Omega Timing launched its newest timing system at the men’s 5 km race at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Lake Balaton, Hungary that resulted in knowing the following split and finish times in today’s men’s 5 km championship race:
The Swiss watchmaker provides the timing systems and near real-time results for pool swimming, water polo, diving, open water swimming, high diving and synchronised swimming.
On the open water course, there are two timing buoys which they are placed along the open water course. Each buoy contains an antenna that pick up signals from wrist transponders that each swimmer wears. As the swimmers pass the buoys, their split times are transmitted to Omega’s system that then displays the times for spectators on the electronic scoreboards.
Alain Zobrist, Chief Executive Officer of OMEGA Timing, explained, “The new technology that OMEGA is introducing for the open water swimming events in Budapest will make the sport a lot easier to follow. Until now, it has been quite a challenge for spectators to know exactly what is going on. But we have an exciting system in place now that will make a lot of the positioning and athlete motions much clearer during the actual race.”
The new technology works in tandem with OMEGA’s traditional Open Water Gate [see above]. When the swimmers touch the finish pad at the end of a race, their transponder registers the impact of their hands on the vertical plate and their time is registered.
“The reason why the finish pad is elevated above the surface of the water is because the GPS signals cannot be registered under or through water,” explained Steven Munatones. “Additionally, the officials can visually determine what athlete touches first. If the touch pads were under the surface of the water, the wrist transponders could not register anything and the officials could not accurately judge who finished first. This is another reason why the Open Water Gate has high-speed cameras in order to capture the finish positions of each athletes.
Sometimes, the swimmers finish so closely together that the officials have to review the video frame-by-frame. This is one reason why the official results in the open water sometimes are not immediate like in pool swimming competitions although Omega Timing makes the equipment for both the pool and open water.”
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