Category Archives for "Tip"

Mask the entry times in seconds and tenths and hundreth-of-seconds with CalderaForms

Technology , Tip

See the other blog posting on the other site, Code.CLOH.org, for more insights.

For the benefit of fellow coders, and my fleeting memory:

The embed fits between the red lines below. Have to go to option "I" to find the success.


Aim is to get the masking to work so a time can be entered into the field without an error.

Time could be two digits for seconds and perhaps up to 2 digits for tenths and hundreths of seconds after a period.

Calculations need to work too.

Set up as single line text field with :99.99.

But should not allow, :79.99

Number such as 13.04 does not work

Total:


Must be 4 digits to do the math

Total:


Mask set at **.** Foil if char. Fails if not 4 digits.

Total:


Plus show up in field. Fail always.

Total:

[9|*] Fails as allows only 1 digit

Total:


[99.99|*] Fails, only 1 digit.

No pipe char. Brackets in. [99.99*]

Total:


Brackets out 99.99*

Total:


Bingo! This works, finally.

Can not put in 1-minute and 3 seconds and 10 tenths, such as 1:03.10. That number does not add. But, can put in 14, 14.1, 14.11 or even 14.11111111. The end result in the adding is money format, so it will keep to just 2 decimal places.

Do NOT make the field a HTML type as NUMBER as the decimal places cause a FAIL. [{9*}] but as type NUMBER, FAIL with 14.2 due to decimals.

[{9*}] as single line text and type text

Total:


[{9*}] but as type NUMBER, FAIL with 14.2 due to decimals.

Total:


Damien Gogoll, coach, author

How to coach swimmers’ starts, dives, underwater streamlines and breakouts with the AutoCoach stopwatch

Technology , Tip

Originally by Damien Gogoll

In the weeks leading up to a major competition, I allocate roughly 10-to-15-minutes every third-or-fourth sessions to practice race starts. The purpose of this is to refine the swimmers’ starts, underwater work and breakouts.

By using the AutoCoach stopwatch and speaker in Interval mode, the starts come automatically at the selected interval. For example, a start command and beep can be played every ten-seconds. The watch communicates the commands in a wireless fashion to the speaker(s) in a continual fashion until the watch is made to STOP with a long push on the right top button.

With the speakers projecting the voice commands and the beeps, the coach on deck doesn't have to do those tasks and start the swimmers. With the system's help, the coach gets more time to focus on watching the starts and providing feedback.

This benefits the swimmers for a couple of reasons:

  1. Greater feedback and refining is provided by the coaches to the swimmers for their starts.
  2. Faster reaction times develop for the swimmers when going off the blocks due to them constantly hearing the correct race commands.
"Take your marks!” and then the BEEP and FLASH of the starting signals.

Set up this function of the AutoCoach stopwatch by pressing the left side button and rotating the top right button to the desired interval between starts. A favorite in this situation is :10-seconds.

To assess swimmers’ progress, you can time the swimmers to 15-meters or 25-meters and compare times each week. By adding in the LED Screen the times are displayed, giving even more time to focus techniques and what the swimmers are actually doing, rather than the times they swam.

Performance Measurements: What to measure during training and racing and how to analyze the data

Tip

Damien Gogoll, coach, author

Damien Gogoll, coach, author

First in a series of performance measurement postings for high performance swim coaches and swimmers.

Originally by Damien Gogoll, Head Coach, PLC Aquatic Swim Club, silver license

At the end of the day, a swimming race is all about time. Who swims the fastest time on the day wins the race. We measure improvement by time. Coaching comes down to what we can change, manipulate and improve in order to get our swimmers swimming the fastest time possible. 

Technique, fitness, strength, flexibility and efficiency are just some of the aspects coaches look at in order to improve the swimmers time. The challenge is to find a simple, reliable and valid way to measure these aspects so we can be sure if an improvement has been made. This is the start of a series of articles that covers common and less common ways to measure performance.

Since Forbes Carlile, being an innovator with his pace clock and many other measurement tools, coaches have introduced various tools to measure key components of swimming. Below are some key measurements used by coaches and sports scientists to evaluate swimmers’ performance.

Times and Splits

All swimming coaches have one major tool: a stopwatch. 

The stopwatch is trustworthy and reliable. The stopwatch is the coach’s tape measure. Just as a builder measures everything, so does the swimming coach. The basic stopwatch is able to measure the swimmers' time for specific distances (the race or training set) and their lap-times or split-times within this distance. The words lap-times, split-times and splits are interchangeable. Likewise, laps and lengths are often interchangeable. 

Lap-times are extremely useful data for the swimmer and coach in highlighting the strengths and weaknesses in a race. Identifying the slower lap-times and setting goal lap-times for training to improve the slower lap-time is one way to use the data from a race to improve. ​

It is important to consider that a single lap is made up of different components which can be measured individually.

Common sections of a two length swim race that get measured include:
(start of race) 
Dive
Underwater
Breakout
Swim
Turn
Wall
Turn
Underwater
Breakout
Swim
Finish
(end of race)

By breaking the laps into the above sections, coaches can identify specific skills that might need improving. Tracking these consistent measurements helps in identifying improvements over time. For example: if you identify the turn is slow in a race and you have timed the 5-meters-in-and-10-meters-out in a race, you can then set a goal time for this distance. This will give the swimmer a specific target to reach.

The finer skill as a coach is then identifying the specific movements and techniques that can be improved to reach the goal time for the turn.

Be consistent with the measurements you take during races and training. Take the measurements at the same distance for accurate comparisons. It is wise to get the spots directly at the 15-meter and 35-meter marks.

Stroke Rates

While splits (lap times) and times are extremely useful for the swimmer and coach, the ability to measure a swimmers efficiency is even more helpful. Measuring the stroke rate (SR, number of strokes per minute) allows coaches to identify the swimmer's tempo and is easily measured in the majority of stop watches (either 1, 2 or 3 stroke cycles are used depending on the stop watch’s set up).

Stroke rates can identify areas in the race where a swimmer slows his or her tempo. Slower tempo measurements could possibly be due to fatigue or various reasons.  or where the swimmer over rates - this is common in breaststroke. There are guidelines on the ideal stroke rate for each distance and stroke for males and females. However, it is important to work out what works best for each swimmer.

By taking swimmers' ratings in sprint sets and several races, coaches can begin to develop an ideal rating for each swimmer. It then comes down to the swimmers and coaches abilities to identify the important measures and to determine if the ratings needs to be modified in coordination with the development and improvement of the swimmers. Youngsters grow. Fitness improves. These measurements can be accurate but they often move and trend in certain directions.

Comparing ratings within a race can help identify sections of the race that can be improved. For example if a male in the 100-meter freestyle event has a rating of 80 in the first 25-meters, then a 60 in the second and third lengths, and finally in the fourth length the number drops to 40, it would appear that the swimmer is over rating in the first length, which is affecting the rating in the last length. If you were analyzing just the ratings, it would be smart for the swimmer to focus on controlling the rating in the first 25-meters so he can maintain a consistent rating throughout the race.

Stroke Count

The number of strokes a swimmer does each lap is a vital measurement in establishing the efficiency of their strokes. This simple but often under used measure is vital in teaching swimmers to be efficient in their movements and increasing the ‘hold’ or ‘feel’ of the water. For junior squads, having stroke count sets during training can begin the process of the swimmers' awareness of their strokes. As swimmers develop it is important to vary the speed when doing stroke count (SC) so it can be compared to their race. It is easy to have a low stroke count when swimming easy, however when racing, it is much harder to keep the stroke count down.

The Efficiency set is a great way to develop effective stroke counts at varying speeds. The Efficiency set is 8 x 50-meters on 1:30, recording the time and stroke count,
#1 is Personal Best time (PB) + 15-seconds;
#2 is PB  + 13;
#3 is PB + 11;
#4 is PB + 9;
#5 is PB + 7;
#6 is PB + 5;
#7 is PB + 3;
#8 is PB + 1.

See the chapter in the Swimming Test Set eBook on the Efficiency Set for a form to help administer this test set within your program.

The aim is to keep a consistent stroke count over all 50-meters swims while reaching the target time. The challenge for the swimmer is to not swim too fast in the first three repeats and not swim too slow in the last two repeats.

The second challenge is to hold a consistent stroke count. It might take several attempts to master the set, but it is a great tool for identifying swimmers who are unable to maintain a low stroke count at high speeds.

Distance Per Stroke, also called DPS

The distance a swimmer travels during each stroke cycle is a fantastic measurement that tells how far a swimmer is travelling (in meters or yards) for each stroke cycle. In training, swimmers can be reminded to aim for more distance per stroke which will reduce their stroke count. However, actually measuring DPS is harder than stroke count. For a rough guide you can use the lane-rope sections. In some pools, the lane lines are built with one-meter sections. In the USA, the lane lines are often built with different color beads in one-yard sections. Each pool is different and often each lane rope is different.

DPS can be measured using video analysis software. However, few coaches
have access to that software. Furthermore, few coaches have the time to figure out DPS for each swimmer.

Stroke Count could be seen as an indirect measure of Distance Per Stroke (DPS).

For example, if a swimmer does 25 strokes in 50-meters, a quick calculation says the swimmer travels 2-meters per stroke. However most coaches will up the mistaken assumption and neglect the swimmer's push off distance and the swimmer's several underwater kicks. Therefore, the distance swam was reduced. The value of the DPS was not true. How far did the swimmer actually swim is a valid concern when trying to figure out the DPS by length. Plus, did the swimmer's stroke rate change throughout the length? A change in stroke rate would affect the distance the swimmer travels in the stroke cycle, perhaps. Be careful when using stroke count (SC) as a measure for
calculating distance per stroke (DPS).

Velocity (displacement / time)

Knowing a swimmers velocity for each length (or within a length) of a race is useful in identifying where a swimmer is slowing down and where improvements can be made.

Unfortunately this measurement is rarely used as it is complex to calculate and the majority of coaches use ratings and times to evaluate this. If used, however it can be an informative tool for both the swimmers and coach to work out areas of the race where the velocity of the swimmer drops. Often swimmers don’t realize they are slowing down as they feel like they are working harder. However, with fatigue, the swimmers put in more effort and move through the water slower.

Basic Summary

DPS, Velocity, Stroke Rates, Stroke Counts are just some examples of what is commonly measured in swimming training and racing. Coaches should not be afraid to experiment. Of course, experiment without putting any harm.

Consider what aspect of a stroke, race or swimmers movement to measure and design sets to help measure this. It is important that your set actually measures what you are wanting to measure. So consider carefully how you will measure it to ensure the change is as a result of the aspect and not something else. It is also important to be consistent with the measurements you take at training and in races.

Continue reading and learn about stroke index and SWOLF.

More on performance measurements, part 3. Stroke Index.

Tip

Stroke Index, shown as SI, equals Stroke Length x Velocity

STROKE INDEX (SI) = STROKE LENGTH x VELOCITY

Original by Damien Gogoll, PLC Aquatic Swim Club, Head Coach

The previous articles covered measurements that coaches use in swimming:

  • Times (splits)
  • Stroke Rate
  • Stroke Count
  • Distance Per Stroke
  • Velocity
  • SWOLF (swimming golf)

All of these measures are extremely useful in assessing improvement in a swimmer’s performance and are widely used among high performance coaches around the world.

The ultimate aim of a swim coach: "To train the swimmer to swim the given distance of the race in the shortest time possible."

This posting's focus is upon a lesser known efficiency measurement, STROKE INDEX. Stroke index is abbreviated as SI. 

Stroke index is another swim coaching measurement tool. To understand stroke index (SI), let’s first take a step back and look at one of the overall aims of swim coaching:

Coaches measure swimmers' performances with simple and complex markers.

Quite simply, coaches worry about the outcomes, the swimmers' times for each of the races and the place they came in the races.

However, as coaches look to improve the race times of the swimmers, coaches can’t just say, "Swim faster." Smarter coaches need to be more specific in what can be improved to reduce their swimmers' times. Many variables can influence a swimmer’s time including technique, fitness, strength, power, psychological state, training phase. The list of variables that impact swim times goes on, seemingly, infinitely. 

Measuring these variables and comparing them is the best way to identify what and how to improve the swimmers time.

From a biomechanical and physiological point of view, how can we improve a swimmers time?

Working on a swimmers efficiency in the water (both technique and energy production) jumps out as the most logical answer. Looking at one basic principle of forces, it is important to ensure that the propulsive forces are significantly larger than the resisting forces that are applied to the swimmer, for the duration of the race. The relationship between these two forces can be complex and many facets can influence changes
to this relationship. Remember the environment we are dealing with is fluid and constantly changing, a movement from the swimmer will influence the forces applied to the swimmer.

Two major facets swim coaches look at to improve the net force created by a swimmer are:

  • Swimming Technique
  • Physiology of the Swimmers 

Net Force = Propulsive Forces minus Resisting Forces

Both technique and physiology influence the net force created.

Technique:

Finding the optimal positions for the swimmer to be in to allow them to efficiently apply
the greatest propulsive force while minimizing the resisting forces for the entire race is
vital.

As each swimmer is different, it is important to teach each swimmer and each stroke
individually, but apply the key principles of reducing resistance and then increasing
propulsion.

Finding the right movement pattern for each individual to achieve effective
and efficient propulsive forces while reducing the resisting forces is the aim. This can be
limited by the swimmers' physique, age, cognition and movement-pattern-retention
abilities.

Great coaches can visually observe efficient and inefficient technique. However it is important to be able to actually measure techniques. There are many ways to measure efficient technique in training. In racing; Stroke Count, Stroke Length and Stroke Rate are simple measurements that are often used.

Efficient technique sets the swimmer up to apply the propulsive forces in the most effective way.

Physiology:

The definition of physiology in swimming means, the ability to apply the propulsive forces on the water efficiently for the duration of the race while maintaining a body shape and position that reduces the resisting forces applied to the body.

This includes, but is not limited to, building up a swimmers strength, power, production of energy within the muscles, and the removal of by-products from the
energy production.

Once a swimmer has efficient technique, it is much easier to develop the physiological systems to increase the propulsive forces.

Stroke Index

Stroke index measures a swimmer’s efficiency for an exact point in their race or training. The higher the stroke index value, the more efficient the swimmer is.

Stroke index = Stroke Length X Velocity of swimmer during stroke length
Stroke Length

Stroke length is the distance traveled by the swimmer in one complete arm cycle. A complete arm cycle (One stroke in Breaststroke or Butterfly, a left and right arm stroke combined in both backstroke and freestyle). This is otherwise known as Distance per Stroke (DPS).

How is stroke length useful to a swimmer and a coach?

If we look back at the overall aim of the swimmer in a race, it is to get to the finish as fast as possible (ultimately to be the first to finish). Increasing the distance travelled for each arm cycle will reduce the number of strokes taken. Reducing the number of strokes taken results in less disruption of the water, less changes in body position and most importantly reducing the resistant forces applied to the swimmers body.

With less resisting forces applied to the body, overall net force is increased. Furthermore, the body is able to use less energy in counteracting the resisting forces which frees up more energy to create propulsive forces. However as coaches, we know that having the longest stroke alone doesn’t result in swimming as fast as you can. It is a combination of stroke length and the speed of the stroke that determines fast swimming. As mentioned above, there are other factors that influence fast swimming, however we are just focusing on these two factors.

Velocity during measured Stroke Length

The velocity of a swimmer is simply the distance traveled divided by the time it took to travel that distance. In relation to Stroke Index, the velocity is as follows:

VELOCITY = Stroke Length (SL) ÷ Time taken to travel SL

The velocity of a swimmer’s stroke is one of the most under used measurements within swimming. Ultimately, velocity is under used because velocity requires calculations. Go figure, calculations need to be done. Let’s face it, the majority of coaches don’t have
time nor desire to a lot of calculations.

The higher the velocity (also known as speed) of the swimmer, the faster the swimmers are going, However doing the velocity calculations with a lone velocity point doesn’t give an accurate indication of how a swimmer is performing in a race. For instance, a swimmer may have a velocity of (1.8meters per second) in the first 50-m of a 200-meter race. But then on the second length, the velocity might drop to (1.0-meters per second) for the last three segments. By only taking and looking at one velocity point, the coach is sure to miss the fact that there is a significant drop in velocity after the first 50-meters.

By taking velocities during each lap of a race, and comparing them to each other, can quickly show a coach and swimmer the laps in a race that need addressing in order to improve.

Measured individually, Velocity and Stroke Length are great indicators of efficiency. However, both have downfalls.

A swimmer can have great stroke length. However there is a point at which this comes at
a sacrifice of speed. All swim coaches will have had a swimmer who is able to get a really long stroke, but it isn’t fast.

A swimmer can have an extremely high velocity for part of the race, but at what point is it detrimental to the rest of the race. If you just look at the velocity you will not know the length of each stroke.

How the Stroke Index helps coaches

Stroke Index allows for easy comparison:

  • a) within a swimmers race (each 25-meter or 50-meters)
  • b) Between a swimmer's races (heats and semi-finals, or between swim meets)
  • c) Among swimmers (International swimmers compared to National or State level swimmers)
Care with Comparisons

Comparisons of Stroke Index (SI) values among strokes or among swimmers can be useful. However, care must be taken. Comparisons are most accurate when comparing to a swimmer of similar ability and similar physical size (e.g. stroke length) for the same stroke. However the ability to compare the efficiency of groups of swimmers (e.g. international level to State level) can provide useful data.

As Stroke Index (SI) multiplies Stroke Length and Velocity, it takes the two values to produce one score which is an efficiency factor. In a similar way to SWOLF (combining Time & Stroke Count) giving one score, Stroke Index also gives one score. This score can tell us how efficiently a swimmer is moving through the water, A higher value indicates greater efficiency. Therefore, it is easy to compare sections of a race to establish when a swimmer is more or less efficient.

A coach and swimmer can easily identify and analyze the sections of the race that are less efficient in an effort to establish why. It would be assumed that the Net Force produced by the swimmer has decreased either by a reduction in Propulsive forces or by an increase in resistive forces. Further analysis to identify the cause would be carried out, with many outcomes possible.

The swimmers kick (and how much contribution it has to the overall stroke) can influence their performance. Using a comparison between a swimmer’s Pull and Swim SI’s can identify the contribution their kick has. Simply measure the SI over a 50-meter Pull and a 50-meter Swim. E.g. 50-M free index pull = 3.6, 50-M free index with kick index = 4.1, therefore kick contribution is 0.5. Testing the kick contribution in this manner is can be more beneficial than timing swimmers with kick only, as some swimmers may not efficiently integrate their kick into the stroke body movement cycle.

Calculating Stroke Index

There are two ways to calculate the Stroke index (this requires some simple middle school math, a spreadsheet or calculator or simply just use an AutoCoach stop watch.

In order to calculate the Stroke Index you will need to take:

  • 1) A Stroke Rating
  • 2) A time for the distance traveled
  • 3) The distance traveled

It is recommended that measurements are taken after the first 15-meters of a length to allow the swimmer to reach a more consistent velocity and ensures the measuring the actual stroke and not effects of the start, turn or push-offs.

Example:

An elite freestyle swimmer recorded a rating of 36 with a time of 20.0 for the last 35-meters of a 50-meter lap.

Option 1

Step 1: Calculate the number of stroke cycles for the section being measured:

Number of stroke cycles = stroke rating (per minute) * time (in minutes)

Number of stroke cycles = 36 * (20/60)
Number of stroke cycles = 12 stroke cycles

Step 2: Calculate the Distance per stroke for the section being measured:

Distance per stroke = distance / number of stroke cycles.

Distance per stroke = 35 / 12
Distance per stroke = 2.91-meters

Step 3: Calculate the Average Velocity for the section being measured:

Average velocity = Distance (M) / Time(S) in meters per second

Average velocity = 35 / 20
Average velocity = 1.75-meters per second

Step 4: Calculate the stroke index

Stroke Index = Velocity * Distance per stroke

Stroke Index = 1.75 * 2.91
Stroke Index = 5.09

Option 2

Step 1: Calculate the number of stroke cycles for the section being measured:

Number of stroke cycles = stroke rating (per minute) * time (in minutes)

Number of stroke cycles = 36 * (20/60)
Number of stroke cycles = 12 stroke cycles

Step 2: Calculate the Distance per stroke for the section being measured:

Distance per stroke = distance / number of stroke cycles.

Distance per stroke = 35 / 12
Distance per stroke = 2.91-meters

Step 3: Calculate the Stroke Frequency (number of stroke cycles per second)

Stroke Frequency = stroke rating / 60

Stroke Frequency = 36 / 60
Stroke Frequency = 0.6 /second

Step 4: Calculate the Stroke Index

Stroke Index = Distance per stroke * Distance per stroke * stroke frequency

Stroke Index = DPS * DPS * SF
Stroke Index = 2.91 * 2.91 * 0.6
Stroke Index = 5.08

Putting meaning to figures: Based on the example above (Freestyle)

  • A Velocity of 1.75meters / second would result in a 50-m time of 28.57 seconds
  • A DPS of 2.91-meters per arm cycle equates to 1.46-meters per arm stroke.

If you consider the arm span of a swimmer is approximately their height (1.8-meters) then the hand will travel 1.8-meters backwards. However, the body will only travel 1.46-meters forwards. This equates to a slip of 0.34-meters. Using the analogy of a swimmer grabbing onto a fixed solid object (e.g. a lane rope) and pulling themselves forwards, the body would move forward 1.8-meters. Due to the fluidity of water, it is a challenge for a swimmer to travel forwards without any slip (unless they have an extremely solid pull and propelling kick.

Hate math or don’t have time to do the above calculations?

The Autocoach stop watch can automatically calculate the following measures by simply taking a rating and split time:

  • Velocity
  • Stroke Length (Distance Per Stroke)
  • SWOLF
  • Stroke Index.

Pace Clock with Six Time Cycles

Tip

AutoCoach's pace clock does colors with a purpose and handles six time cycles

This feature of the pace clock from AutoCoach helps coaches and squads manage multiple time cycles. 

The AutoCoach LED Display (ACS250) has a feature that allows coaches to spend more time coaching as the swimmers can look at the pace clock and know when they leave on the next send-off.

If you have 2 squads training at once with some swimmers doing free, some back, some breast and some fly, they will all be on a variety time cycles. As a coach it is challenging to ensure they are all on the right cycle and know they are leaving on the right time.

The Autocoach pace clock now displays 6 different time cycles (each cycle in a different color).

The colors change number every 5 or 10 seconds apart (depending on the coaches set up). If a swimmer is on the red time cycle and leaves on the number 1, the swimmer will always leave on the red 1. Simple!

Time cycles can be set 5 or 10 seconds apart (e.gg: 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65 or 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90) and start at a 20 cycle and can go up to 4 minutes. You can also select if the space between swimmers is 5 or 10 seconds apart.

“The pace clock with six time cycles has revolutionized how I coach, it takes 10 seconds to set up and I have it running the whole session. In a smaller club where I have large ranges in speeds all training at once, I know swimmers will know when to leave. Rather than being a record repeating “Ready, Go!” I can now spend more time analyzing and correcting technique resulting in faster swimmers”.

Damien Gogoll, PLC Aquatic Swim Club, Head Coach

Objective and subjective performance measures

Technology , Test Set , Tip

Objective and subjective performance measures are used to classify the various types of performance measures.

Objective performance measures are independent of the observer. That means the
measurement is done using something other than the person observing.

This independent measure can include: a stop-watch, measuring tape or record of goals. The objectivity of the performance measure is increased through measures such as: time, checklists, or established criteria.

In contrast, subjective performance measures are dependent on the observer and based on opinions, feelings, and general impressions. Subjective measures rely more on the
observer than independent measures.

Sports such as dance and gymnastics are more subjective than objective in their measures.

Types of training and training methods

  • aerobic, e.g., continuous, Fartlek, aerobic interval, circuit
  • anaerobic, e.g., anaerobic interval
  • flexibility, e.g., static, ballistic, PNF, dynamic
  • strength training, e.g., free/fixed weights, elastic, hydraulic

Types of measure methods

  • ultimate measure – time, and only time.
  • contributing ‘speed’ measures – reaction and block time, turn time, velocity.
  • efficiency measures – stroke rate, stroke index.
  • efficiency / technique - fitness : time & distance.
  • training – objective measures : what awareness is possible.

Setting Tomorrow’s Pace

Marketing , outreach , Tip

Original article by Matt Welsh, OAM

When people picture swimming training the images that come to mind usually include steam coming off the water before an early morning session, drink bottles lined up at the end of each lane, coaches walking back and forth watching the swimmers, and of course, you always need a pace clock.

Pace clocks are synonymous with swimming training. 

The coaches like pace clocks because they keep the practice session running on time and ensures that all the swimmers are spaced evenly rather that leaving at random times.

The swimmers like pace clocks as they give instant feedback on their progress and sometimes can even help count how many laps or repeats they have done.

Pace clock from Keifer at Wheeling, WV, The Lindsey School.

But pace clocks are so much more than that. Interval training is a vital part of improving your swimming fitness and efficiency. Getting the work/rest interval right is so important to the success of any session. Whether you want high intensity workouts with a longer recovery or you want to focus more on technique but keep the session moving along, the right time cycle ensures that you get the most from any session. Pearson’s Law states, “That which is measured improves”.

Although continuously swimming laps can be of some benefit, it can also be very boring. Interval training can not only help with fitness, but can also increase mental stimulation by breaking up the session. And even just keeping on the time cycle can keep your mind active and more focused.

Learning to use a pace clock to know when to leave, work out your lap times and how much rest you have should be part of any young swimmer’s development. Up until now almost all pace clocks have been the old analogue style, usually with two opposing hands so you can choose to leave on the ‘black top’ or the ‘red top’. While this type of pace clock has served us well for a long time more and more pools are now choosing a digital pace clock for many reasons.

The first reason is that the digital clocks are far more accurate. Now that might seem obvious and maybe not that important, as really, how different can they be?

But most swimmers will know when two pace clocks at either end of the pool are not synchronized it can be very difficult to know just when to leave.

Some digital pace clocks can even be synchronized remotely so you’re always
on time.

The digital pace clocks are also much easier to read. When a swimmer first looks up to the clock to see their time, they need to see the hand and where it is on the clock – which seems easy but with water in their face it can often take a second or two to get a good picture of their result.

With a digital pace clock the first view is precise, and instantly gives them the feedback on how good their swim was and how much rest they have before they need to leave again.

Analogue pace clocks are designed to be viewed from directly in front but often are viewed from multiple angles either from lane one to lane eight or from one end of the pool to the other. This change in angle can sometimes make it difficult to get an accurate reading. Digital pace clocks have a much larger viewing angle and show the same time no matter where you are in the pool.

Digital pace clocks are also more versatile. They not only can show seconds, but also minutes and even hours. And when linked in with a timing system can even show a swimmer’s exact time from the coaches stop watch.

Often, when a group of swimmers leave on ‘the black top’ there will usually be a spread of a couple of seconds. Some will leave early and others a little late. However, when a digital pace clock is used the swimmers usually all leave on the correct time, meaning that the time they see when they return is an accurate one.

Some pace clocks can even be linked to a speaker giving the swimmers an audible indication of when to leave, making their pace even more reliable and more accurate.

Digital Pace Clocks :
  • Are more accurate
  • Can be synchronized with ease
  • Are easier to read
  • Have a greater viewing angle
  • Can sometimes be linked to a speaker or timing system

Pace clocks are one of the best pieces of equipment at the pool. 

They can help your improvement like none other. Analogue clocks have been an integral part of swimming training for years and now digital pace clocks with their versatility, accuracy and added functionality are moving interval training to the next level.

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