I have always had trouble keeping track of strokes and laps while swimming. I can’t explain why but it’s pretty common for me to lose count by lap 4. I think that I just end up concentrating so hard on all of the details of my stroke that I lose track of lap counting. “Now was this the 5th or will it be 5 laps at the end of this one.
This is LAP counting mind you. It’s almost impossible for me to count the strokes per lap. In fact, I have successfully counted strokes exactly once and came up with roughly 15.
Last week I finally purchased a Garmin Forerunner 910XT which is a device that I can wear on my wrist while swimming and it tracks everything for me. It’s pretty impressive and also has GPS which can be used for running and biking as well.
First of all, it uses a sensor similar to what is used in a Wii controller to determine what stroke you are using and when you reach the end and turn around. Then it counts the pool lengths, strokes per length, time per length, pace and efficiency (SWOLF).
Since GPS isn’t accurate indoors, you tell it that you are in a pool and enter the size. In my case, it is 25 yards. I hit the START button and go. When I’m done, I hit STOP. When arrive back home, I just set the watch down near the computer and it automatically uploads all of the details. It uses ANT so there are no cables involved.
Once it has finished, I can go to the Garmin Connect website and view everything…
It’s pretty slick. Before this, I really had no idea if I was swimming at a even pace or if I was maintaining a consistent stroke-count. Besides my overall time, I really didn’t know how much improvement I was making or if I even was improving at all.
I will say that I have to pay attention to what my left arm is doing when I reach the end of the pool. If I move it wrong, it can accidentally cause the Garmin to register a pool length that didn’t actually happen. Once I figured this out, it’s no longer a problem.
Now instead of worrying about what lap it is, I can concentrate on the details of my stroke. After reading some instructional articles and watching some really informative YouTube videos, it’s clear that there is still a lot of room for improvement in that department.