Innovation & Swimming – a Coach’s Aide

Undoubtedly, there have been very many technological innovations in the arena of athletics and sports, ranging from real-time feedback on the performance to collection of voluminous data for post analysis. But then, there aren’t many to aid the swimming coaches in the pool. In swimming, like many other sports, coaches still largely depend on stopwatch, whistle, notepad and pencils, and if lucky enough, a few assistant coaches.

Which coach wouldn’t dream of shaving some time off from focusing on the stopwatch and instead concentrate on swimming techniques and stroke efficiency? All the coach has to do is have the swimmers wear this innovative device called TritonWear at the back of their head (attached to the goggle strap or tucked under the swim cap) and turn it on; and a tablet either running on iOS or Android to track and view the swimmer’s performance.

TritonWear’s design is very well thought out with various sensors necessary to collect, store and transmit performance metrics. The device includes a Micro USB port for charging, is water resistance up to a depth of 3 m (~10 ft.) and use Bluetooth technology to connect with iOS and Android devices.


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The device collects and transmits real time data for over 15 different performance metrics that determines the speed and stroke efficiency. Some of the key metrics are – stroke count, stroke rate, time underwater, turn time, etc. When these metrics are fed real time to the tablet, the coach does not have to keep looking at the stopwatch and calling out to the swimmers. There is more time to focus on other important aspects of coaching. The app on the tablet also provides a very efficient interface for the coach to monitor the performance of multiple swimmers at the same time.

The data collected while the swimmer is in the water can also be used for running analytics that can provide much more insight than what the coach or the swimmer can imagine. The data can reveal a wealth of information that can be used for planning future training and visualize various trends with the current training.

TritonWear does not replace but rather empowers the coach by providing actionable intelligence to help target specific performance improvements.

Coaches can now put technology and data to work! I would highly recommend TritonWear to the coaches.

– Meghna Sil

World Water Day – March 22

Fire, Air and Water – 3 essential elements that sustain life on earth.

We, in the most part of the US, take water for granted.  We open the faucet – we get the clean water; we go to the pool – we get to swim in safe water; we go to the grocery store – we get to bring home fish and fresh produce; and so and so forth. How many times do we think about all ‘behind the scene’ individuals who make this happen? According to an UNESCO report, an estimated 3/4 th of the jobs worldwide are either heavily or moderately dependent on water.  Half of the world’s workers, 1.5 billion people, are employed in eight water and natural-resource dependent industries.  These workers range from a utility worker in New York city to a mother bringing carrying water for her family in a remote village in Africa.  For those who are not working in water-related sector, they still would need water for coffee to keep going and water for air-conditioner to stay cool.  You get my point.

Water not only sustains life, but also drives economy and shapes society.

World Water Day is one of UN-Water’s campaigns that aims to inform, engage and inspire action, and it dates back to March 22, 1993 when first World Water Day was celebrated.  UN-Water sets a theme for each year based on current or future challenges. This year’s (2016) theme is Better Water, Better Jobs: World Water Day 2016.

It is very easy to recognize the power of water and water-related sector jobs in transforming people’s life and impacting society and economy.  Yet, millions of those workers are unrecognized and unprotected.  Subtle changes in quantity and quality of water can change these workers’ lives and livelihoods.  Let’s all join hands to recognize all those workers and spread awareness on the importance of clean water and a safe environment.

Happy World Water Day 2016!

world water day 2016

-Meghna Sil

Prevent Shallow Water Blackout – don’t ignore your body signals!

As part of my research on swim safety and drowning prevention, I have spent a considerable amount of time studying Shallow Water Blackout (SWB), a nightmare for elite swimmers. As more and more swimmers are pushing the envelope of physical endurance, I feel that swimmers need to pay more attention to SWB drowning. Death of two NAVY Seals last year in a Virginia Beach training pool was attributed to SWB. Even a recent death of a Dartmouth varsity swimmer in Florida was initially suspected to SWB drowning and later attributed to a rare heart condition per the autopsy report.

Chances of SWB happening is higher for professional and well-trained swimmers -who do rigorous underwater training or underwater breath holding for increasing their endurance limit. Underwater training by itself is not the cause; it happens when the swimmer stretches the ‘boundary’, let the competitive spirit take over without being aware that it may lead to SWB. Statistics show drowning among the well-trained swimmers is mostly due to SWB.

Under normal circumstance, as oxygen is metabolized in our lungs, the O2 level goes down and CO2 level goes up. The brain ‘monitors’ the CO2 and when the level rises to a threshold value, it sends the signal and urges the body to breathe. A professional swimmer (when the competitive pride and sense of invincibility takes over) can suppress the urge to breathe and deprive the brain of Oxygen. Alternatively (done more often), swimmer can trick the brain by lowering the CO2 level by hyperventilation before diving into the water. The starting CO2 level is so low that even if it rises while the swimmer is underwater, it never rises to the threshold before the brain is deprived of O2. Due to O2 deprivation to the brain, the swimmer passes out. Eventually, the CO2 level reaches the threshold and the body gets the urge to breathe and that results in lungs filled with water and eventual drowning.

Despite the concept of Shallow Water Blackout is being understood, there is a general lack of awareness among the swimmers and coaches. Even though I am not a professional swimmer, I have never been told by any coach of the implications of rigorous exercise (that can cause hyperventilation) prior to underwater swimming or breath holding can cause blackout.

Sense of invincibility is important to winning, but stay tuned and respond to your body signals.

I am glad to see that recently some famous swimming personalities, including Michael Phelps and his coach Bob Bowman, have taken upon themselves to bring awareness to other coaches and swimmers. We definitely need more Phelps and Bowmans! Some local governments, and swimming facilities are taking steps in the right direction to implement policies to prevent SWB. A good start, but a long way to go!

– Meghna Sil

Innovation & Swimming – be Coached

Wouldn’t it be nice to have your coach available 24X7, swimming next to you, providing instantaneous feedback and correcting your strokes? How cool would that be!

A group of innovators in France conceived the idea and developed a ‘personal coach’ called Swimbot.  Swimbot is a small device that has all the necessary sensors and microprocessor to help the swimmer improve their swimming by providing constant feedback during swimming via a set of bone conduction earphones.  All the components including lithium battery is compactly packed inside the device which can be tucked in behind the head under the swim cap. Very elegantly designed!

swimbot-swimcapswimbot-console(Photo Source –

Even before the swimmer gets into the water, she can put the ‘personal coach’ to work. Swimbot, which can be connected to smart phones using Bluetooth, comes with a set of tutorials on various techniques. A wide range of these tutorials is also available on YouTube – these tutorials are highly recommended. Very impressive content!

Before diving into the water, the swimmer can choose a training program on the touchscreen console of the device. These training programs focus on streamlining, propelling and breathing techniques. Once she starts swimming, a wide range of sensors housed in the device kick into action. These sensors continuously measure all the relevant parameters, determine any deviation from ideal, and instantaneously convey the feedback via a set of earphones; the swimmer can instantly adjust her strokes and make necessary corrections. Let us get real, she would not get this kind of instantaneous feedback from a real coach. Would she?

As she continues to swim, all the measures, including the performance measures, are stored in Swimbot that can be synched up with a smart phone for later analysis. The stored data is very valuable for the swimmer and her actual coach to synch up and jointly perform the analysis.

If popularized and delivers on its promises, Swimbot could be a game-changer.

Want to listen to music while swimming? Swimbot comes with an MP3 player too. Or, want to swim at a certain tempo? Swimbot can help with that too.

I can’t wait to hear what other swim enthusiasts think of this cutting edge device.

– Meghna Sil