Medley swimming

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Medley is a combination of four different swimming styles into one race. This race is either swum by one swimmer as Individual Medley (IM) or by four swimmers as a Medley Relay.

Contents

Individual Medley

Individual medley consists of a single swimmer swimming equal distances of four different strokes within one race.

Stroke Order

Individual Medley consists of four strokes. Usually each stroke has an equal part of the overall distance, i.e. 1/4th of the overall distance is swum in one stroke. The strokes are swum in this order:

Competitions

There are a number of competitions swum regularly in individual medley, by both men and women. The competitions are limited in that every distance must consist of at least 4 lengths (100 yds. or m.) or a multiple of 4 lengths (200, 400, or 800 yds. or m.), so that no stroke must change mid-length. Regardless of the length of the individual medley, each stroke comprises1/4th of the overall distance.

  • 100m individual Medley: Swum on the short 25m lane only. This is not an Olympic competition.
  • 200m individual Medley: Swum on both the short 25m lane and the long 50m lane. This was an Olympic competition once in the 1968 Summer Olympics, Mexico City, Mexico. After that, the event was not swum on Olympic games until the 1984 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles, United States. The event has been swum ever since.
  • 400m individual Medley: Swum on both the short 25m lane and the long 50m lane. This has been an Olympic competition since the 1964 Summer Olympics, Tokyo, Japan

Technique

The technique for individual medley events does not differ much from the technique for the separate events for the four strokes. The only main difference is the technique needed at the change from one stroke to the next stroke. Each section has to be completed as described by the rules of this section.

The butterfly section has to be ended with both hands touching the wall at the same time, but has to leave the wall on the back for backstroke. Most swimmers do this by pulling the knees underneath of their body after touching the wall with both hands, and then rolling backwards on their back. During the roll the arms are not stretched, but rather hold close to the body with the hands a few centimeters in front of the chest. This reduces the rotational moment and allows for a faster turn. At the end of the backwards roll the swimmer sinks under water and extends the arms forward. The swimmer then pushes off the wall with both legs and starts the regular underwater phase of backstroke, usually a butterfly kick for 15m before surfacing and resuming normal backstroke.

The backstroke section has to be ended with touching the wall while lying on the back. For the subsequent breaststroke the swimmer has to leave the wall on the breast. Most swimmers prefer to do a backwards roll by pulling the knees close to the body and pushing with the hand upwards against the wall to achieve rotational movement. After a 180 degree turn, the swimmer is under water on his breast and extends the hands forward before pushing off the wall with both legs. The swimmer continues with the regular breaststroke, consisting of a sliding phase, a underwater pull-down, and another sliding phase before surfacing and resuming the normal breaststroke.

The breaststroke section has to be ended with both hands touching the wall at the same time while on the breast. A normal breaststroke turn is usually used to turn and push off the wall. After leaving the wall the freestyle underwater phase is initiated, followed by regular freestyle on the surface after 15m or less. It is important to note that for medley events freestyle means any style other than backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly.

Medley Relay

Medley relay consists of four different swimmers in one relay competition, each swimming one stroke.

Stroke Order

Medley relay is swum by four different swimmers, each swimmer swimming one of the four strokes. Backstroke is the first event as backstroke is started from the water. If backstroke would not be the first event, the starting backstroke swimmer and the finishing previous swimmer could block each other. The remaining strokes are sorted according to the speed, with breaststroke being the slowest and freestyle being the fastest stroke. The order of the strokes is as follows:

Competitions

There are a number of competitions swum regularly in medley relay, both by men and women.

  • 4*50 Medley Relay: Swum on the short 25m lane only. This is not an Olympic competition
  • 4*100 Medley Relay: Swum on both the short 25m lane and the long 50m lane. This was the first Olympic medley competition and is swum since the 1960 Summer Olympics, Rome, Italy. Note, that the first Olympic butterfly event itself was first swum in the previous 1956 Summer Olympics.

Technique

The technique for medley relay events does not differ much from the technique for the separate events for the four strokes. The first swimmer swims the 50 or 100m backstroke normally. The only difference for the following swimmers is that there is no start signal, but rather the previous swimmer completing its turn by touching the wall signals the start for the subsequent swimmer. It is also important to note that for medley events freestyle means any style other than backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly.

Rules

These are the official rules of the FINA regarding Medley swimming:

  • In individual medley events, the swimmer covers the four swimming styles in the following order: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle.
  • In medley relay events, swimmers will cover the four swimming styles in the following order: Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly and Freestyle.
  • Each section must be finished in accordance with the rule which applies to the style concerned.

Note, that Freestyle includes a special regulation for medley events:

  • Freestyle means that in an event so designated the swimmer may swim any style, except that in individual medley or medley relay events, freestyle means any style other than backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly.

Additionally, the normal rules of relay events apply:

  • In relay events, the team of a swimmer whose feet lose touch with the starting platform before the preceding team-mate touches the wall shall be disqualified, unless the swimmer in default returns to the original starting point at the wall, but it shall not be necessary to return to the starting platform.
  • Any relay team shall be disqualified from a race if a team member, other than the swimmer designated to swim that length, enters the water when the race is being conducted, before all swimmers of all teams have finished the race.
  • The members of a relay team and their order of competing must be nominated before the race. Any relay team member may compete in a race only once. The composition of a relay team may be changed between the heats and finals of an event, provided that it is made up from the list of swimmers properly entered by a Member for that event. Failure to swim in the order listed will result in disqualification. Substitutions may be made only in the case of a documented medical emergency.
  • Any swimmer having finished his race, or his distance in a relay event, must leave the pool as soon as possible without obstructing any other swimmer who has not yet finished his race. Otherwise the swimmer committing the fault, or his relay team, shall be disqualified.
  • There shall be four swimmers on each relay team.

External link

nl:Wisselslag ja:メドレーリレー

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