This weekend, FINA approved the use of underwater, electric lap counters made by Omega that display the number of laps remaining in a race on the bottom of the pool. Although the new devices will not be used until the women’s 800 meter freestyle tomorrow, the devices are already in the water.
Despite not being in use on the meet’s first day, they did have an affect on today’s races. Several swimmers noted that they missed walls with the devices being located near the “T” just before the wall. Brazilian swimmers Cesar Cielo, Joao de Lucca, and Allan Victoria all missed walls, which lead to a complaint from the Brazilian Team, according to Blog do Coach.
Omega listened to the team and worked with the meet organizers to move the lap counters out to the five meter mark, just below the flags, rather than obscuring the important reference points going into the walls.
With any new equipment, there are kinks to be worked out; the timing of the decision to approve these counters meant that those kinks were left to be worked out at the World Championships.