Health & Fitness

The start in swimming competitions

The speed tests, both on land and in the water environment, have the peculiarity that the start of the competitors occurs simultaneously. In swimming, there are specific rules that regulate this very important moment of the competition with lifeguard certification.

Especially at the most advanced levels, and of course at the professional level, the start occupies a key place in the performance of a swimmer. Those minimal time differences can cause a competitor to gain places in the final ranking, but also to lose them.

Therefore, it is convenient to know everything about this situation. Next, we will focus on the regulatory aspects mentioned in the RFEN Regulations and we will also list some keys to have a good start.

Different types of outputs

There are two different types of starts in swimming competitions, depending on the style of the test. Thus, for the crawl, breaststroke and butterfly styles the jump start from a bucket is used. This surface is located on one of the shortest edges of the pool and measures 53 centimeters high by 78 centimeters long and 64 centimeters wide overall with lifeguard certification.

In the competitions organized by the Royal Spanish Swimming Federation, as is the case in most of the countries associated with FINA, the start is regulated with loudspeakers. These devices, compulsory in most swimming venues, allow participants to hear the indications of the starters.

The referees during the start

By means of a long whistle, the referee is the one who gives the order to the competitors to stand on the jump cube, after other shorter signals that indicate the moment to remove the garments over the swimsuits.

Then, with the ‘ready’ signal, the swimmers stand with one foot forward on the starting platform, in a posture that allows them to perform the jump as the next action.

Penalties for bad starts

However, if a swimmer jumps earlier but the signal is given anyway – because there may be less than a second difference between one event and the other – the race continues. For this reason, on many occasions. Disqualification occurs at the end of the competition, regardless of the position that the participant has achieved.

Lastly, a swimmer may also be disqualified for deliberately delaying or for any other disobedience. To the rules during the time prior to the start of the race. All sanctions may be indicated by the starter, but are subject to the approval or rectification of the referee.

Keys to a good start in a swimming event

As mentioned before and also reaffirmed in specific FINA manuals for teaching swimming. The start is essential for the swimmer to approach the opposite end of the pool more quickly and swim less.

Regarding the technical aspect. It is best to have a professional instructor who makes the necessary corrections in each particular case. Some examples of technical tips are leaning the body forward. Bending the knees slightly, keeping the head looking down. And using the toes for grip before the start.

However, the physical part also has a great influence. In this sense, the strength and power of the legs are essential. But so is the general body stability to maintain the correct position during the jump.

Finally, don’t neglect the mental plane either. Work on these points in an integrated way and with the help of professionals. To achieve a better exit when swimming.

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Competitions that combine swimming with other

If we talk about Olympic competitions, on the other hand, the question is more divided. For example, in men, only Alistar Brownlee was able to repeat the gold medal since the beginning of this test in Sydney 2000. These are the top winners:

  1. Alistar Brownlee (Great Britain): two golds (2012 and 2016).
  2. Simon Whitfield (Canada): a gold medal (2000) and a silver medal (2008).
  3. Bevan Docherty (New Zealand): one silver (2004) and one bronze (2008).
  4. Jonathan Brownlee (Great Britain): one silver medal (2012) and one silver (2016).
  5. The Spanish Javier Gómez Noya was second in London 2012.

On the women’s side, only the Swiss Nicola Spirig has achieved more than one medal: she won the gold in 2012 and the silver in 2016.

The other Olympic winners are:

  1. Brigitte McMahon (Switzerland).
  2. Katherine Allen (Austria).
  3. Emma Snowsill (Australia).
  4. Gwen Jorgensen (United States).

In short, the combination of swimming with other sports allows the creation of very competitive events with a great demand for athletes. If you are interested in participating in any of them, put yourself in the hands of a trained coach and go with patience and perseverance. In time you will be able to get ready to try it!

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