New Breaststroke Rule Adopted by FINA

Be a Safer Swimmer - 360swim SaferSwimmer

Oct 18, 2005

New Breaststroke Rule Adopted by FINA

Some of you already might have heard that FINA has updated their breaststroke rule to accomodate an underwater dolphin kick during the pullout phase after the initial start or a turn. The rule marked as SW 7.4 clearly states "A single downward dolphin kick followed by a breaststroke kick is permitted while wholly submerged. Following which, all movements of the legs shall be simultaneous and in the same horizontal plane without alternating movement."

Not sure what to make of this, but I believe it was received with a positive feedback on many fronts. There is one country, however, that does not like this rule. As Swim News indicated in their recently published article, the Chinese swimming committee decided not to follow this rule during the China's 10th National Games.

I personally think this rule will reduce the number of disqualifications and will allow for faster swimming of skilled butterfly kickers. It potentially might even help those IMers that struggle on breaststroke. Finally, I predict we will see some breaststroke world records going down with adoption of this rule. If you have any thoughts, do not hesitate to leave a comment.


FINA has updated their dolphin kick rule since this article was published. It now states:

Rule 101.2.3 states: After the start and each turn, a single butterfly kick, which must be followed by a breaststroke kick, is permitted during or at the completion of the first arm pull.

For the purposes of Article 101.2.3, as it relates to what constitutes the initiation of the first arm pull and the allowed single downward butterfly kick, the following applies: After the start and after each turn, any lateral or downward movement of the hands or arms is considered to be the initiation of the first arm pull.

So in other words, there are now two places one can execute the dolphin kick:

1) during the initial underwater arm pull (this is the older way and could cause the swimmer to loose a nice streamlined position as the swimmer is moving up through the water column)
2) at the beginning of the pull with hands a bit separated from streamline (this is thought to be the more efficient way as the swimmer is in a more streamlined position to utilize the pull)

You can read a bit more about it here

Be seen, keep your stuff dry and take a break when needed.


Unknown said...

Personally, I cheered when my coach told me I was allowed the dolphin kick. I'm an IMer and I really lose my lead when breast comes around.

Because I was competing in USA and public highschool meets at the same time, I was confused as to when I am allowed to use the dolphin kick. Has it been approved for HS swimming?

MishMash said...

A dolphin kick = a fly kick?

Cuz I always thought we could do fly kicks after kicking off the wall.. I know I've always done it.. and I was an IMer..

Cam Cam said...

No, it hasn't been adapted to the High School leagues, neither has the rule that you can have your toes out of the water on your backstroke start.

Anonymous said...

I think that FINA made a good decision in adopting this rule. It will definitely reduce the number of disqualifications in breaststroke, and it's great to see that they're allowing swimming to "evolve". It's the same thing as when they changed the rules to allow front flipturns in backstroke, long ago.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that a doliphin kick would slow you down...I'm a breast person myself, and I prefer that breast stroke have as little to do with the fly as possible. Thats just me.

Swimator said...

Actually, dzolphin (fly) kick is to be considered amongst swimmers as the 5th stroke. If done properly (after lots and lots of practice) it is the fastest way to go through the water right after the push off. However, I agree that this kick is one of the hardest once to learn. If you are a beginner, free/back kick is the best to start out with.

Anonymous said...

It appears you might slow down because of that..How much the breast stroke have an impact on it ..tell me...

Swimator said...


I don't have much research data in regards to the dolphin kick being faster or slower, however, from experience I can tell you that if you perform one fly kick, it will propel you forward a bit as oppose to not doing the kick. I'd guess you can get extra 0.5-1 meter of each turn if done properly. If you combine it with a shoulder shrug as described in this post, you'll be amazed how much further you will go underwater. Now, going further underwater equals to not spending extra energy swimming, so theoretically you should be faster. (given the assumption holding your breath is not a problem for you) :)

Anonymous said...

If you are a USA swimmer, this change brings the rules in line with FINA rules. The governing bodies seem to want swimmers to be good at swimming the stroke, not streamlining across the pool. Check the rules section at If you are in another organization, check on their web site for other information.

Anonymous said...

With this update to the stroke swimmers will be allowed to do all the fly kick they want before the usual breastroke underwater kick + arm pull (until 15m) which will certainly drop the world record 5 to 6 seconds. Breastroke will be very similar to fly underwater unfortunately..