They usually just look at the scoreboard after touching the wall.
But this was not an option Friday afternoon at the Willis Casey Aquatics Center during the North Carolina and N.C. State men's swimming and diving meet.
The 14th-ranked Tar Heels could have been accused of causing the temporary short-circuit in the computer system via the white froth they created in the water, burning the Wolfpack 175-61.
Midway through the meet, just before the 50-yard freestyle, the scoreboard went out. The old swimming complex generated a mix of heat and chlorine that shorted out the computer keeping the times.
The meet was put on hold for about half an hour while the problem was assessed, and the swimmers risked losing their winning mind-set.
But the Tar Heels didn't let the conditions cool off their balance of power and speed in their last regular season meet. Now UNC looks poised to make a run at the ACC championships.
"This is the most exciting time of the year," UNC coach Frank Comfort said. "This is why I coach all the other weeks of the year."
Yuri Suguiyama had a tremendous showing in the endurance events as he took first in the 1,650 freestyle (15 minutes, 32.87 seconds) and the 500 free (4:35.37).
UNC (6-2, 4-1 in the ACC) swept the 400 individual medley event with Chris Helin (3:56.83), Dave Slawinski and Casey Coble taking first, second and third, respectively.