Why Didn’t Alabama’s -.07 Reaction Time DQ Their SEC Record Relay?

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 15

February 15th, 2022 College, News, SEC


When the Alabama women broke the SEC Record in the 200 medley relay to open up the 2022 SEC Swimming & Diving Championships, the relay exchanges stood out.

Freshman breaststroker Avery Wiseman registered a -.07 reaction time, senior butterflier Morgan Scott registered a .02 reaction time, and junior freestyler Kalia Antoniou registered a .03 reaction time.

That means, according to the Omega Timing equipment being used at the meet, their aggregate reaction time was negative.

Wiseman’s -.07 is the split that stood out, because on a first pass, it should have resulted in a disqualification.

Rule 4, Article 6, Section c of the NCAA Swimming & Diving Rule Book says that the determination of the relay judging pads is official if the finish time is between -.09 and +.09 seconds from the manufacturer’s starting point. For Omega equipment, which is being used at this meet, that starting point is -.03, meaning that any reaction time between -.04 and -.12 doesn’t need human confirmation to be called, and is an automatic DQ.

The Rule

If the electronic relay takeoff equipment detects an exchange differential (takeoff pad time minus finish pad time) of –0.09 through +0.09 second inclusive from the manufacturer’s starting point, the decision(s) of the human judge(s) shall not be considered. The determination of the electronic relay takeoff equipment shall be official, with exchange differential of –0.09 through –0.01 second from the manufacturer’s starting point indicating a rules violation and values of 0.00 through +0.09 second indicating a legitimate relay exchange.

Rule 4, Article 6, Section g, however, includes a caveat, that the RJP can be overturned if the referee declares a system malfunction, which includes the allowed use of video review.

The Rule

The referee has the ability to declare a system malfunction and not count the electronic readings of a given lane if he has clear evidence that the system has failed. If using the video review system as described in Rule 4-14-7, the referee can review any malfunction. If video review is not being utilized, the referee can elect to not count the reading of an entire heat if the majority of lanes have malfunctioned. Eliminating the readings in one heat is limited to that heat only and all other heat readings remain valid.

The meet’s timing is being managed by Swiss Timing, the same company that manages timing in most sports at the Olympic Games.

Omega overhead cameras are being used at the meet, allowing officials to go frame-by-frame, and they clearly saw Rhyan White’s hand on the wall while Wiseman’s foot was still on the block. The SEC said there was a “soft touch that caused an improper reading, which constituted a system malfunction.”

The same system was used to correct the Kentucky women’s 200 medley relay time, which originally registered about a second slower before being fixed by the cameras, bumping them into 3rd place (and giving them an NCAA Qualifying Time).

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7 months ago

Great job by the meet officials. Great job by Swiss Timing, and great job by the ‘Bama athletes. That’s the way it should be done. Makes you wonder though … what if Swiss Timing wasn’t there with overhead cameras (like 99% of the meets out there)?

7 months ago

So basically the judge was in favor of whoever beat the record 🤡

Ol' Longhorn
7 months ago

Great coaching, guts, and performances to pull off those reaction times. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how it’s done.

ACC fan
7 months ago

Great follow up article! This is the kind of journalism I love SS for!

7 months ago

If this is the official stance, then there should be concern about a “soft touch” affecting final results (whether it be for placing and/or for qualifying times) in other swims

Reply to  DrSwimPhil
7 months ago

Milorad Cavic has entered the chat

Reply to  Nsggshah
7 months ago

hadn’t laughed out lout today, this got me.

7 months ago

The fact that the aggregate reaction time was negative is irrelevant to the legality of this swim. A relay doesn’t get DQ’d for having a certain aggregate reaction time. As you do an excellent job of explaining, because of video evidence, this particular swim was deemed legal, despite the -.07 reaction from one swimmer. Cheers!

Reply to  Tom
7 months ago

these are honestly insane reaction times, props to the Alabama girls

Reply to  jeff
7 months ago

i thought so too, but then if the -0.07 RT was wrong, why would the other ones be correct?

Reply to  jeff
7 months ago

It’s that #MargoMentality

7 months ago

Checks out since 23.65 is also relatively pedestrian for White.

7 months ago

Can they provide the replay footage? Looked like a dq from the live footage

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. 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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