Swimming Rules 2009-2013

The starting stations for all events in Olympic Games, World Championships, Regional Games and other FINA competitions shall be by seeding as follows:

SW 3.1 Heats

SW 3.1.1 The best competitive times of all entrants for the preceding twelve (12) months prior to the entry deadline of the competition, shall be submitted on entry forms and listed in order of time by the Management Committee. Swimmers who do not submit official recorded times shall be considered the slowest and shall be placed at the end of the list with a no time. Placement of swimmers with identical times or of more than one swimmer without times shall be determined by draw. Swimmers shall be placed in lanes according to the procedures set forth in SW 3.1.2. below. Swimmers shall be placed in trial heats according to submitted times in the following manner.

SW If one heat, it shall be seeded as a final and swum only during the final session.

SW If two heats, the fastest swimmer shall be seeded in the second heat, next fastest in the first heat, next fastest in the second heat, next in the first heat, etc.

SW If three heats, the fastest swimmer shall be placed in the third heat, next fastest in the second, next fastest in the first. The fourth fastest swimmer shall be placed in the third heat, the fifth in the second heat, and the sixth fastest in the first heat, the seventh fastest in the third heat, etc.

SW If four or more heats, the last three heats of the event shall be seeded in accordance with SW above. The heat preceding the last three heats shall consist of the next fastest swimmers; the heat preceding the last four heats shall consist of the next fastest swimmers, etc. Lanes shall be assigned in descending order of submitted times within each heat, in accordance with the pattern outlined in SW 3.1.2 below.

SW Exception: When there are two or more heats in an event, there shall be a minimum of three swimmers seeded into any one preliminary heat, but subsequent scratches may reduce the number of swimmers in such heat to less than three.

SW Where a 10 lane pool is available and equal times are established for the 8th place in the heats of 800m and 1500m Freestyle events, lane 9 will be used with a draw for lane 8 and lane 9. In case of three (3) equal times for 8th place, lane 9 and 0 will be used with a draw for lane 8, 9 and 0.

SW Where a 10 lane pool is not available SW 3.2.3 will apply.

SW 3.1.2 Except for 50 metre events in 50 metre pools, assignment of lanes shall be (number 1 lane being on the right side of the pool (0 when using pools with 10 lanes) when facing the course from the starting end) by placing the fastest swimmer or team in the centre lane in pool with an odd number of lanes, or in lane 3 or 4 respectively in pools having 6 or 8 lanes. In pools using 10 lanes, the fastest swimmer shall be placed in lane 4. The swimmer having the next fastest time is to be placed on his left, then alternating the others to right and left in accordance with the submitted times. Swimmers with identical times shall be assigned their lane positions by draw within the aforesaid pattern.

SW 3.1.3 When 50 metre events are contested in 50 metre pools, the races may be swum, at the discretion of the Management Committee, either from the regular starting end to the turning end or from the turning end to the starting end, depending upon such factors as existence of adequate Automatic Equipment, starter's position, etc. The Management Committee should advise swimmers of their determination well before the start of the competition. Regardless of which way the race is swum, the swimmers shall be seeded in the same lanes in which they would be seeded if they were both starting and finishing at the starting end.

SW 3.2 Semi-Finals and Finals

SW 3.2.1 In the semi-finals heats shall be assigned as in SW

SW 3.2.2 Where no preliminary heats are necessary, lanes shall be assigned in accordance with SW 3.1.2 above. Where preliminary heats or semi-finals have been held, lanes shall be assigned as in SW 3.1.2 based, however, on times established in such heats.

SW 3.2.3 In the event that swimmers from the same or different heats have equal times registered to 1/100 second for either the eighth/tenth place or sixteenth/twentieth place depending on the use of 8 or 10 lanes, there shall be a swim-off to determine which swimmer shall advance to the appropriate finals. Such swim-off shall take place not less than one hour after all involved swimmers have completed their heats. Another swim-off shall take place if equal times are registered again. If required, a swim off will take place to determine 1st and 2nd reserve if equal times are recorded.

SW 3.2.4 Where one or more swimmers scratch from a semi-final or final reserves will be called in order of classifications in heats or semi-finals. The event or events must be re-seeded and supplementary sheets must be issued detailing the changes or substitutions, as prescribed in SW 3.1.2.

SW 3.2.5 For heats, semi-finals and finals, swimmers must report to the First Call Room no later than 20 minutes prior to the start of their event. After inspection, swimmers proceed to the final call-room.

SW 3.3 In other competitions, the draw system may be used for assigning lane positions.