Backstroke Ledges “Unlikely” to Be Ready in Time for Mesa Grand Prix

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.

See more about how these wedges work in this very detailed video.

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.



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Patrick Brundage
7 years ago

A far simpler and cheaper solution would be for USA swimming to just bring back the standup backstroke start from the 80’s. That was the worst rule ever repealed.

7 years ago

What was the point of these “wedges”? To keep backstrokers from slipping? Isn’t that the point of sticky touchpads that were manufactured for years now? Honestly, not exactly sure why we changed the rule to allow the backfin on the blocks, either. Seems a solution to a relatively non-existent problem.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Phil
7 years ago

Yeah, and what’s with these “goggles” all the kids are wearing nowadays!? Makes ’em look like fighter pilots, get that crap outta here!

Reply to  Steve Nolan
7 years ago

Agreed Steve! We need to get rid of nonsense goggles, lane lines and gutters <– I believe there is an alien conspiracy related to these buggers.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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