Barcelona, Spain – Can anyone quantify a 0.03 second or three hundredths of a second time lapse? That is apparently all that the judges will allow a swimmer to dive into a pool in a relay ahead of their team mate touching the wall.
As the Huff Post reports, in the case of the odds-on favorite US Men’s team, Kevin Cordes was waiting for teammate Matt Grevers to tap the wall when he dove into the pool 0.04 seconds prior to. According to the rules, that was full 0.01 seconds or 1/100th of a second too soon. How much of an unfair advantage did that head start amount to? Actually, it was as insignificant as one might imagine.
The US team completed the relay race in 3:30.06 minutes with France finishing behind them at 3:31.51 which margin is considered an easy victory. However, judges preferred to favor the letter of law and disqualified the US team. The US swimmers were at poolside congratulating one another when news came of the disqualification much to their deep dismay. Grevers says he takes responsibility for the loss.
“It’s probably my fault, actually,” Grevers, who swam the first backstroke leg, told reporters following the race, according to Yahoo! “It’s usually the guy coming in. It happens. It happens all the time. It’s unfortunate that it happened on the world’s second-biggest stage.”
Cordes tweeted that the loss was difficult to accept, but is grateful for having represented the country. The team said they will double-down for the next competition.
Really tough night to swallow. Thanks for all the support it was an absolute honor to represent my country!
— Kevin Cordes (@KwCordes) August 4, 2013
U.S. Men’s Swim Relay Disqualified, After Very Minor Mistake At Worlds