(AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

When Simone Manuel of the United States and Canada's Penny Oleksiak touched the wall, they both whipped around to look at the clock.

They saw the exact same number, which meant they shared the gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle. 

Wasn't there a way to break the tie? Actually, there is, but it's not used in swimming competitions.   

Omega, which runs the official timing system at the Olympic Aquatics Center, can offer much more precise timing than the hundredths of a second mandated by world governing body FINA.

"The Quantum Timer can measure to a millionth of a second," said Alain Zobrist, the CEO of Omega Timing. "But the timer is set to a hundredth of a second in line with FINA rules."

Zobrist said that is actually a fairer way to measure time in swimming.

"The way swimming pools are designed, it is often possible that the lanes are not all exactly the same length," he said. "Of course, we're only talking about a tiny fraction. But one hundredth of a second is a fairer way to measure the sport."

There have been a pair of ties on the medal podium in Rio. In addition to Manuel and Oleksiak sharing the top rung, Kylie Masse of Canada and Fu Yuanhui tied for the bronze in the women's 100 backstroke. 

American swimmer Caeleb Dressel said he's fine with the timing the way it is.

"We've got enough numbers to keep up with,"' he joked.