Ryan Lochte's new underwater turns were a little too radical for swimming's governing body. The 11-time Olympic medalist will no longer be able to swim underwater on his back during freestyle legs of individual medley events. FINA sent a new rules "interpretation" notice to all member federations yesterday. Instead of rotating onto his stomach immediately after pushing off the wall at last month's swimming world championships in Kazan, Russia, Lochte remained on his back for 10 meters, since he kicks better that way. "Being on the back when leaving the wall for the Freestyle portion of the Ind. Medley is covering more than one quarter of the distance in the style of Backstroke and is, therefore, a disqualification," the interpretation stated.
The interpretation was based on an existing rule which said that "in individual medley or medley relay events, freestyle means any style other than backstroke, breaststroke, or butterfly." Lochte used the technique to win the 200 individual medley at the worlds for a fourth consecutive time. "Too funny," Lochte tweeted last month after first hearing speculation that the turns would be banned. The 31-year-old Lochte finished fourth in his only other individual event in Kazan, the 200 free. The American can continue to use the turns in freestyle events.