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FINA World Aquatics Convention
FINA-airweave-Swimming-World-Cup-2016-Dubai

More swim coaches are starting to embrace technology and use data to help improve the performance of their athletes.

We spoke with Executive Director at Swedish Center for Aquatic Research and owner of Professional Coaching Tools, Thorbjörn Holmberg, to learn more about this new trend.

1. How important is data to improve performance?

Hugely important.

Great coaches and scientists including Bill Boomer, Ernie Maglischo and Ingvar Holmér, have long utilised performance data to understand how to coach swimmers more effectively.

Today, we coach at a level where, if you want success, you cannot leave any stone unturned. We used to Analyse with a tolerance of 10-30cm, today, we are down to 2mm.

2. What are the latest trends in the coaching industry?

More coaches look at high intensity training and race performance, and this is the way we are headed.

It is hard to simply relax in the pool. You might need to do both if you are a distance swimmer but technique, water position and ‘quality of motion’ are the main ingredients that will continue to break world records.

3. Do you predict any future trends in swim coaching?

Quality of motion is the next step in swimming.

Look into what Milton Nelms has been doing with his project ‘Brainswim’. That is the next step of coaching if you ask me.

4. When did you create the AIM System what does it do?

The first system was installed in 2013 for The Swimming Research Center based in Lund.

They wanted a system that was easy to use, but advanced enough to give them the data they needed. The AIM Camera Analysis system was perfect for them because it’s designed to capture, collect, organise, analyse, and evaluate competitive performance, and can even get the exact depth of an athlete’s head during a race.

5. Do you emphasise a specific element of training at AIM systems?

We specialise in race data and race performance.

Specifically, we calculate the best individual stroke rate and speed during a full race. We also analyse stroke data to suggest changes to technique, but the analysis of race data is always our main focus.

6. Can you tell us more about your system? What do you hope to achieve with it?

With more and more coaches from all around the world using our systems, we hope they will begin sharing data between themselves and improve swimming on a global scale.

7. Can you tell us about any recent success stories from working with elite swimmers?

When swimmers see their exact stoke rate during the races, they start to understand where the race is won or lost.

A huge number of breast strokers now understand that they start planning their turns way too early. Thanks to our analysis, we can tell they change frequency 15m prior to the wall, saving them valuable time.

If they continue and just attack, they get a much better overall performance. That is just a simple example. Many swimmers start to take stroke rate and stroke length more seriously when they see how they affect the race.

8. Are more coaches starting to use technology to improve performance?

Yes, there is a great demand for technology.

For example, when coaches use our technology, they see how easy it is to use, how much data they get, and they come back to analyse with us time after time.

9. Has technology changed the way coaches approach training?

Absolutely.

They have a better understanding of race pace and stroke rates, allowing them to rethink how they build their sets. They also need to be much more active on deck to be able to collect data during the practice.

10. What are your plans for the future?

Right now our focus is on swimming, but because our system is dynamic and scalable we’ll work to implement new technology for the system to be used in various sports.

 

Learn more about AIM Camera Analysis system at www.aimsystems.se