How top Australian swimming hopeful finished in a dead heat with Chinese rival despite appearing to touch the wall WELL ahead in her Olympic heat
A dead-heat between Australian swimmer Emma McKeon and a Chinese swimmer is under the spotlight after replay footage showed her touch the wall first.
McKeon was declared equal fastest to Yufei Zhang after the pair tied the 100m Butterfly heat at the Tokyo Olympics.
The pair swam the distance in just 55.82 seconds – a new Commonwealth record – and the race was declared a dead-heat.
Replay footage of the final leg of the race appears to show McKeon touch the wall a fraction of a second before her opponent.
A dead-heat between Emma McKeon (right) and a Chinese swimmer (left, Yufei Zhang) has been put under the spotlight after replay footage appeared to show the Australian competitor touch the wall first and finish the race before her rival
McKeon was declared as equal fastest to Yufei Zhang after the pair tied the 100 metre Butterfly heat at the Tokyo Olympics
The pair (pictured, McKeon) swam the distance in just 55.82 seconds – a new Commonwealth record – and the race was declared a dead-heat
Former cricket legend Darren Berry took to Twitter to claim the footage clearly showed McKeon win the race.
‘WTF seriously Emma McKeon touched clearly ahead of China on the wall how on earth can that be a dead heat?’ he wrote.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Meagen Nay agreed the footage showed one clear winner.
‘Emma was clearly on wall first,’ she wrote.
Nicole Jeffrey added: ‘Something wrong with the timing there. McKeon a clear winner on the video, but given same time as Zhang.’
But there is a simple explanation for why McKeon and Zhang recorded the same time during the race – she didn’t touch the wall hard enough.
The walls at the end of the swimming pool are fitted out with touch sensitive technology.
Swimmers must put enough pressure on the wall for their time to be recorded.
An official explained that McKeon touched the wall softly before applying more pressure a fraction of a second later, while Zhang hit hard immediately.
International federation FINA – which is responsible for administering international competitions in water sports – stood by the timing system insisting there was ‘nothing wrong’ with it.
Spectators have been quick to take to Twitter to argue the footage clearly shows McKeon win the race
An official explained that McKeon must have touched the wall softly while her opponent Zhang applied more pressure
McKeon will make the final regardless, and had no complaints about the recorded time after the record swim.
‘Until tonight when I was warming up I didn’t feel like I was racing, that probably worked for me,’ she said.
‘I felt like it went pretty well. I was happy with the time.
‘I didn’t really feel like I was going that quick, so I think that gives me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow morning.
‘I knew the Chinese girl next to me would be fast. I saw her go pretty quick at the end of last year. I feel like everyone is on an even playing field once you get to the semis and finals.’