For triathletes, collecting telemetry received from devices during practice sessions and competition is nothing new. For example, today many competitors have computers attached to their bikes that display power/wattage, cadence, speed, and distance information helpful for improved efficient training and performance. Just like in cycling, there is now a technology that allows a swimmer to receive telemetry about their technique, and matched with mental training, can assist the tracking and training leading to improvement. Most of the emphasis on training relies on physical repetition as the gateway to excellence. The importance of training is not in doubt, but the way in which we engage with training on a daily basis can be optimized. When the training process is more exact and specific, it inevitably leads to better competition outcomes.
With advances in digital video combined with data acquisition systems, swimming stroke technique can now be measured efficiently. This type of telemetry called a “Velocity Meter” is now available for swimming and combines underwater digital video with an “instantaneous” recording of the velocity. (Figure 1) The “tracing” portion is collected at a high data rate, revealing the subtle changes in velocity swimming technique can cause. It graphically presents exactly where in the stroke a swimmer is accelerating and decelerating. Because this tracing is synchronized with digital video, the swimmer and coach can visually go frame by frame to see where all of the different phases of velocity occur.
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by Budd Termin