Industry News: NCAA Approves Daktronics Relay Take Off Platforms for Future Championship Use

BROOKINGS, South Dakota, August 27. DAKTRONICS recently announced that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Committee has approved the use of the company's relay take off platforms (RTOPs) at future NCAA Division I championship events. The technology has already been approved and used at other divisional championships.

Daktronics relay take off platforms utilize new technology that precisely detects the split second a swimmer loses contact with the platform during a relay exchange. The RTOP, along with Daktronics OmniSport timing system and T-6000 touchpads, consistently and accurately measures relay exchanges in compliance with NCAA, USA Swimming, FINA and NFHS rules books. When the swimmer on the block leaves, there is a moment in time when the swimmer is laid out horizontally with the skin of their toe in contact with the platform, but there is no measurable force. The new technology developed by Daktronics senses the contact of that swimmer's toe and does not trigger the timing system until the swimmer has completely left the platform.

"Daktronics has taken a giant leap with this latest technology that senses human contact, not pressure" Jim Richardson, head women's coach at the University of Michigan, said. "The committee was very impressed with the design and functionality of the Daktronics system and feels it will benefit our student athletes greatly at future championships."

"The committee and I are appreciative of all the hard work that went into the development of this relay take off platform," said R. Wayne Burrow, NCAA Director of Championships and the staff liaison to the Division I Swimming and Diving Committee. "Daktronics has produced a product using exciting technology that should be welcomed by the swimming community. The demonstrations that we saw on film and in person answered all of our questions."

"We looked at the needs of the competitors, and at a lot of different technologies," said Jason Warne, Aquatics Product Manager at Daktronics, "But, we were determined not to release a product until it was ready and able to perform at a world class level. Our relay take off platform is not dependent on the weight of the athlete, the style of start, or variations with blocks. A very significant difference between our product and others on the market is that the Daktronics platform senses human contact, which ultimately means we give the athlete the benefit of the doubt by not triggering the timing system until they have lost all contact with the starting block. We appreciate the help and feedback we've received from many swim coaches during the development."

The Daktronics relay take off platform design has proven its accuracy and reliability at swim venues across the country, and the RTOPs were most recently used at the 2007 NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Championships at the University of Houston, the Southeast Conference Championships at the University of Kentucky, and the Big 12 Championships at Texas A&M University.

"It was a pleasure working with the Daktronics relay take off platforms during the championships in Houston," Herb Schwab, a collegiate swimming official, said. "The RTOPs performed flawlessly. We had no false readings plus they were easy to maintain, and the results were easy to interpret. We had the utmost confidence in the results."

Relay take off platforms are part of a complete swim timing system provided by Daktronics, which may also include patented stainless steel touchpads, the OmniSport 2000 timer, starters, and digital clocks and scoreboards. For more information about the new relay take off platform, visit Or call Daktronics toll free at 888-325-8766 or e-mail: