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“It’s going to basically demystify what it takes to make an Olympic final, what it takes to make the Olympics,” said TritonWear CEO Tristan Lehari.
18-year-old Chen Juner of China just ripped a time of 1:49.61 in the 200 butterfly to overtake the previous national record and World Junior Record.
This week on the SwimSwam Breakdown, we discuss 2 new world records, swimming in the NCAA, and Simone Manuel’s return to racing.
Ashlyn Hernandez’s best times would have scored in the B final of the 200 breast and the C final of the 100 breast at 2022 Pac-12s.
Inizia la tappa di Toronto della FINA World Cup e vogliamo darvi 5 buoni motivi per seguire le gare in programma questo week end
Oltre al WR nei 400 stile libero, altri due primati nazionali sono caduti nel primo giorno dei Campionati Cinesi in vasca corta
The NC State Wolfpack received a verbal commitment on Thursday from their second top 10 recruit in less than a week: Lily Christianson from Indiana.
25-year-old Katie Ledecky is searching for her first SCM world record at her third-ever SCM race this weekend in Toronto.
Hayes is the #2-ranked recruit in the girls class of 2024, and comes in with the accolades of being a worlds medalist and a former world junior record holder.
October 26th, 2022
FINA is entering a new frontier with its recent rule change regarding wearable technology in races taking effect Jan. 1, 2023.
Technological breakthroughs in the past decade have paved the way for increasingly small sensors to be placed in swim caps or suits, capturing information such as push-off strength, maximum acceleration off the wall, and stroke rate throughout a race.
“The use of technology and automated data collection devices is permissible for the sole purpose of collecting data,” the new rule says. “Automated devices shall not be utilized to transmit data, sounds, or signals to the swimmer and may not be used to aid their speed.”
The data flow is only one-way, so metrics cannot be shared with swimmers in real time — at least not yet — but the democratization of swimming analytics still figures to have far-reaching effects on athletes, coaches, and media alike.
“We don’t know every aspect of this, but we thought this was the right time to make this right step,” said Mike Unger, who’s beginning his second year as director of sports competition at FINA. “And where does the data go? It could be whatever athlete is at the highest level, whether this be at the Games or World Championships or whether this be at a local competition, coaches and athletes are going to make decisions on how to best use it, and take it forward to hopefully help athletes and coaches be better. That’s a big goal here. It can be done internally within the sport within our endemic world that we’re in, or if it can attract sponsors or broadcasters, who knows? This maybe opens up a category that FINA hasn’t thought about before, as a sponsor, for instance, or a partner or supplier in some way.”
TritonWear CEO Tristan Lehari said the wealth of data will “demystify” the daunting challenge of reaching the Olympics by providing performance benchmarks in a variety of areas.
“Right now, we have time standards that we aim for, no matter what level of athlete,” Lehari said. “What we’re going to have now because we’re going to have access to all this data for all levels of athletes in every country around the world, we’re now going to have this massive database that we can build standards not just based on time but based on speed underwater, push-off acceleration, stroke rates, distance per stroke, whatever it is. All the different metrics we’ll have as inputs and targets that we’re aiming for.
“So it’s going to basically demystify what it takes to make an Olympic final, what it takes to make the Olympics,” Lehari explained. “Not just based on these times that seem four or six years out almost unattainable for an athlete, but what skills do I need to do? What inputs do I need to put in the system to have that time happen at the end of the race? So from an awareness and education perspective, that’s just going to bleed down to the entire swimming community in a really positive way.”
FINA Technical Swimming Committee chairperson Craig Hunter pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic as another reason to modernize the sport and make it as attractive as possible to younger audiences.
“I think we’ve just got to be as open-minded as we can,” Hunter said. “I mean, I think we all recognize the challenges of the world that we live in. COVID took away literally tens of thousands, if not millions of young kids from sport, and swimming in particular. So we’ve got to make it as appealing as possible. Embracing technology and how that’s going to help to develop our sport can only be a good thing.”
For FINA’s forward-thinking leadership, being open-minded means revisiting old conversations about why swimming has traditionally been against any form of pacing during races.
“Other sports like track and field, for instance, if you’re running the 1500 meters, after you pass 400 meters, you see your split,” Unger said. “It’s right in front of you, like you don’t even have to look up there’s a clock as you pass the finish line. There’s a clock that tells you what your split was. Why can’t we do that in swimming? Again, we don’t have the answer to that yet. We’re not saying it’s a permissible thing. But it’s something that we are being open-minded about considering.”
Unger also noted that most backstrokers can already see their splits up on the scoreboard at major events. “So it’s already happening to a degree, circumstantially.”
How technology fits into the future of racing remains to be decided. FINA officials say that creating a process for approval of any gear is a priority, but there are no details yet with a few months still to go before implementation of the new rule. If FINA’s adoption of video review is any indication, however, a lot can change in a short amount of time.
“I think a classic example of how things can change pretty quickly: When we first introduced the use of underwater judging video cameras (in 2019), it was always to review the call that had been made on the deck,” Hunter said. “And within 12 months, we were moving to real-time officiating. So the judges started to use it in real time to initiate a call.”
Both Unger and Hunter offered examples from other sports when speculating about practical uses of the technology.
“I think there’s a lot of interest from broadcasters that this might be another angle to look at,” Unger said. “What data is captured that can be really important? If you’ve ever watched poker, they track what your heart rate is like, what your blink rate is like — all that sort of biometric data. There’s still some lack of understanding about what we want in that area, but there’s so many data points that anyone else can just look at. Stroke count, for instance, stroke rate. There are swim geeks who would like the data, but there are also non-swimming people who might find it interesting as well.”
Hunter brought up a recent cross country skiing competition during which the race’s leader was interviewed via headset halfway through his race.
“Now if you’ve ever cross country skied, you know how incredibly hard it is, and I’ve done some and it’s killing,” Hunter said. “But there he was, with a completely controlled heart rate, and giving this kind of interview. Now I’m not suggesting we would do anything like that, but the world is moving on so, so quickly, and it’s important as a sport that we continue to develop as well.”
It’s an exciting time in the world of swimming with leaders seemingly willing to push the boundaries more than ever before.
“We’re trying to make changes in the sport that are smart, methodical changes,” Unger said.
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Looking at it from the aspect of an age group and masters coach, masters swimmer, and professional data nerd in my day job, I think this stuff is fascinating. I don’t coach anyone who is at the level of *needing* to use this kind of data analytics to improve their performance on the national or world stage, nor am I remotely close to that level myself, but I think there is real value in that data.
All this is said without me using any of the tech products out there, Tritonwear or any of the others I’ve heard mentioned here on swimswam, so I don’t know what kind of data they can actually capture.
If one of them could capture… Read more »
The data has always been there
You can watch
and measure any cyclical sport and break into components
Race analysis is not complicated
I have seen my uncle pour through stats from his watch as a triathlete.
Items such as heart rate, max heart rate, oxygen level, recovery rate and level.
Obviously one can delve too deep into the numbers but if you use common sense, surface level insight and look for generalities there’s cool information you can obtain.
Triathletes are the worst. And they know every number there is to know about themselves and their training and performance by heart. And they’ll report it all back to you whether you want to know it or not.
What even is a flipping “swolf”?
SwimSwam should be a bit more forthcoming that this is essentially sponsored content for TritonWear. Unless you no longer are considering them to be a paid partner?
In this case, it is just a quote from a person who will gain from this, probably not a paid article
Wearable Technology: “We have demystified the way to get you….12 year old boy….to the Olympic Games finals! We have charted all your data for the past 12 months…you are on your way!”
12 Year Old Boy: <grows 3 inches and puts on 10lbs>
Wearable Technology: Never mind…all your data points are now irrelevant. START AGAIN!!
12 Year Old Boy: But my Dad thinks I need to make the Olympics by the time I get to 15, that’s why he bought this expensive tech for me.
Also Wearable Technology: Oh, and don’t worry about the fact you drop your left elbow for zero anchor and breath in and out of both walls…..LET’S GET THAT BLINK RATE ANALYZED!!!… Read more »
I hear what you’re saying. And I’m definitely in favor of the de-professionalization of youth sports.
But coaches are not innocent in this either, though they like to blame the parents.
I looked up my local little league baseball league. Cost is $85/player for a 2 month season. So $42.50/month
I looked up my local USA Swimming swim team. Cost for HS is $2,360/year + $40/month membership + $100 due at registration, less for younger swimmers. So somewhere between $200/swimmer/month and $350/swimmer/month, plus meet fees. On top of that, coaches start around age 8 telling swimmers that missing a practice 5+ days/week is unacceptable.
When people are spending that much on a sport and you work on that kind of… Read more »
I actually don’t disagree with one thing you wrote. So no arguments from me.
I think my purpose was to add a fairly sarcastic “oh here we go again” post super-suit invention era.
Plenty of finger pointing can go around as always. And no one group is innocent of it.
Here’s a positive takeaway: I think there’s a subset of kids that you can engage on a higher level using tech. Especially in a new tech-native generation.
I hated swimming for most of my childhood. I didn’t get it. It all seemed random to me. I couldn’t tie the misery in the lanes to any tangible result. But I was also the kid who went home and calculated the 2.5% interest rate on my savings account daily and used it to motivate myself to do more chores to increase my allowance. I was the kid who at one point had 60 fantasy teams, because I just loved poring through the numbers.
To this day, I hate working out, but what… Read more »
I’m just now coming to terms that the feelings I had driving to practice everyday was serious anxiety. Which, I think was caused by putting pressure on myself with the mentality that I have to show up for every single practice, and if I don’t I am going to go backwards.
Wouldn’t the equivalent of a 2 month little league season be summer league? Those are usually what, 6 weeks?
Also not affiliated with USA Swimming, so they have that going for them, too.
This is apples to oranges comparison. There are also recreation (non USA) swim teams that are inexpensive intro to the sport.
Competitive baseball (in pricing, commitment and travel) would be equivalent to USA swim.
why does everything about this sound like me and things I do
“I think there’s a lot of interest from broadcasters that this might be another angle to look at,” Unger said.
I want one thing and one thing only – more detailed breakdowns of how long it took swimmers to leave the blocks.
That should be the only thing discussed during the entire race.
“He just breaks all of their hearts that first 15 meters.” – RG
watch any MLB, NBA, NFL game…all about the “next gen” stats…how many times do you see “exit velo” for homers in a MLB game? Time for swimming to join in….can’t wait for ROwdy Gaines to announce that Dressel dolphin kick off a start has a 5 MPH thrust (or whatever stats/jargon they come up with) which is tops in the world….
All I wanna hear about is thrust.
GIVE ME NOTHING BUT THRUST.
This maybe opens up a category that FINA hasn’t thought about before, as a sponsor, for instance, or a partner or supplier in some way.
Seems like some lobbying going on…
Not against the rules changes or TritonWear but just funny that they add that last part and there’s a huge push for TritonWear right now.
Which hey, at least we can comment on this one making fun of them for it.
I sort of do not care about this as of right now at all, though. Maybe it’ll turn into something super cool, but I dunno if I see the utility for either your casual or die-hard fan. (Could be plenty worthwhile for athletes, though! Or still worthless, no idea.)
Not a surprise given that they are or have been a paid partner of SwimSwam…
Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …
More from Riley Overend
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