New device helps swimmers see training results
A new device is making waves in the swimming world and athletes can't wait to see the science behind their strokes.
A waterproof data logger which measures swim speed, body angles, power and orientation is currently being developed by Auckland University researchers.
It is the smallest and lightest waterproof tool of its kind, researchers say.
Parnell Swimming Club's Jordy Wilson says the technology is coming at a good time in his budding swimming career.
The 13-year-old St Heliers athlete is one of the top two New Zealanders in medley and butterfly events for his age group.
He trains about 20 hours a week and has big ambitions about a future in the sport.
"My dream is to go to the Olympics. I just want to go as far as I can in swimming.
"The technology would allow us to see the whole picture, not just what is filmed from the surface."
Jordy trains under the watchful eye of Parnell coach Sam Caradus.
Mr Caradus currently films the squad from the side of the pool but says having in-water data would be invaluable.
"The difficult thing about being a swimmer is that you can feel it but you can't see it. The coach can see but not feel.
"A very well-trained coach will be able to see things from looking but it's an intuitive understanding. This will give us scientific data."
He says Olympic-level swimmers are trained to about the same capacity which means gains made from technical efficiency are overwhelmingly important.
"As coaches we can look at the angles - swimming is all about grabbing the water and pulling it. If you can see very clearly what that grab looks like and how it's pulled then it's helpful for us."
The inertial measurement unit (IMU) is being developed by Auckland University's Thor Besier and Mark Finch, who say the device will be the equivalent of a pedometer for swimmers.
It weighs only 20g and creates no drag, Dr Besier says.
"It's difficult for people to get good data on swimmers so this is going to help. It's just about putting two and two together."
Data will initially be downloaded to a laptop but the researchers aim to develop a Bluetooth version to communicate with smartphones.
The device has the potential to do a full body reconstruction, Dr Besier says.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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