Years ago, when I first entered the world of competitive swimming, I would get very frustrated at my inability to see my form and techniques. I had to rely on coaches or other swimmers to observe me and note any flaws; it helped, but it wasn’t a perfect system. Someone telling you to straighten your arm to a certain angle is not as effective as seeing it needs to be at a different one. Luckily technology has made great strides in this field and there are now underwater cameras to track your every stroke at every angle. All competitive swimmers should use them, you’ll see an immediate improvement in your performance. Let me share what I’ve found works best so you can get the most out of using underwater cameras.
You should have three camera’s set up underwater. One at each end and one in the middle of the pool. This set-up will give you all the views you need. The head-on view will show you how fluidly you cut through the water. It can highlight if your stroke is too choppy or how much splash you make when you start swimming. A front-end camera shows the lines of your body and your head placement and motions in relation to your arms. For me, this view helped me to see I was taking too big of a stroke, slowing my swim time own.
The camera at the back-end of the pool is similar to the front-end camera, it just highlights your leg movements instead. With this camera angle you can see how quickly you’re kicking and if your kicks are in sync. It will give you a good an idea if you need to improve leg strength or if there is too much drag. Your kicks should be powerful but light; a camera at the end of the pool can help you adjust the speed and force of your kicks.
Your most important view is the one provided by the camera in the middle of the pool. This camera gives you the best view of your swimming technique since it shows both your upper and lower body. You see how your strokes and kicks work in tandem. If your legs and arms are out of sync, even just slightly, it will make all the difference. This view will give you a good indication of what you’re doing wrong. It will show you things like if your head needs to be down more or if you need to shorten your stroke.
Using these three cameras together is the key to using this technology to your advantage. They can be expensive, each one is usually $200 or more, but they are definitely worth the money. I recommend Swim Pro, which has top of the line cameras. You can analyze your stroke, kick and the line of your body from every conceivable angle. You will see everything you’re doing wrong, so you can make the necessary corrections. Any swimmer who is serious about competing should make this a part of their training routine. It will change the way you approach your workouts, improve your overall form and have you ready to compete.