Backstroke start platform
Courtesy of: FINA/YouTube
LAUSANNE, Switzerland, March 20. THE new Omega backstroke starting platforms are set to make their debut in the United States next month at the Arena Grand Prix in Arizona, while several competitions in other parts of the globe are set to feature the innovative device.

FINA recently produced a how-to video on setting up and using the backstroke platform, featuring backstroke Olympic champions Aaron Peirsol and Natalie Coughlin, as well as voiceover by the legendary Rowdy Gaines.

The video goes into more detail about the dimensions of the platform and the adjustable heights available for foot placement above and below the water surface. One interesting development regarding use of the platform involves the rule requiring the swimmer's toes to be in touch with the touchpad or wall surface "for a legal start." That means no curling the toes around the top of the platform.


Footage of David Plummer slipping on the start of the 50 backstroke semifinal at last year's world championships shows up in the video, with Peirsol and Coughlin agreeing that the platform will take away the anxiety of having a good start.

If you had any questions about operating this new innovation to the sport, it's likely this three-minute feature will answer most of them. For more on the platform, take a look at this diagram.