Medley is a combination of four different swimming styles — butterfly stroke, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle — into one race. This race is either swum by one swimmer as individual medley (IM) or by four swimmers as a medley relay.
1 Individual medley
1.1 Stroke order 1.2 Competitions 1.3 Technique
2 Medley relay
2.1 Stroke order 2.2 Competitions 2.3 Technique
3 History 4 Rules 5 World records 6 Olympic or long course world champions in individual medley
6.1 Men 6.2 Women
7 See also 8 References 9 External links
Individual medley Individual medley consists of a single swimmer swimming equal distances of four different strokes within one race. Stroke order Individual medley consists of four strokes. The swimmer will swim one quarter of the race in each style, in a certain order. The strokes are swum in this order:
Butterfly Backstroke Breaststroke Freestyle (this can be any stroke except the butterfly, backstroke, or breaststroke; most swimmers use the front crawl)
Competitions A number of competitions in the individual medley are regularly contested, by both men and women. The competitions are limited in that every distance must consist of either four lengths of the pool (100 yard or meter) or a multiple of four lengths (200 or 400 yard or meter), so that no stroke must change mid-length. Regardless of the length of the individual medley, each stroke comprises a quarter of the overall distance.
100 m/yd individual medley: Swum in short course (25 m/yd pool) competition only. This is not an Olympic event. 200 m/yd individual medley: Swum in both short course and long course (50 m pool) competitions. This was swum as an Olympic event in the 1968 Summer Olympics, Mexico City, Mexico but then omitted until the 1984 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles, United States. The event has been swum ever since. 400 m/yd individual medley: Swum in both short course and long course competitions. This has been an Olympic event since the 1964 Summer Olympics, Tokyo, Japan.
The technique for individual medley events does not differ much from
the technique for the separate events for the four strokes. The main
difference is the turning technique needed at the transition from one
stroke to the next stroke. Each section has to be completed as
described by the stroke rules of this section.
The butterfly stroke section has to be ended with both hands touching
the wall at the same time, but has to leave the wall on the back for
backstroke. Swimmers may do this by pulling the knees underneath of
their body after touching the wall with both hands, and then rolling
backwards on their back, or swinging one arm back and rolling over
onto the side of the arm swung back. During the roll in the first
method the arms are not stretched, but rather hold close to the body
with the hands a few centimeters in front of the chest. This reduces
the rotational moment and allows for a faster turn. At the end of the
backwards roll the swimmer sinks under water and extends over the
head. The swimmer then pushes off the wall with both legs and starts
the regular underwater phase of backstroke, usually a dolphin kick for
up to 15 m before surfacing and swimming normal backstroke.
The backstroke section has to end with touching the wall while lying
on the back. For the subsequent breaststroke the swimmer has to leave
the wall on the breast. Most swimmers prefer to do an open turn,
simply driving the feet into the wall. The swimmer is then under water
face down and extends the hands forward before pushing off the wall
with both legs. The swimmer continues with the regular breaststroke,
consisting of a gliding phase, an underwater pull-down, and another
gliding phase before surfacing and swimming normal breaststroke. A
newer, but not required technique for the backstroke to breaststroke
turn is a backflip turn. The swimmer touches on his or her backside
with one hand. After touching the wall, the swimmer tucks their knees
up to their stomach and flips around so that their feet are touching
the wall pointing down and they can push off of the wall on their
stomach. Another, arguably faster variation of the new backstroke to
breaststroke turn is very similar to the regular forward flipturn. The
swimmer goes into the wall with their leading arm outstretched behind
their head. The swimmer then touches the wall and immediately goes
into a frontflip and proceeds with the breaststroke portion of the
race. With this turn, it is crucial that the swimmer remains
technically on their back until they touch the wall, which means that
the front of the body should be rotated chest-side up more than it is
chest-side down, otherwise the swimmer will be disqualified.
The breaststroke section has to be ended with both hands touching the
wall at the same time while on the breast. A normal breaststroke turn
is usually used to turn and push off the wall. After leaving the wall
the freestyle underwater phase is initiated, followed by regular
freestyle on the surface after up to 15 m underwater. For medley
events, freestyle means any style other than backstroke, breaststroke
or butterfly. Some form of front crawl is typically used.
Medley relay consists of four different swimmers in one relay race,
each swimming one of the four strokes.
Medley relay is swum by four different swimmers, each swimming one of
the four strokes.
Backstroke Breaststroke Butterfly Freestyle the only limitation being that none of backstroke, breaststroke, or butterfly stroke may be used for this leg. Most swimmers use the front crawl.
4×50 m/yd medley relay: Swum in both short course and long course pools. This is not an Olympic competition. 4×100 m/yd medley relay: Swum in both short course and long course pools. This was the first Olympic medley competition and is swum since the 1960 Summer Olympics, Rome, Italy. The first Olympic butterfly event itself was first swum in the previous 1956 Summer Olympics.
Mixed-gendered medley relays were introduced at the 2014
In individual medley events, the swimmer covers the four swimming styles in the following order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. In medley relay events, swimmers will cover the four swimming styles in the following order: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle. Each section must be finished in accordance with the rule which applies to the style concerned.
Freestyle includes a special regulation for medley events:
Freestyle means that in an event so designated the swimmer may swim any style, except that in individual medley or medley relay events, freestyle means any style other than backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly.
Additionally, the normal rules of relay events apply:
In relay events, the team of a swimmer whose feet lose touch with the starting platform before the preceding team-mate touches the wall shall be disqualified, unless the swimmer in default returns to the original starting point at the wall, but it shall not be necessary to return to the starting platform. Any relay team shall be disqualified from a race if a team member, other than the swimmer designated to swim that length, enters the water when the race is being conducted, before all swimmers of all teams have finished the race. The members of a relay team and their order of competing must be nominated before the race. Any relay team member may compete in a race only once. The composition of a relay team may be changed between the heats and finals of an event, provided that it is made up from the list of swimmers properly entered by a member for that event. Failure to swim in the order listed will result in disqualification. Substitutions may be made only in the case of a documented medical emergency. Any swimmer having finished his race, or their distance in a relay event, must leave the pool as soon as possible without obstructing any other swimmer who has not yet finished their race. Otherwise the swimmer committing the fault, or their relay team, shall be disqualified. There shall be four swimmers on each relay team.
World records Men
200 m individual medley
400 m individual medley
4x100 m medley relay United States 3:27.28 Rome, Italy August 2, 2009
200 m individual medley
400 m individual medley
4x100 m medley relay United States 3:51.55 Budapest, Hungary July 30, 2017
A listing of how the World Records have progressed over time can be found here: 100 IM, 200 IM, 400 IM and Medley Relay.
Olympic or long course world champions in individual medley Men
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Olympic champions in men's 200 m individual medley
1968: Charlie Hickcox (USA) 1972: Gunnar Larsson (SWE) 1984: Alex Baumann (CAN) 1988: Tamás Darnyi (HUN) 1992: Tamás Darnyi (HUN) 1996: Attila Czene (HUN) 2000: Massimiliano Rosolino (ITA) 2004: Michael Phelps (USA) 2008: Michael Phelps (USA) 2012: Michael Phelps (USA) 2016: Michael Phelps (USA)
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Olympic champions in men's 400 m individual medley
1964: Dick Roth (USA) 1968: Charlie Hickcox (USA) 1972: Gunnar Larsson (SWE) 1976: Rod Strachan (USA) 1980: Aleksandr Sidorenko (URS) 1984: Alex Baumann (CAN) 1988: Tamás Darnyi (HUN) 1992: Tamás Darnyi (HUN) 1996: Tom Dolan (USA) 2000: Tom Dolan (USA) 2004: Michael Phelps (USA) 2008: Michael Phelps (USA) 2012: Ryan Lochte (USA) 2016: Kosuke Hagino (JPN)
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World long-course champions in men's 200 m individual medley
1973: Gunnar Larsson (SWE)
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World long-course champions in men's 400 m individual medley
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Olympic champions in women's 200 m individual medley
1968: Claudia Kolb (USA) 1972: Shane Gould (AUS) 1984: Tracy Caulkins (USA) 1988: Daniela Hunger (GDR) 1992: Lin Li (CHN) 1996: Michelle Smith (IRL) 2000: Yana Klochkova (UKR) 2004: Yana Klochkova (UKR) 2008: Stephanie Rice (AUS) 2012: Ye Shiwen (CHN) 2016: Katinka Hosszú (HUN)
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Olympic champions in women's 400 m individual medley
1964: Donna de Varona (USA) 1968: Claudia Kolb (USA) 1972: Gail Neall (AUS) 1976: Ulrike Tauber (GDR) 1980: Petra Schneider (GDR) 1984: Tracy Caulkins (USA) 1988: Janet Evans (USA) 1992: Krisztina Egerszegi (HUN) 1996: Michelle Smith (IRL) 2000: Yana Klochkova (UKR) 2004: Yana Klochkova (UKR) 2008: Stephanie Rice (AUS) 2012: Ye Shiwen (CHN) 2016: Katinka Hosszú (HUN)
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World long-course champions in women's 200 m individual medley
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World long-course champions in women's 400 m individual medley
List of world records in swimming 200 metres individual medley
^ Gifford, Clive (2009-09-01). Swimming. Marshall Cavendish. p. 25. ISBN 9780761444626. Retrieved 7 August 2012. ^ 2013 USA Swimming Rule Book, 101.5.2 Stroke ^ 2013 USA Swimming Rule Book, 101.5.2 ^ Maglischo, Ernest W. (2003). Swimming Fastest. Human Kinetics. pp. 279–. ISBN 978-0-7360-3180-6. ^ "Yale's Swimming Squad Takes 98th Meet in Row". New York Times. 24 February 1953. Retrieved 7 August 2012. ^ "A. A. U. opens drive for 1956 Olympics". New York Times. 28 November 1953. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
Swim.ee: Detailed discussion of swimming techniques and speeds
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Styles of swimming
Backstroke Breaststroke Butterfly Freestyle Medley
Front crawl Trudgen
Celtic Dog paddle Free Colchian Georgian
Sidestroke (Combat) Streamline Treading water List of swimming styles