The rule allows participants to walk when the water is shallow enough to do so. However, it does not allow a participant to pull through the water by using a lane line, rope, or other inanimate object.
Swimmers may stop and rest by holding on to a rope or other object without penalty, as long as they do not make forward progress by pulling or being pulled.
Here's the rule:
4.2. Bottom Contact and Resting.
A participant may stand on the bottom or rest by holding an inanimate object such as a buoy, boat, rope or floating object. Excluding the bottom, a participant shall not use any inanimate object to gain forward progress. A violation of this section shall result in a variable time penalty, unless the head referee in his/her sole discretion determines that
(i) the violation was substantial and resulted in an unfair time advantage, or
(ii) the violation constituted endangerment under section 3.4(1).
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