Backstroke Wedges Malfunction in Greensboro; Alter Competition Format


The hosts of the 2017 YMCA Long Course National Championships have had to alter the starting end of the pool being used for 6 events as a result of a malfunction with the backstroke wedges at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.

The 100 backstroke races, 200 backstroke races, and 400 medley relays, which are all of the races that begin with backstroke swims, will be started from the opposite end of the pool from the meet’s other events.

A statement posted on the meet website reads:

“The Greensboro Aquatic Center has discovered that the Backstroke Wedges mounted on the starting blocks at the Scoreboard end of the competition pool do not fully retract after being used for a start.  This problem is related to how the starting blocks are connected to the moveable bulkhead and does not occur at the diving well end of the pool where the starting blocks are connected to the permanent deck.”

Organizers believe that this could be a safety issue for swimmers executing turns with the wedges still in the water as well as damage the wedge by swimmers.

The Greensboro Aquatic Center will host next year’s ACC Championships (which are expected to return there for many years after, pending the evolution of the state’s political climate). The pool will also host the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Championship.

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3 years ago

I wonder why they made the choice to flip the start ends. Normally they start at the wall end and not the bulkhead end.

Reply to  DWY
3 years ago

They may have planned to start from both ends in prelims.

3 years ago

The backstroke start devices didn’t actually malfunction. They were placed on the bulkhead, which can require a custom backstroke wedge in some cases. My understanding is that they work just fine off the end wall.

3 years ago

The facility was worried about the use of the backstroke wedges on the bulkhead and brought up this concern so they decided to switch the courses for backstroke events. There was NO MALFUNCTION of the product.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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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