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2 August 2015

OMEGA delivers advanced timekeeping technology at the 16th FINA World Championships – Kazan

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As the world’s greatest aquatic athletes gather again, OMEGA as the Official Timekeeper of the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan, brings its long experience in timekeeping and data handling to the competition, ensuring precision and performance in every event, including swimming, water polo, diving, open water swimming, high diving and synchronized swimming.

OMEGA has been at the forefront of international competitive swimming for many years, and in addition to its timekeeping activities, is responsible for the development of some of the key technologies used to determine and record the results in all the disciplines. 


At the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan, OMEGA is using a number of revolutionary technologies including;  

Quantum Aquatic Timer - the timekeeping technology with an enhanced precision of 0.1 ppm (parts per million), and a maximum variation of 1 millisecond every 3 hours, (or 1 second every 100 days). 

Touch pads which allow each swimmer to “stop” his or her own time by touching the pad immersed at the end of each lane in the pool. While they respond to contact with the swimmer’s body, they are not affected by contact with the water. 

Starting blocks used in swimming competitions. Like those developed for track events, they have false start detection systems and acoustic start devices which ensure that each competitor hears the start signal at the exact same moment.

High-speed video cameras which the judges can consult if any dispute should arise.

On-screen graphics improve the experience of watching swimming events on television. These graphics identify all the swimmers by lane before each race along with their nationalities. As soon as a competition has ended, viewers see the names and rankings of the top three swimmers as their lanes are highlighted. Shortly afterwards, a new display shows the final rankings and the times for each swimmer in the race. This list also includes information about records that may have been set during the competition. For the diving competitions, OMEGA’s impressive TV graphics will again help viewers understand some of the unusual aspects of the discipline. Animated clips will demonstrate how the announced dive should be ideally executed from its beginning until the diver enters the water.

Virtual record line, another useful and popular on-screen graphic that gives television broadcasters the option of electronically superimposing a red line across the pool. The line advances at the world record pace for each discipline – if the lead swimmer finishes ahead of the “virtual record line”, a new world record has been set.

Live timing. OMEGA’s Live Timing website (www.omegatiming.com) gives the global audience access to each competitor’s details as well as the ranking, the split times, and information on any records that might have been set or broken.

Swimming Show. This Innovative light system was introduced at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The advanced system features mounted lights on the starting blocks, positioned next to the touch pads at the end of the pool where the swimmers stop their races. A single dot of light on a swimmer's starting block indicates first place; two dots of light indicate second; and three dots of light confirm a third place finish. This easily accessible information enhances the experience for spectators, who are better able to track the progress and results of the race they are watching.

Two more recent improvements being used include the backstroke ledge and the lap counters that are placed at the bottom of the pool.

The backstroke ledge improves the start push and trajectory of the swimmers when they enter the water. The angle made by their legs in relation to the water surface during the final push off from the wall is greater, and as a result, the swimmer‘s feet have less contact with the water when they lift off.

The height of the backstroke ledge can be adjusted to several different positions using a manual rotating system. Its grip mechanism is covered with an anti-skid surface, thus providing more confidence for the swimmers as they enter the water.

The lap counters that are placed at the bottom of the pool are used in 800m and 1500m competitions. One lap counter is included for each lane - positioned on the opposite side of the finish – which counts down the number of remaining laps for the competitor swimming in that lane. Previously, officials standing at the edge of the pool would display the number of remaining laps to the swimmer, meaning that the competitor would have to shift his or her attention from the pool. The lap counters, with their highly visible digital screens, ensure that the swimmers can concentrate on their technique and on their position in the race while remaining aware of the distance they have yet to swim. Unlike other pieces of equipment or technology that OMEGA has introduced in the past, the lap counters will have no effect on the timekeeping or the data-handling of the races, and have been created solely for the purpose of improving the race experience for each swimmer. 

Further information is available here.

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