Friday, June 19, 2009

It'll Come Down To The Finish

Being an open water swimming judge at the World Swimming Championships is not an easy task. Like water polo, much action takes place underwater and happens in a flash, requiring the judge to make an instantaneous call without the benefit of an instant replay and while the action and athletes continue forward, all while standing in a boat, sometimes in wavy conditions.

But, unlike water polo, the judges often times have a large pack of swimmers - up to 40 athletes - to oversee, all fighting for position and a medal.

The following individuals have been selected by FINA to serve as impartial judges in Rome based on their years of experience and comprehensive knowledge and passionate commitment to the sport:

Magdy Farid of Egypt, representing Africa
Ricardo Ratto of Brazil, representing the Americas
Lyse Tremblay of Canada, representing the Americas
Jose Luis Borrego of Mexico, representing the Americas
Rick Walker of the USA, representing the Americas (shown above)
Hermino Agustianus of Indonesia, representing Asia
Lesley Prentice of Great Britain, representing Europe
Antonio Amador of Portugal, representing Europe
Vojislav Mijic of Serbia, representing Europe (shown below)
Alexey Akatiev of Russia, representing Europe
Ann Benseman of New Zealand, representing Oceania
Bill Ford of Australia, representing Oceania

The difficult decisions of determining the close finishes will be made by the finish judges.

They will be aided in making their decisions by three cameras placed at different positions, all focused on the finish touch pads.

Upper photo is from the extraordinarily close 25K race at the 2003 World Swimming Championships when three men finished so close together - after five hours of hard swimming - that it took several minutes for the finish judges to review the photo-finish and make a determination who actually won.

Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association