After originally hoping to debut the newly-approved “backstroke wedges” for the Mesa Grand Prix in April, USA Swimming and Omega now feel it’s unlikely that they’ll be ready in time for that meet that runs from April 24th-26th.
According to USA Swimming Assistant Executive Director Mike Unger, the organization received notice that this morning that the wedges will be ready at the end of April, but it would be a very tight schedule to have them delivered and ready for use in Mesa.
Instead, the target is going to be for sure the Grand Prix meet in Santa Clara from June 19th-22nd, and that the organization was exploring using the wedges at the Charlotte Grand Prix in May. That meet, however, doesn’t have Omega blocks, and the Omega wedges were designed to primarily work with Omega blocks. Unger says that USA Swimming is investigating how they might be attached to the Paddock Fast Track brand blocks used in Charlotte.
Other brands are reported to be working on their own design for these backstroke wedges, but none that we’re aware of are yet competition ready.
The wedges are a starting ledge that lowers into the water, and are designed to give backstrokers a more consistent starting surface across changes in touch pads and water levels at different pools.