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Old 07-20-2013
sojomojo sojomojo is offline
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Lightbulb How to keep count of swim laps . . .

As a senior citizen learning to swim, my ultimate goal is to swim a mile (1,650 yards) using this website as guidance:

I swim in a 25-yard pool so thatís 33 laps. When I swim laps, I tend to zone out, so I lose count after only 5 - 6 laps. It then becomes a guessing game.

There are watches and other mechanical and electronic devices that can count laps, but most have small number displays which I canít read without my reading glasses. I also didnít want to spend that much money for something thatís of limited use out of the pool. It finally dawned on me that thereís an old tool that can be used for counting laps thatís low-tech, low-cost, easy to use, waterproof, damage-proof and idiot-proof.

If youíve been in the military or Boy Scouts, you might be familiar with the Ranger Pace Counting Beads (or the Army abacus). With the advent of GPS and the pedometer, itís not something thatís common in todayís high tech world, but Iíve found it very effective to keep track of how many laps that I have swum. It also gives me a quick visual feedback as to what Iíve swum and how many more laps I need to swim. Itís also a very good motivational tool. Oftentimes I want to give up until I see that I only need a few more beads so I suck it up and push on.

This is how I use the Ranger Pace Counting Beads to count swim laps.

The beads are divided into two sections of 4 (top) and 9 (bottom) beads.

1. Each of the bottom beads equals 1 lap (50 yards).

2. Each of the top beads equals 10 laps (500 yards).

3. After I swim a lap (or two or three laps), I pause to slide one bead for each lap from the bottom section down.

4. When all 9 beads from the bottom section have been slid down, I swim one addition lap and then slide one of the top 4 beads down to show that I completed 10 laps (500 yards). I then slide the 9 bottom beads back to their original position and start all over again.

To get to a swimmerís mile (1,650 yards), I need to finish with 3 of the 4 top beads down (1,500 yards) and 3 of the bottom 9 beads down (150 yards).

I put a small carabiner on my Ranger Pace Counting Beads and attach it to my flip-flop sandals which I keep at the edge of the pool. This keeps it anchored down making it easier to slide the beads and keeps it from getting lost. Iíve also attached it to the lane pool divider.

Hereís a couple of links on how to make and use the Ranger Pace Counting Beads for its intended use. I think you can see how it can apply to counting swim laps.

The Ranger Pace Counting Beads are easy to make (be sure to get plastic beads; not metal or wood), but I purchased mine on eBay for $3.99 (with free shipping). Since I only needed one, I figured Iíd end up spending more than $3.99 if I went out and bought the paracord and the beads plus the cost of gasoline driving to the stores.

Hopefully, this tip will help those who need to count laps. It has helped me in my goal to build up my endurance to swim one mile. Itís also helped me to keep an accurate record of the total distance that I swim. I write down distance in my swim log since I want to see how much I can swim in one year.
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