Swimming with the Get Speedo Fit App

Speedo Accessory PackSpeedo sent me an amazing gift pack with fins, paddles, pull buoys, goggles and rather thoughtfully a great big ruck sac to stash it all in.

As much as all the gear excited me, it came with the requirement to go forth and swim. I really like to swim but I cannot abide all the faff associated with swimming – changing, drying and of course the discarded plasters and hair accumulating in the communal showers.

Streatham re-opened their new swimming pool last month, after the original was sacrificed for a mammoth Tesco store. Being less than a month old I thought it would be lovely clean place to reintroduce myself to public swimming.

I was wrong. The changing rooms were smelly and hairballs skittered across the tiles like tumbleweed. I wished my speedo accessory pack included sandals but alas, I had to hop from one clean-ish spot to another until I reached the relative tranquility of the pool.

The pool at least was a joy, light bright and delightfully empty, which meant I was free to play with my embarrassing arsenal of swim gear without feeling like too much of a wally.

Speedo Fitness FinsI took the fins, which are mini flippers that strap over the toes and a set of paddles which are plastic plates that sit in your hands and enable you to apply greater resistance as you cut through the water. The fins were amazing and I would nominate fused toes for our next evolutionary development, although they may not help with running.

I timed a few laps with and without the gadgets and despite being a bit useless with the tumbleturn as the flippers slid down the tiled walls I was significantly faster with the fins and paddles than without.

The speedo website looks to have been improved recently. As well as showcasing some fab products it now includes a whole section on technique, with videos and tips to help you improve your strokes. I used it to fathom out how to use the finger paddles.

Get Speedo Fit

Speedo have also released a great swimming app, called Get Speedo Fit. I’ve been really impressed with the app. I’ve tried swimming gadgets before, moving through the swimsense watch to the Garmin 910XT, both of which count laps in a “relatively” accurate fashion but don’t offer much else in terms of swim specific interest. The Get Speedo Fit app adds an additional level of graphical feedback and motivation by setting map based challenges. The app is able to identify your local swimming pool and determine the pool length, although you do have to count your own laps.

I appreciated the visual challenge and would be interested in a running app that would plot my journey across a suitably inspiring expanse but for now I’ll settle for swimming along the Thames.

I selected the Thames River challenge as its a manageable distance, requiring me to swim 3,945m from Westminster to Tower Bridge, but I could have been more ambitious and opted for the Suez Canal or English Channel challenge. I managed about half a kilometre before braving the changing rooms again. I’ve got another 3.5k to go so I’m either going to have buy a pair of flip flops or find another pool to complete my challenge in.

Swimovate Watch

Entries for next years Great Swim series are open already. Christmas is not a great time to start contemplating squeezing into an overly snug wetsuit, the annual quality street box is already half empty and the strawberry creams are not improving my silhouette.

Christmas is a time for trying out new gadgets though so it’s time I reviewed my latest toy.

IMG_1481

I was sent a swimming watch from Swimovate to try out for a week. It promised to count all my laps for me, freeing my mind to concentrate on higher level issues such as “what should I cook for tea?” and “did I remember to put any Stella in the fridge?”

It does more than that of course, storing my lap history and providing historical data such as distance, stroke rate, calories and efficiency.

It was the counting bit that appealed most to me though. I am always surprised at how inept I am at counting lengths. I start well enough, reciting 1, 1, 1 in my head til I reach the end and turn. Of course I then move on to 2, 2, 2 cos I’m bright and can count but I’m also easily bored so I start adding variety like 2, 2 and the next lap will be 3, next is 3, next is 3. If course when I get to 3 I think blimey that number is familiar I’ve already counted it. Then I have to go through the odd even calculation and match it to the direction of my travel. Basically I never get as far as 10 laps before I’ve stressed myself out and felt the need to re-enrole in kindergarten.

So it’s a lap counter, but a pretty good one. Beyond the first button press you don’t have to bother again until it’s time to get out of the pool. The motion sensors apparently pick up on the drift portion of the stroke at the change round. It will pick up tumble turns and your more sedate stop and turn technique. Provided you don’t change strokes within a length it will supposedly maintain accuracy.

I did my best to fool it but it was 100% accurate up to 16 lengths, beyond that I’m sure the watch maintained its accuracy but I didn’t and decided to just free my mind of the counting. Swimming with a blank mind is really rather freeing, it feels so much more like running.

It’s given me an efficiency rating of 73 which equates to below average which I suppose will be about right. They measure efficiency in terms of distance covered per stroke and I’ve always felt that I swim on the spot anyway.

IMG_1484

It would be quite useful to monitor efficiency gains if you were trying to work on your stroke but I didn’t get to play with it long enough to see how responsive it was to minor improvements.

The battery is supposed to last for 1 year after which you have to send it back to the company to be replaced. I suppose that shouldn’t be a big problem provided they have a quick turnaround.

You can’t currently use it as a distance monitor for outdoor swims because it multiplies pool length by laps but I have picked up on some internet murmurings that suggest that might be about to change.

It could do with an overhaul of the user interface, moving through the history screens required me to pull out the instruction leaflet twice but all in all it’s a pretty good adition to the sporting gadgetry world and costs around £69 from Swimovate.

**There is a link to my other product reviews on sidebar. Please contact me at angela@warriorwomen.co.uk if you have a product you would like me to review.