Whats the difference?

    There is a difference between FAT (fully automatic timing) and handheld times. Imagine the factors involved in hand timing. The gun goes off. The timer sees the smoke and then starts the watch. The timer then stops the watch when they think the runner crosses the finish line. Often this is early with timers anticipating the finish. So with hand timing, you are starting the watch a fraction late and stopping the watch a fraction early. Put those two pieces together and you have a time which will appear faster than FAT. Anytime a human is involved in starting and stopping the time, it is subject to error.

    With FAT the "human" is taken out of the equation. The clock is started as soon as the starter pulls the trigger of his starting pistol. As the runners cross the finish line, a camera picks up the image for each athlete. Software then calculates the time for each athlete.

    As time has gone on, more and more meets have made the switch to FAT timing. However, there are still meets run today run with Hand Timing, as well as older records. Due to the differences and potential for error, we keep separate HT and FAT records. After a conversion, the better of these two times is considered the School Records.  For the sake of being consistent, all school records broken are converted to FAT timing. The method we use for this conversion is below:

Converting Hand Held Times (HT) to Fully Automatic Times (FAT)

- The hand-held times shall first be rounded up to the slower one-tenth of a second. Then a conversion factor of .24 must be added (i.e. MT+.24=FAT).


    - - Example - A 100 Meter hand held time of 11.21 must be rounded up to the next tenth (not the  closest), which would be 11.30. You then need to add .24 to that time. the new time is now 11.54.

- Hand held conversions need to be calculated for all running events under 800 Meters (100, 200, 400, 4x100, High Hurdles, 300 Hurdles) 

- FAT times do not require any adjustment. 

Is this how all schools keep records?

While this is a common method to keep track of records, there really is no set standard way. Each school/organization has their own rules for their records. The most common and accepted approaches are listed below:

1. Convert HT to FAT 

    - This is our approach, outlined above

2. Have separate HT and FAT records

    - We do this as well, but we award the school record to the better of the two performances

3. Award records only for FAT times

    - This has been discussed in the past.  The main reasoning for this would be to make sure that all records are as accurate as possible.  We are proud of our records and the athletes who have earned them, so we want our record board to consist of accurate information.


   That said, it is also important that students have an opportunity to break a record every time they step onto the track. If an athlete has the race of their life and smashes a record, is it fair not to award them simply because their time was measured on a stopwatch? 

    We try to accommodate both arguments by keeping track of separate HT and FAT records, but only awarding School Records for the better of the 2 performances. 

4. Award records based simply on time, with no conversion, no matter what the method of timing is

    - If you understand the above conversion, you should understand why we don't use this method, and why it has never been seriously discussed. There is too big of a difference between FAT and HT to handle records responsibly.