The US Olympic trials for the 400m IM came as a shocker for many. While swimming might seem like a fun activity, professional athletes have to abide by some strict set of rules. And the slightest slip would mean direct disqualification. For context, in a breaststroke discipline, the regulations strictly allow just a single butterfly kick while starting or turning. Any other additional strokes are strictly prohibited to ensure fair play and to cut off any unfair advantage to an athlete. 

While such subtle movements might seem hard to judge, the technology of today makes it quite an easy task. And much to the dismay of the fans and a number of swimmers, the technology came into play at the Lucas Oil Stadium recently. As many as 7 swimmers were found guilty of violating the regulations which resulted in disqualification. 

DQ ensues at the 400m IM swimming trials


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A disqualification or two in an event can be considered as an exception. But what transpired at the US Olympic trials 400m IM portrayed a sorry state of affairs. In an X update, it was revealed that six contestants faced disqualification, which pretty much set a sombre tone for the event. The post read, “Men’s 400 IM was a bit of a blood bath. #swimtrials24”

According to the screenshot attached, Humberto Najera, Ryan Merani, Connor Lamastra, Ian Platts-Mills, Isaac Fleig, Devyn Caples and David Johnston were found to be at fault. Contrastingly, while the men’s event ended in controversy, the women’s event was quite a hit. 

And the majority of the spotlight was stolen by 14-year-old Audrey Derivaux. Swimming in the heats, Derivaux clocked a blazing 4:45.23s to proceed to the finals. Meanwhile, coming back to the men’s event, the fans seemed gutted as they came up with varied comments. 

Fans criticize the swimmers’ approach in the 400m IM

As soon as the results were out, the fans did not waste time. They immediately flocked to the comment section of the X post and voiced out their frustrations. 


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One fan expressed amazement and disappointment at the number of disqualifications (DQs) during the U.S. Olympic trials for the 400-meter breaststroke. They commented, “This many DQ at Trials omg”. Because each DQ represents a missed opportunity for athletes to qualify or compete at the highest levels.

One fan suggested that these disqualifications at the U.S. Olympic trials in the 400-meter breaststroke could significantly impact the future of the breaststroke discipline. Such outcomes might potentially influence its rules, participants, or public perception. The X user commented, “This screenshot could mean the death of breaststroke as we know it.”

Despite winning his heat and swimming well, Devyn Caples was disqualified, which disappointed fans. One fan pointed out that Caples’ performance was impressive and deserving of recognition, but was nullified due to the disqualification ruling. “That Caples DQ was rough.  Dude won his heat and had a great swim”, added a disheartened fan.


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Referring to illegal movements during breaststroke, such as multiple dolphin kicks or improper technique, one X user added, “Mostly breaststroke dolphin kicks of various kinds. One was non-simultaneous something or other on fly.” The fan also referred to butterfly stroke violations, possibly arms not moving simultaneously, or other technical faults. 

These disqualifications have left fans heartbroken, as they reflect strict adherence to rules in competitive swimming. Fans also fear the decline in the sport’s traditional form and competitive integrity. What are your thoughts on the same? Share with us in the comment section below.