Omega eases open-water identification with new buoy technology
Omega, the prominent Swiss watchmaker, has introduced a new innovation to enhance the viewing experience for the open-water swimming events at the FINA World Championships now under way in Budapest.
Two special buoys have been added to the course at Lake Balaton in the Hungarian capital, each containing an antenna which can pick up signals from transponders worn on the wrists of the competing swimmers.
As the swimmers pass the buoys, their intermediate times will be sent back to the timekeepers for display on the scoreboards for the benefit of spectators at the event and viewers on television.
The technology, which made its World Championships debut at the weekend, is seen as valuable given the difficulty television commentators and viewers often face in identifying the leaders in open-water events.
The buoys now complement Omega’s ‘Open Water Gate’ at the finish of the race, which, when touched a swimmer registers their impact and their time is stopped to provide an accurate time.
Omega chief executive Alain Zobrist said: "The new technology that Omega is introducing for the Open Water events in Budapest will make the sport a lot easier to follow. Until now, it has been quite a challenge for spectators to know exactly what is going on. But we have an exciting system in place now that will make a lot of the positioning and athlete motions much clearer during the actual race."
Omega is the official timekeeper of FINA in a deal running through to 2021, and has similar responsibilities at the Olympic Games as a TOP sponsor of the International Olympic Committee in an agreement this year extended until 2032.