2019 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
- All sports: Friday, July 12 – Sunday, July 28, 2019
- Pool swimming: Sunday, July 21 – Sunday, July 28, 2019
- The Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center, Gwangju, Korea
- Meet site
- Competition Schedule
- FinaTV Live Stream
- Entry Lists
Throughout the heats of the women’s and men’s 100 back prelim races Monday in Gwangju, it became clear that a number of swimmers were struggling with the backstroke wedge system.
Multiple heats saw the field stand down as officials tended to swimmers who had difficulties with the wedge. All seemed to go smoothly until the final heat of the men’s race, when Italy’s Simone Sabbioni stopped after the start due to an issue with his wedge. The rest of the heat completed their race.
Sabbioni was granted a solo re-swim and moved from lane six to lane five. But in his second attempt, the same thing happened: something appeared to go wrong with the wedge and he again stopped before he could accelerate off the wall at all. Sabbione’s backstroke start position is notably more horizontal than we typically see; he sticks his lower back out fairly far while keeping his head in toward the block.
In the video below, however, there appears to be a clear issue with the wedge mechanism–– you can see the straps holding the wedge give out entirely at the :50 mark:
The 22-year-old was again granted another attempt and ended up going 53.85 to qualify 13th for the semi-final.
“I was very focused on making a good start, then when I saw the device come off I said ‘what now?'” Sabbioni said after the race. “The second time it came off I only focused on the fact that I was worried if it came off again. The device also caused problems in the other heats but I’m still very happy that he managed to get into the semifinals.”