At least 5 National Age Group Records have been broken this week at the TYR Junior National Cup, and those times have been called into question as a result of a timing discrepancy. SwimSwam has heard from several independent people who have hand-timed videos of the swims, and all of those people independently drew a similar conclusion: that the times on their watches were showing as 4-tenths of a second slower than the official results are showing.
We have hand-timed a number of the videos ourselves, and likewise have consistently come up with times slower than the official results. Videos of many races from the meet can be seen on James Foster’s YouTube channel here.
We have notified USA Swimming of the discrepancy, and they said that they are going to look into it. We have also reached out to Daktronics, the company responsible for the new video display at the Liberty University Natatorium, for more information on what could cause a delay of this size. A review of the backup times could help trend any patterns over the large number of races swum at a meet of this size and establish better evidence than any race can individually.
One commenter who previously says they had an issue with a Daktronics system showing delayed results says that he received the following advice from Daktronics. Ironically, the time difference in that scenario, .39 seconds, is almost exactly the result that hand-times are getting. We have reached out to Liberty to verify which timing system/timing box combination they are using, and which port that the timing system is connected with.
The same natatorium recently hosted an NCAA last chance qualifying meet, where 4 women earned their qualifying standards for the NCAA Championships (along with 2 men, though those times from East Carolina were later invalidated for unrelated reasons, with the NCAA deciding that they weren’t in ‘bona fide’ competition).
See that below.
Daktronics Start boxes provide 2 sockets for connection to the various AOE Timing systems available. It is imperative the correct socket is used depending upon the type of timing system being used. “Daktronics would like to state; when connecting the HS200 horn start, there are two options, normally Open and Normally Closed, labeled Daktronics and Other. It is imperative the start cable is connected to Daktronics – normally open [when connected to Daktonics equipment] However if the system were to be connected to other – normally closed, Daktronics would agree it would reasonable to expect a time quicker of approx -0.39 seconds. We would like to define this as: Normally Closed – when the Starter depresses the microphone the ‘contact’ is opened, this will sound the ‘beep’ of the horn and alert the swimmers. However the timer will not start until the signal pulse is then closed. A normal tone (long tone) pulse is 0.396 seconds, therefore resulting in times consistently 0.39 seconds quicker.