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Automatic Relay Takeoff Judging Equipment

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I have been asked questions recently regarding the use of relay takeoff judging equipment at USMS meets.

We have to look at several sections of the rules for context on how to use automatic relay takeoff judging equipment.

First, there is article 102.13.1 which discusses disqualifications:

We say that the referee, starter, or S&T judge, upon observing an infraction, shall immediately raise one-hand overhead. When there is dual confirmation of relay takeoffs (article 103.10.5B), a disqualification is not initiated by raising one hand overhead.

So, then we look at 103.10.5B for the dual confirmation process:

This article says that the lane and side takeoff judges shall independently report infractions in writing. A relay shall be disqualified only if the lane takeoff judge has reported an infraction and the assigned side takeoff judge has confirmed the same infraction.

For the use of RJT equipment, we then look at 103.10.5C:

When automatic relay takeoff equipment is in use, the system printout will provide the information to judge relay exchanges. Integrated backup timing cameras may be reviewed by the referee to confirm the automatic systems results. When backup timing cameras are not available, the referee will determine the confirmation process.

There is no threshold specified in the FINA rules, but the wording is very similar to the above. FINA rule SW 13.1 says that when automatic officiating equipment (including RJT equipment) is used, the relay takeoffs judged by the automatic equipment shall have precedence.

So, the answer is that we have no established numerical threshold in USMS for initiating a call from the automatic RJT equipment. For most of our meets, we do not have the use of the integrated backup timing cameras (I am only aware that we have ever used the full-up system at one meet the 2012 LC Nationals in Omaha).

So, a reasonable protocol, considering all of the provisions in the rules, is that the officials on deck must initiate the call, preferably through the dual confirmation process. The RJT equipment can be used to confirm the call absent a fully integrated automatic system with overhead backup timing cameras to confirm the results. This is the best way to ensure that swimmers receive the benefit of the doubt.

Given that this is an another example of technology which is becoming more widespread, we will work with the officials committee to develop a consistent protocol that we can provide to LMSCs.

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