To track my swims, I use:
a. FINIS Swimsense:
I use the Swimsense to record and then display my laps and lengths.
b. GoPro video camera with suction cup mount:
The popular waterproof sports camera is also great for recording your swims. It's too bad that they stopped making both a standard definition video and standard, non-wide angle lens model. You can use the wide angle model but your videos are distorted which may make analysis difficult. Also, going to high definition video is fun, but the filesizes are much larger and harder to store as many as standard definition video files.
c. Sanyo VPC-WH1 High Definition Waterproof Flash Memory Camcorder w/ 30x Optical Zoom:
This is probably the best video camera for underwater recording that is available today. Some of the cheaper ones don't have good enough sensors to get clear pictures underwater, especially in indoor pools where the water can get murky. I also bought a suction cup camera mount to use it underwater.
I use Rite In The Rain waterproof notebook and pens (buy them on Amazon
). They allow you to write when the paper and pen are wet, and the paper does not disintegrate when it gets wet.
Technological swimming aids:
1. Tempo Trainer:
It's the staple TI tool and indispensable if you are attempting to track progress.
2. FINIS Swimsense:
More for tracking time and counting lengths. I use it less so for counting strokes since it only counts one arm. I also am not sure how accurate it is for tracking time for a length within a set of lengths. But it is good to get sense for generally where your stroke count per length is.
In absence of a Swimsense, you can use any waterproof stopwatch for time recording. Some watches have downloadable data options now. You may want to find one of these so that you can record your times for later viewing. Otherwise, writing them down at the edge of the pool works. (Or you can train your memory like Terry did to just keep it all in your head!)
What you can track:
this is per length and per lap, or overall time for a set of laps.
2. Strokes per length:
Count, remember it, write it down. The Swimsense will give you a one arm count of strokes.
Set your TT and remember it, or write it down, for each length/lap/set of laps.
4. Heart Rate:
This is also trackable and I would track it but I have not gotten around to trying the new FINIS ear clip - one thing I do not like about the ear clip is that I cannot download the data. Heart rate chest straps are sometimes unreliable in water.
5. Video of technique:
Visually see improvement in recorded videos.
Other elements that give feedback:
1. Your perceived mental state before, during, and after the workout.
In certain instances, it may be good to record this so that you can get familiar with how a workout might progress given your assessment of your body before you start. You can also get into the workout and test your body's performance level, and then adjust the workout accordingly.
2. Your perceived exertion, given a particular workout.
For instance, sometimes I'll jump into the pool and start a workout at a certain tempo and my perceived exertion is, for some reason, way high when compared to a previous day. It may mean that I have not recovered enough from a previous workout and I adjust accordingly. On the other hand, if my perceived exertion on a higher tempo workout is less than previous, I may take that as a positive sign that my nervous system is adapting to swimming at that tempo.
3. How fast the broken line elements on the bottom of the pool move by as I swim
- Lately, I've had one major issue that I've spent the last few months working on, and that was the fact that my left side spearing produced a lot less propulsion than my right. This was one that I would never have figured out was a problem, had I not noticed that the lines on the bottom of the pool were moving a lot faster and for a longer time underneath me as I speared on my right side, but on my left, they would move less fast and even come to a stop before my next right spear. Now as I drill to imprint better left side spearing, I use the visually determined speed at which those lines move under me to see how close I can get my left side spear to equal that of my right side spear.
I track these elements separately and together, in various combinations depending on what I'm working on at the time.