Sylvan - on chip reliability, not trying to re-direct this thread but what is the backup plan for a rolling start race if the chip does not read? How do you verify where a person started the swim at x:xx:xx in that situation? I realize that chips and scanners are very reliable but if a chip fails to register when you cross the mat surrounded by other competitors as you head into the water, there is no way for you (the competitor) to know that the chip did not register. Finding out after you finish the race that there was no start time would be devastating.
On the cheater side, a rolling start must open up a range of opportunities to circumvent the system in the absence of a backup verification system such as video of competitors entering swim with timestamp, etc. Especially for wetsuit swims where the chip (or absence thererof) is concealed underneath neoprene.
We place a main and backup timing system at all rolling start, the Mylaps Pro chip will read 100% on both lines at each line on the course. The batteries in these chips are good for 5 years and are sent in at the end of each year. When they get low they get replaced before they get a chance of not being read. We did have an issue with bad batches of chips a few years ago and they would die midway through the event (i.e 1 or 2 out of 2500) but the entire bad batch was replaced in 2013. We also have manual backup in place at key location like transition and finish line as well. We have requested a rule change as well that all awards and qualification times should be based on Electronic times only, meaning if you lose your chip and don't get a replacement you don't qualify....
I like this. Lost my chip for the first time in ~100ish tris a couple of weeks ago. I think it got stuck in my wetsuit, because I had the swim finish. Awesome catch by SetupEvents: the guy alerted me as I was running out of T1. I gave him my number and found a new chip on my running shoes when I came back. That's customer service! Ofcourse, I rode thoroughly rode the whole bike course, for the most part. I think. Maybe.
The only problems I see are (1) being able to alert the athlete that he's lost the chip (I had no idea) and (2) getting them a replacement in a reasonable time. Seconds count, even in an Ironman.
Requiring a personal GPS isn't a bad idea either, even (especially?) on the swim. I know there's no evidence that the athlete in question didn't complete both laps of the swim, but 57 minutes for 2.4 miles? Hmmm.... The tough part is drawing the line on what is too fast. 57 minutes isn't completely impossible.
I'm also for a KQ field. I'd gladly pay extra for live tracking (bonus for family), extra testing, and a separate wave. I think WTC could make money, ease some course congestion (maybe) and decrease the probability of cheating.