Category Archives for "Equipment"

Omega does first year of Open Water Swimming national event for USA Swimming

Elsewhere , Equipment , Video

Omega, welcome to the open water events in 2019

The finish line is watched with four high-speed cameras, each at 100-frames per second. Then there can be a video review of the exact order of finish. 

Strange that some races have the swimmers going a 10K distance, or even a 5K distance, and have the finish boil down to fractions of a seconds. 

The swimmers travel under the super-structure that looks like a bridge and then they reach upwards, out of the water, and touch the pads to record their finish. 

Other options with AutoCoach

Another option if you don't have all that money to invest into the rental of the Omega equipment, is to deploy an AutoCoach Timing System. The AutoCoach system is used at Cross Country Track Meets, That would capture the time of the race, but there would need to be a timer. More on that to come in the future. 

A four camera security system can also be deployed to watch for the numbers on the swimmers' caps.  

I.U. Swimmers are using pulleys and ANALYTICS

Elsewhere , Equipment , Technology

Perhaps the best article from a sports information post, ever. Important content below in bold text.

Looze Using Unique Technique to Build Stronger, Better Swimmers


Source: BLOOMINGTON, Ind.  

Ray Looze is ready to pump you up.

Actually, he's ready to pump up his Indiana swim teams, and, no, this isn't some motivational ploy involving dramatic speeches, feel-the-beat music and Arnold Schwarzenegger videos.

Looze has tapped into the stronger-athlete-is-a-better-athlete territory once dominated by football coaches, and that means pumping iron.

Except, in this case, it's all about pulleys.

Yes, pulleys.

The key -- they are attached to weights and then hooked up to swimmers.

"We treat pulleys like the weight room," Looze says. "It's like weight lifting."

Once upon a time, strength training and swimming were done separately. You went to the weight room to lift weights. You went to the pool to swim, and never the twain shall meet.

Or something like that.

Now, thanks to the pulley system, you can swim and lift weights at the same time.

Basically, you hook yourself up to pulleys that stretch above the pool and swim against weighted resistance.

"We have people use 10 pounds," Looze says, "with some people using over 100 pounds."

Using that much weight, he adds, was more experimentation rather than application for a while.

"It was like, Can you do this?" Looze says. "Now we have a formula to streamline it better. It's a way to train power."

Does the pulley system work? Consider IU is a top-5 national power for the men and a top-10 power for the women. The third-ranked men have a 30-meet winning streak that includes victories this season over No. 2 Texas, No. 4 Michigan, No. 6 Florida and No. 8 Louisville.

Yes, talent and coaching are major factors, but in this highly competitive world, you look for an edge wherever you can find it.

Looze has found it. IU put three swimmers on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team in Lilly King, Blake Pieroni and Cody Miller. Four other Hoosier swimmers made the Olympics for other countries – Kennedy Goss, Ali Khalafalla, Marwan Elkamash and Anze Tavcar.

King won a pair of gold medals. Miller won a bronze and a gold medal. Pieroni won a gold. Goss won a bronze.

"We saw results pretty quickly," Looze says. "We started it, they were doing well, we kept doing it. We started in September of 2015 and put three people on the Olympic team.

"Now we're not concerned about how many times we (train with pulleys). We do it almost every day."

How does it work?

IU's pulley system utilizes 41 stations. They hang from a beam about 12 feet above the pool. The weight is on a bench off to the side 12 to 16 inches off the ground.

That elevation, Looze says, is critical.

"When they're swimming with it, the weight never gets to the deck level, which means their bodies can be higher in the water," Looze says. "That's advantageous. A lot of times when you're doing resistance training, it puts you under the water, which is not a great tradeoff."

Looze, if you haven't noticed, is very much in to great tradeoffs.

"Because our system is higher," he says, "we have fewer pulleys. That means we're able to pull more weight."

That should translate into stronger -- and faster -- swimmers.

And so it has.

Whether it's Vini Lanza in the butterfly, Lilly King and Ian Finnerty in the breaststroke, Zach Apple in the sprints or Michael Brinegar and Cassy Jernberg in the distance events, IU's rosters are littered with some of the fastest in the nation this season.

Looze has coached IU's men for 16 years and the Hoosier women for 14. Last year the Hoosier men placed third in the NCAA Championships, their best finish in 43 years, and their sixth top-10 showing in the last seven years. Looze won the College Swimming Coaches Association of America coach-of-the-year honors. He's won nine Big Ten coach-of-the-year awards, the most of any coach in Big Ten history.

The pulley system, which doesn't replace regular strength, is designed to help continue that success for the foreseeable future.

"We do it in combination with strength and conditioning," Looze says. "Our theory is this connects the weight room to what we are doing sport specifically better."

That was huge in 2016. Looze wanted to develop faster swimmers for his IU program as well as for the U.S Olympic team set to compete in Rio.

"With our breaststrokers we were like, Hey, the traditional thought in our sport was you shouldn't strength train more than three times a week. With our breaststrokers, we started doing it five times a week.

"It was an experiment at a critical time. We rolled the dice in an Olympic year. To that point, we hadn't had our own Olympians. IU had some, but none since the 1970s in swimming.

"They (trained with pulleys) five times a week and shattered that thought that it couldn't be successful.

"Now a lot of people do it - every day."

Looze got the pulley idea about 14 years ago. A club coach in Texas had designed his own pulley system, with impressive success. IU coaches visited him, liked what they saw, and installed the system in 2005.

"We implemented it here," Looze says, "on a really large scale."

It wasn't instant national success.

"It didn't become more widely known," Looze says, "and we didn't have as good of athletes as we have now."

As the athletes improved, so did IU coaches way of using the system. It was as much of mind as well as body.

"It's more getting somebody stronger and showing them where they stand on the team," Looze says. "It's giving them knowledge. If you show them they're 10th strongest on the team, they'll work a little harder to get to eighth or sixth or fifth.

"I can tell them, if you go from 10th to third on the team, you'll get a lot faster. I'm positive that will happen."

As for what's next, "I love the whole analytics thing," Looze says.

"How can we do our pulleys more analytically? Our director of operations has written an algorithm so we can track the improvement of the swimmer on the pulley, Are we improving power per stroke? We're trying to measure that. We're grading everybody and ranking them based on how much weight they can pull.

"We're also doing that with recruiting. For instance, we value competitiveness. We're using analytics for that.

"To me, analytics is the next thing. We should be able to use it because we have lots of numbers. Sports that have lots of numbers should be able to use analytics to their advantage.

"We know the pulleys are effective, but we don't know how. Is there a way to use them in a more accurate manner? If you can improve faster than your competition, you have created an advantage. We're trying to give these pulleys an analytical spin. Make it more accurate than just trial and error."

Look for less trial and error, and more success, in the years ahead.

"We had the pulleys," Looze says. "Then we added video to the pulleys. Now we're adding analytics to the pulleys.

"That's the future."


PIAA track logo with word, official

Wearable devices with Track & Field athletes in high school in PA

Elsewhere , Equipment , Marketing , outreach , T&F , Technology , Wearable

The availability of wearable technologies that allow individuals to monitor a variety of body functions, including but not limited to, heart rate, blood pressure, pace and distance traveled are readily available and cost effective. Nearly all these wearable technologies can both transmit and receive collected data from other mechanisms. This data can be used to evaluate how the body is performing, and the user can adjust as needed based on that data.

This type of technology is being incorporated into watches, garments, shoes and jewelry and, in most cases, is nearly impossible to distinguish from the same item type that does not include the technology (e.g., Apple watch vs. traditional watch).

NFHS Track and Field and Cross Country Rules do not prohibit the use of wearable technologies, but Rules 3-2-8a and 4-6-5d state that no competitor may receive electronically transmitted data from a coach or other third party. If such communication is observed by an official, the competitor should be disqualified.

While preventative officiating helps to avoid issues in any event, it is obvious that those trying to police wearable technologies by restricting what can be worn by competitors is asking event officials to perform an impossible task. Restricting the wearing of a watch because it contains GPS capability is futile when the same technology is available in the shoe, the sports bra they have on or the ring they are wearing.

The market for wearable technology is forecasted by most sales and marketing experts to continue to grow – some estimate that nearly 500 million wearables will be sold by 2021. This massive expansion creates the potential for more coaches and athletes to be "connected" through some type of wearable technology. It is important that all involved (administrators, coaches, parents, student-athletes) understand the privacy and legal issues surrounding the sharing of personal biometric information. Discussions and steps should be taken to ensure that compliance with any Federal and State policies or laws are addressed appropriately.

Source: http://www.piaa.org/assets/web/documents/2019%20Track%20and%20Field%20Preseason%20Bulletin(1).pdf

Apple’s iPhone, a smart phone that gave similar feelings to the AutoCoach Smart Watch

Equipment , Tip

AutoCoach Stopwatches and the first iPhone

Article by Coach Randy Simon, Director of Fitness & Leisure at The American Club Singapore

When the original Apple iPhone came onto the market on 29 June, 2007, it was not the first so-called “smart phone.” Blackberry, Palm, and Windows already had different versions of smart phones on the market.

The arrival of the iPhone on the scene was a game-changer though. 

Virtually overnight people were intrigued with the design and wowed by what the phone could do. . . or more importantly with the launch of the App Store a year later, what it could be expanded to do.

For those of us who bought the iPhone (or later the Samsung and other Android variants) the unboxing experience was unique. It was exciting! You knew you had something special that you were holding in your hands. You knew it had potential that other phones didn’t have. In short, you knew it changed what you could do with a phone.

Along with that excitement came a bit of confusion though. It had a new operating system that you weren’t familiar with. It took some adjustment to get used to Apple’s intuitive interface. Knowing where to look to find things took some getting used to as well. After the initial wave of excitement of opening your new iPhone box wore off, came this sense of “Ok, now what do I do with it?” But as time moved forward, books and articles were written about different features that the phone had that most users didn’t know existed. With some learning, some study, lots of discovery and some help from friends, using and navigating the iPhones became quicker and easier.

Much the same can be said about the AutoCoach stopwatch. The AutoCoach smart stopwatch is a game-changer. It greatly expands what coaches have come to expect from a watch.

Yes, it tells times and splits. Yes, it can do stroke cycles. Most serious coaches have used the Seiko or one of any number of similar style watches.

But like the iPhone, the AutoCoach stopwatch can do much, much more. The more you learn about it, the more you see its potential and how it can improve one's coaching. And, it can improve the swim experience for the athletes.

Swim coach profile photo

 Randy Simon. swim coach and user of the AutoCoach Smart Watch

When I opened the box on my new AutoCoach stopwatch, I had the same feelings as I had when I opened my first box with a new iPhone. 

When I first heard the watch call out,  “On,” I thought “Wow! It’s talking to me!” But then as it powered up came the familiar “Ok, now what do I do?” I wasn’t sure what button to press next. It took some time to figure out the buttons, and how to navigate thru the menus. But doing so revealed more of what the watch could do with each new screen. The ability to time two swimmers on one watch, the link to the speaker so it will call out times and intervals to my swimmers. Pace modes, speed modes, race modes…beep tests, graphs, velocities. And thinking to myself “Hey, if I can time two lanes on one watch, I can time four lanes if I had two watches!” Why not?

I was already used to running practice with a watch in each hand. I’d learn more about groups later on.

The possibilities seemed endless. The first swim meet I attended with my new watch was an eye-opener. Instead of frantically calling out splits to my assistant (or doing it myself), counting strokes, watching turns, and breakout distances, I was calmly watching the race and listening to my watch call out most of that information to me. I was more into the race than I had been previously while also getting more info at the same
time.

With later additions of the software and now the AutoCoach One, even more possibilities have come online. With each comes a bit of a learning curve, but in the end, I'm seeing that I can spend more time on deck being a coach, and less time having to write down information. 

Stop watching the stopwatch, reflections

Elsewhere , Equipment , Technology

Watching the watch is not ideal

Good article about being occupied with the stopwatch and not what should be the focus, the swimmers. 

With the AutoCoach smart stopwatch, there are a number of built-in options that can be deployed to overcome this worst-case practice.

How to keep the focus on the swimmers.

First, the stop watch needs to have lots of memory. Just tap the button and the time is going to stay around. The AutoCoach watch holds 100 times in its memory. That's enough memory to cover a busy session at a swim meet and never need to stop and record a split. They are saved for later access.

Second, turn up the volume. With the AutoCoach stop watch, as the button is pushed, the time can be spoken to the coach. Listen for the split. 

Third, in a noisy situation, insert an ear plug and use the AUX jack so that a times can be spoken by the watch, but the audio travels into an ear bud. Then the others on the pool deck or in the stands don't need to hear the splits.

Fourth, set up a display and have a teammate record the times off of the display. Generally, the display should not be visible to the swimmers in the water while the race is occurring. A swimmer can sit with the paper, pencil and clipboard and have the portable scoreboard display the times. Then the times are written down by the teammate. Then the coach with the watch does not need to shout the times to the person with the paper and pencil. 

Fifth, the times from the watch can be sent wirelessly to the USB hub on a laptop. The laptop can grab all the times from the watch throughout the meet, saving them and keeping the records accurate and away from the edge of the swim pool. 

Apple watch in the pool

Equipment , Technology

If you swim with the Apple watch, I'd love to hear of your experiences in the comments below.

Wearable Computers and an alternative

The AutoCoach One is a device that fits under the swim cap and would be a different way to deploy many and perhaps much more of the tech elements found within the Apple Watch when in the swim pool. Sure, the Apple Watch does better when out of the pool, but in the pool, I think that the AutoCoach One is better suited for swimmers.

AutoCoach One is worn under the swim cap and has a computer interface to adjust its behaviors.

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