Omega has installed digital lap counters at the bottom of the swimming pool for the 800m and 1500m competitions in the Rio Olympics.
One lap counter is included for each lane – positioned on the opposite side of the finish – which counts down the number of remaining laps for the competitor swimming in that lane.
Previously, officials standing at the edge of the pool would display the number of remaining laps to the swimmer, meaning that the competitor would have to shift his or her attention from the pool.
However, the new lap counters, with their highly visible digital screens, ensure that the swimmers can concentrate on their technique and on their position in the race while remaining aware of the distance they have yet to swim. They automatically update each time a swimmer hits the touchpad on the wall.
Unlike other pieces of equipment or technology that Omega has introduced in the past, the lap counters will have no effect on the timekeeping or the data-handling of the races, and have been created solely for the purpose of improving the race experience of each swimmer.
First used at the FINA World Championships in Kazan in 2015, this is the first time the technology will be used at the Olympics.