand, you have no idea if it really was you that got the DQ or not. I have been in more than one meet when I thought for sure the raised hand was for my daughter and actually it was for the swimmer next to her. They cant keep their eyes on everyone at once, so make sure when you see that hand go up, JUST KEEP SWIMMING.
MAY THE TIMECLOCK BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOR.
P.S. A special thanks to the Fly Like a Girl blog for inspiration for this post!