New timing system simplifies swim meets

Staff writer

The USD 408 Sports and Aquatic center is the first pool in the state to use the Dolphin Kick timing system.

At Marion’s meet June 19, the volunteer timers lined the south end of the pool with the bright blue timing instruments in their hands. According to swim coach Rod Garman, the timing system worked smoothly with only a few bugs at the beginning of the meet.

Garman met with Colorado Time Systems this past spring. He planned on getting the timing system one step at a time: software, starter kit, and then the stoppers. To his surprise, Colorado Time Systems worked with Garman to put together the whole system in just a year.

Garman said that the system is much easier for timers. The starter, set up at the north end of the pool near the starting block, starts the race and the handheld clocks of each timer waiting at the other end of the pool simultaneously start. The timers then hit a button to stop the time of a swimmer when he or she touches the wall.

The results are then fed wirelessly into a computer. When the starter sounds the beeps for the next race all of the timers reset automatically.

“It’s easier for timers; they don’t have to write. They don’t even have to reset a watch,” Garman said. “All they have to do is hit a button at the finish.”

For the home meet, Marion used three timers for each lane. The results of each timer are averaged together for a swimmer’s final time. If a timer is slow to react, the computer will highlight times that are uncharacteristically high.

“If it’s a second off it highlights the time,” Garman said.

The system worked well enough that Hesston officials requested the team bring the system on the road for the meet Saturday at Hesston. Hesston will also use Marion’s Dolphin Kick timer for the league meet July 10.

With the Dolphin Kick timing system in place, next on Garman’s wish list are bleachers that will work with USD 408 Sports and Aquatic Center’s deck space.

“Our pool is great. The only drawback is the lack of deck space,” Garman said. “Our whole goal would be to host league.”

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