Inpsired by a wonderful clip found on Doc Suzanne's superbe website and channel - which deals about the importance of being aware of your stroke count - I thought I'd share a very simple tip that could work with some of you.
I don't count strokes, it ain't necessary. My DPS when fit is very consistent, it doesn't vary much.
If I flip on the left arm, early into a set, that is 14 strokes. It can not be 12 (I'm not good enough), and it's certainly not 16. If I flip on the right arm, that's 15, as it can not be 13, and 17 for me is getting close to disaster. If I flip on left later in some set, and don't feel like my shoulder will pop out of its socket, then I'm pulling 16, not 14. And normally I will remain 16. Can no longer go down to 14, and I never pull 18 (except for those days where I tried EVF, that's another story).
Depending on the scenario, this tip may require a bit adjustments (ie, in a 1500 flat out race, flipping on right arm means 17, as I shorten my stroke on purpose, to avoid having to pull too big of a gear). But the bottom line is that we always start pulling with the same hand.
That works if your SL is consistent though, until you reach this point, counting remains your best bet. A SwimSense does an excellent job at reporting your swim graphically etc, but that info becomes available only when you get back home, which is not very handy to make real time adjustments...