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Thread: wrist watches at USMS sanctioned meets

  1. #1
    PhillyFish
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    Question wrist watches at USMS sanctioned meets

    I attended an open water swim competition this past weekend and about 80% of the swimmers were wearing wrist watches. This meet was USMS sanctioned/recognized as all competitors had to be registered USMS members. None of the approximately 550 swimmers were disqualified for wearing wrist watches. I thought timing devices were not allowed but couldn't find wrist watches specifically mentioned in the open-water swimming rules. Could someone clarify this and/or point me in the right direction as to where this is addressed in the rules.

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    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    There was some confusion when USA-Swimming added language to their disqualification section “102.10.10 (DISQUALIFICATIONS) No swimmer is permitted to wear or use any device or substance to help his/her speed, pace or buoyancy during a race.” Questions were raised about considering wrist watches as “pacing devices”; as I understand it, USA-S determined that watches were pacing devices and are illegal.
    Last edited by Rob Copeland; June 3rd, 2005 at 04:24 PM.

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    Thanks for posting the rule-- There was a sign up at Colonies Zones indicating that watches could not be worn during competition. I don't wear one when I swim so I didn't look at the sign too closely but I do remember seeing it.
    MARY

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    Very Active Member Kevin in MD's Avatar
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    No mention of pacing devices in the long distance or open water sections

    The long distance section of usms and usa swim rules books make no mention of pacing devices.

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    I'm pretty certain there were people on the blocks at nationals that were told to remove watches.

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    Heck, most of the pools I swam USMS meets in had pace Clocks somewhere around the deck or the digital pace clocks running somewhere....I used these clocks in a few of the mile events I swam by simply looking up at the clock hanging on the wall.

    Additionally, I have seen many, many swimmers get input regarding pace from their counter or people/coaches in the stands by simply looking up on the air intake side of the stroke and looking for the pace signal....in the form of arms up or down or going round and round.....I cannot think of a time I wondered what my pace was during a swim....and...most of the time my own sense of pace had me pretty close to the pace. Heck, I remember on time when my son was counting laps for me at the USMS Zone Championships at the Univ. of Texas Pool in Austin. He gave me the signal to pick up the pace (to bust 20 minutes in the mile) when I felt/knew I was on or below the pace. As the swim turned out I went 19:29, but swam far over the line of safety to swim that time....I’ll never forget the grin on his face when I asked him why he gave me the off the pace signal….and he told me because I thought you still have some left in you….The little dork darn near caused me to have a heart attack.

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    Very Active Member Edward The Head's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Mary
    Thanks for posting the rule-- There was a sign up at Colonies Zones indicating that watches could not be worn during competition. I don't wear one when I swim so I didn't look at the sign too closely but I do remember seeing it.
    Nope that's what the sign said. They were also going around and telling people they will be DQed if they wear a watch during the swim. I still don't see the point, you can still have some one else time you and tell you what's going on. Plus you can, at least at the Zones, read the boards and know your splits.

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    Very Active Member Leonard Jansen's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Edward The Head
    I still don't see the point, you can still have some one else time you and tell you what's going on.
    One argument that I can see against it is that some watches have a function that allows you to set a beeper to go off at a given interval. This would allow you to time your stroke to some predetermined, "optimal" standard. Of itself, I could think of worse things, except if it throws off the stroke of another competitor. When I used to compete in racewalking, people would occasionally do this before it was banned and it drove other competitors nuts. The offender usually got a serious talking-to after the race.

    Now imagine a pool (or open water race) full of beepers all set to different intervals. Ouch.

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    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    The FINA and USA-Swimming rules only apply to what the swimmer is allowed to wear, not to pace clocks, coaches or counters. In USA-S “Verbal counters … may use watches and signal intermediate times to the swimmer.”

    The rule primarily applies to pacing devices (such as Tempo Trainers) and radio receivers (just what I always wanted, my coach shouting in my ears while I’m swimming), but watches are being banned because there has been an interpretation somewhere to include these as “mechanical or electronic device than can convey pace or speed”.
    Last edited by Rob Copeland; June 3rd, 2005 at 04:26 PM.

  10. #10
    PhillyFish
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    Some of the competitors were wearing heart rate monitors which looked like wrist watches. Wouldn't a heart rate monitor fall into the category of pacing device? Are they allowed at a USMS sactioned open water competition?

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    GREAT QUESTION, GREAT THREAD!

    I've never worn a watch during an OW race, but see everyone else (here in Italy) wearing them, and never questioned they may be against the rules. I thought they were wearing them just to know their own time at the end of the race, without waiting for the official results to come out. What do you think of that?

    In long pool races we can always see the digital pace clock running, and many people have coaches or friends signalling them. I wish I did, and will in the future, as I tend to go too slow and end the race feeling fresher than when I started it.

    Wearing watches in the pool DURING workout is against the rules in Italy, because of injuries which may occur if you hit someone.

    Ciao!
    m
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    Very Active Member LindsayNB's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Maryyyyyy
    In long pool races we can always see the digital pace clock running, and many people have coaches or friends signalling them. I wish I did, and will in the future, as I tend to go too slow and end the race feeling fresher than when I started it.
    For pool races, in Italy at least, FINA SW 10.15 applies:
    SW 10.15 No pace-making shall be permitted, nor may any device be used or plan adopted which has that effect.

    My impression was that the recent move to ban watches was an attempt to bring US rules in line with the above. I was given a warning for wearing a watch in a race in Florida last fall. Under FINA rules any clocks visible to the swimmer should be turned off. Strangely, during the Olympics they talked about the backstrokers watching the scoreboard clock...

  13. #13
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    SW 10.15 No pace-making shall be permitted, nor may any device be used or plan adopted which has that effect.

    Gosh, this rule would be near impossible to enforce. All a swimmer has to do is simply look in the stands, for their are ten zillion ways to convey time information from people in the stands. I'd venture to say this rule is IMPOSSIBLE to enforce.

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    Originally posted by LindsayNB
    For pool races, in Italy at least, FINA SW 10.15 applies:
    SW 10.15 No pace-making shall be permitted, nor may any device be used or plan adopted which has that effect.

    Gosh - we're all breaking the rules!?!!

    It could be that at master's meets we are lenient on this rule.

    Did anyone notice whether the FINA rule was enforced during the World Champs at Riccione in 2004? I did not notice.

    I'm going to open a similar thread on the Italian Masters Forum...

    ciao!
    m
    Last edited by Maryyyyyy; June 2nd, 2005 at 04:09 PM.
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    When i don't have on my glasses or certain goggles, I can't see a thing. There could be alarge pace clock on the bottom of the pool & I still woudln't be able to read it. I noticed once that a copach shouted out the time to a swimmer at a competiton. I was really surprised. However, at the tiem I didn't realize that was wrong.

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    Interesting thread!!
    Watches banned as they may cause an injury?? How big are they?
    I wear a watch for training, but when 'racing' I take it off. After all it causes drag!! (I need all the help I can get!!)
    In Open Water events, I don't wear a watch as what use is it? I can't read it, even with the newer "Aging Iron Man" bigger sized numbers. If I did wear a watch, and tried to look at it during a refuel break it would not help much as it would make me stop longer to try and read the thing. Then ask questions as to how far, etc etc. Which would result in a much slower overall time!!
    I'm not a techy, so I wouldn't try to set a watch to beep at a regularly scheduled interval. In open water there are too many variables and it would be quite distracting.
    In an indoor meet, I suppose if you could set your watch for the 50m pace time , and it would continue to beep at this interval ad infinitum until turned off, then I agree this is a 'pacing' tool.
    However, in an Indoor Meet, I glance at the pace clock, as it seems to be always running. (Not that I can see exactly without my glasses!!, plus I tend to 'forget which colour hand' as I am busy counting lengths and focusing on strategy, which results in brain overload and system slow down to a snail's pace!)
    Should pace clocks and the scoreboard clock be covered so swimmers (who have OK vision) can't see these 'pacing devices'??
    As has been stated, coaches, support staff, team members have definite, and sometimes unique, ways of keeping swimmers on pace.
    To me, a swimmer who knows their body, knows how to pace, is well trained.
    Mental training is part of the package.

    Happy training.
    Kiwi

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by 2go+h20
    Interesting thread!!
    Watches banned as they may cause an injury?? How big are they?

    Happy training.
    Kiwi
    Oh, you know, our watches are all big ARMANI things with gold and platinum and diamonds - definitely dangerous!!

    I find hand paddles WAY more dangerous than watches. I was very surprised when I was asked (told) to remove my watch during workout. We don't have a clock in our pool, so I don't know what time to get out...

    Anyway, this thread is really great, and the conclusion I'm getting (also in the Italian thread) is that the rule of pacing techniques in pool races would be difficult if not impossible to enforce.
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  18. #18
    Active Member sibleyclan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Rob Copeland
    There was some confusion when USA-Swimming added language to their disqualification section “102.10.10 (DISQUALIFICATIONS) No swimmer is permitted to wear or use any device or substance to help his/her speed, pace or buoyancy during a race.” Questions were raised about considering wrist watches as “pacing devices”; as I understand it, USA-S determined that watches were not pacing devices and are legal.

    USMS typically follows USA-S, however USMS 102.15.9 only addresses “speed or buoyancy” NOT pace. For USMS watches are legal.
    I'm a USA-S stroke & turn judge (with North Carolina Swimming LSC) and, one more than one occaison in the last few months at age group meets, have had the official briefing state that wrist watches were definitely illegal and that we should ask the swimmer to remove it if we noticed it before they got on the blocks but that we should DQ if we caught it in the water. It's then ultimately up to the referee as he/she has to countersign any DQ.

    I'm actually participating in an open water meet tomorrow and also intend to help officiate the events I'm not participating in. As it's a jointly sanctioned meet, I intend to ask the question at the officials briefing. (My memory being what it is, hopefully I'll *remember* that I intend to ask the question!!! )

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    I can understand that there is come confusion about this since we did make a mistake in getting the rule book out this year.

    Last July, USA-Swimming changed their rule to add to the equivalent of our 102.15.9 the word "pace" after speed. They did this to be in compliance with FINA rules. At the same time, they indicated that their interpretation of this rule would include writst watches among other devices such as radios that communicate with coaches. The USMS Rules committee voted and chose to follow the USA-Swimming change and their interpretation. So wearing a wrist watch in a meet is not permitted. This does NOT apply to open water swimming.

    The communication from both USA-Swimming and USMS indicated that officials should approach this rule such that they should warn competitors and ask them to remove the watch rather than sit silently by and then DQ someone.

    I will ask that the on-line version of the rules be updated to reflect the correct wording of the rule.

    Sorry for the confusion.

    Leo

  20. #20
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    Thanks for the explanation, Leo.

    You don't happen to know the FINA rule for watches in open water swims, do you? I race in Italy.

    Thanks if you do!

    Mary
    VIVA LA VITA!!!!!!!
    VIVA LO SPORT (Sano e Pulito)!!!!!

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