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Common DQs

Many athletes and parents want to know why the swimmer was disqualified (DQ'd) for an event. Here are some of the most common stroke violations that are seen by Stroke & Turn Judges during a swim meet.


  • Failure to touch the wall with some part of body at the turn.
  • Finishing in the wrong lane.
  • Walking on, or springing from, the bottom of the pool.
  • Pulling themselves forward on the lane rope.


  • Failure to return to back, or past vertical toward back, before feet leave the wall on the turn.
  • Shoulders rolling past vertical toward breast before touch at the finish.
  • Failure to touch the wall with any part of body at the turn.
  • More than one arm pull following turning of the body onto the breast prior to turning.


  • Sidestroke or scissors kick (any alternating movement of the feet / legs).
  • Multiple dolphin or flutter kicks coming off the start or turn, or going into a turn or finish.
  • Feet not turned outward in propulsive movement of the kick (such as would be seen in a butterfly kick).
  • Arms not in same horizontal plane at the beginning of the first arm pull following start or turn.
  • Body not at or past the vertical towards the breast when the feet leave the wall after a turn.
  • Hand touches not simultaneous or one-hand touch at a turn or finish.


  • Hand touches not simultaneous or one-hand touch at the turns or finish.
  • Arm recovery (entire arm from shoulder to wrist) not over the water after every pull and on the turns or finish (usually characterized by short pull and stabbing touch).
  • Alternating kicking movements (e.g. flutter kick).
  • Scissors or breaststroke kicking movement.
  • Non-simultaneous forward arm stroke over the water.

Individual Medley (IM)

  • Swimmers must comply with the finish rules at the end of each stroke.
  • All other violations are for the individual strokes.
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