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View Full Version : Relay Touch Pad Controversy



Allen Stark
April 13th, 2011, 09:42 PM
There is an interesting article at the Swimming World website http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/26979.asp?q=Relay%20Touchpads%20Stirring%20Up%20Co ntroversy.
Some how the touch pad doesn't jibe with what everyone saw and there is no appeal.I like the suggestion that it takes 2 for a DQ,either 2 judges or a judge and the touch pad.I also think video evidence should be allowed for appeal.

Maui Mike
April 13th, 2011, 10:30 PM
It's horrible to dq a kid when they performed within the rules. I won a Junior Olympics race back when I was a teenager but was disqualified for not touching with my hand on the flip turn, as was required at the time. I knew I had missed the touch and did another half somersault and made the touch but the official didn't see that part. I've always been a little pissed about that but I think it's more understandable from the officials point of view than the ridiculous dq of that young lady on the relay start.

no200fly
April 13th, 2011, 11:30 PM
The Dallas Morning News had a front page story about this today. The story included screen captures of the start and it was clear that the final swimmer did not leave the block before the third swimmer touched.

The team scores going into the last relay were such that Southlake would win the team state championship by finishing the relay in any place. You know that the coach told the swimmers to take no chances on the starts. The video and photos show that the swimmers did what they were supposed to do. This is a really unfortunate event for everyone involved.

knelson
April 14th, 2011, 12:05 AM
Humble Kingwood? I laughed. :D

Rykno
April 14th, 2011, 02:31 AM
one of our kids relays was DQ'd solely based on the timing system. Our coach was quick to protest, and when someone actually looked at the time, it would have meant that our diving in swimmer would have landed on the incoming swimmer about 2-3m out. it was something like a 2.3 sec difference.

it turned out, that the pad on the block as over sensitive to the swimmers movement while waiting in the swimmer in the pool.

since none of the officials saw it, the DQ was taken back.

pwolf66
April 14th, 2011, 08:40 AM
Technology is a wonderful thing when it works. But more and more, folks are taking for granted that the technology is always right and that is a shame. It is clear from the video that the relay exchange time was incorrectly registered. Was this due to the take off pad, the timing pad, a light touch by the incoming swimmer or some combination? who knows but it doesn't change that this was completely and totally the wrong call. All false starts are supposed to have dual confirmation before they can be assesed. Where is the other confirmation method?

chowmi
April 14th, 2011, 09:50 AM
The Dallas Morning News had a front page story about this today. The story included screen captures of the start and it was clear that the final swimmer did not leave the block before the third swimmer touched.

The team scores going into the last relay were such that Southlake would win the team state championship by finishing the relay in any place. You know that the coach told the swimmers to take no chances on the starts. The video and photos show that the swimmers did what they were supposed to do. This is a really unfortunate event for everyone involved.

Two points:
First, regardless of the topic, it was wonderful to see ANY article on swimming and actually by a local reporter. I am sick of reading front page articles that seem so familiar, only to see the are from WIRE REPORTS and I already read them the day before in the WSJ or NYTimes. And I don't recall seeing any reference to information/source cited as Facebook or Twitter. Correct me if I am wrong and again I will be disappointed.

The article started on the FRONT PAGE, bottom section, across all columns, about the last 1/3 of the bottom page past the fold. Color picture to the right hand corner. Then continued onto page 7, for the entire page except for the large Dillards ad. 3 more pix (B&W) showing the start. Even an untrained eye could tell the safe touch. The girl was practically in a squat position, only about 1/3 from a 90 degree (standing up) position.

And second, this was at the UT SWIM CENTER! Very disturbing - not only for this relay, but the oh.....28 other fails during that meet!

Redbird Alum
April 14th, 2011, 10:22 AM
I would prefer the original intent, where the equipment is only used after protest of the human referees'/judges' collective call on the event.

Otherwise, with increased advent of improving video gear and computer programming, we will have computers monitoring the individuals' strokes, turns and touches in addition to the starts and exchanges.

(And computer "glitches" NEVER occur, do they?)

knelson
April 14th, 2011, 10:30 AM
Looking at this another way, think about how many valid false starts the electronic system has detected that would have otherwise not been detected. I'm willing to bet human officials blow false start calls a lot more than "the computer" does. That said. there's no question there needs to be some kind of redundancy here. Swimmers touching but failing to trigger the pad happens all the time.

no200fly
April 14th, 2011, 02:51 PM
Two points:
First, regardless of the topic, it was wonderful to see ANY article on swimming and actually by a local reporter.

And second, this was at the UT SWIM CENTER! Very disturbing - not only for this relay, but the oh.....28 other fails during that meet!

I agree, it was great to see DMN cover swimming in any way. We have come a long way from the times when DMN sponsored the annual invitational meet at SMU.

One of the things I thought about when I read the article was the final relay at the Div I NCAA's this year. If the same thing would have happened to Cal, can you imagine the uproar? Texas needs a new rule.

osterber
April 14th, 2011, 04:08 PM
A handful of comments:

* What is often forgotten about Relay Judging Pads is that there are _two_ things that must work correctly for an accurate read. The touchpad in the water much register correctly, and the relay pad on the block must register correctly. When there is a relay pad "error", it is often the case that the touchpad is at fault. I.e., the relay pad correctly detected the 'departure' at the correct time, but the touchpad in the water was late detecting the finish in the water, resulting in an erroneous early take-off detection.

* It's important to note that electronic timing equipment is very sensitive, and requires a lot of maintenance. At least with a Daktronics system, if you run a meet in an 8-lane pool with relay pads, and three backup buttons... there are (at least) 48 different electrical connections that must be working perfectly. Each of those connections must be cleaned and tested regularly.

* Yes, the NCAA rule book allows for video evidence to be used to check the relay pads. One thing that is worth noting -- the NCAA rule book puts very specific requirements on that video. It must be a video system that is installed expressly for the purpose of doing video review. I.e., you can't use video from a coach or parent in the stands.

* It is interesting that the High School rules do not allow for video review.

* The USA Swimming rulebook is pretty silent on the use of relay exchange pads, I believe. The general policies that I have seen in effect are that the relay pads can never be 'automatic', but can be one-half of a dual-confirmation. We often run with rules that say that the relay pads can save you (i.e., if two humans observe early, and the relay pads say safe, then it can save you).

* Most rule books allow for a rather wide latitude for the 'timing operator' to declare a malfunction of the timing system.

-Rick

osterber
April 14th, 2011, 04:10 PM
Looking at this another way, think about how many valid false starts the electronic system has detected that would have otherwise not been detected.

I've seen a lot of the opposite.... our relay pads have saved dozens of DQs where two officials observed an early take-off, but the pads say safe by 0.01 or 0.02.

-Rick

orca1946
April 14th, 2011, 05:31 PM
At our State meet last weekend, I needed to file a protest :blah::blah:because of a malfunctioning pad - I won out with the backup times giving me the correct time or close enough!:applaud: