Author Archives: mstephens

My Z2′s are Coming Without Any Holes?!

For those customers that have been using the Z2 Gold Zoomers, you may have noticed that some of the fins are coming with 2 holes on the front of the fin while others don’t have any holes at all. What’s up with that?!

From an engineering perspective, the holes in the Z2 were used to help prevent the fins from shifting in the molds during production. The holes had no physical effect on the performance of the fin when in use. Recently, with better technology on hand, we were able to modify the way we produce our Z2′s and we no longer need to stabilize the fin while molding. As a result, there are no holes in the front of the fin.

We ran some tests to compare the Z2′s from the previous molds versus fins from the new molds. We found no differences between the Z2′s as the holes did not significantly change the water flow or performance of the fin.

 

So there is no need to fret Z2 users. The holes, or lack there of, will not impact the amazing performance that the Z2 fin delivers.

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Freestyle Head Position

After getting a few questions from customers, I wanted to write a quick post about the Freestyle Snorkel and proper head position. Below is an image detailing incorrect vs. correct head position:

 

By curving the tube around more, the Freestyle Snorkel design places the head in the proper Freestyle swimming position with the eyes down and the back of the head aligned with the spine. Lifting the head up will cause the head/spine alignment to break, and the hips and body to drop lower in the water. If the swimmer lifts the head up even more, the end of the snorkel tube will actually dip back into the water, making it quite difficult to breathe! Further, swimming with the eyes forward creates tremendous drag in the water, while keeping the head down lets you maintain a slimmer profile.

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NEW Update! Customize Your Swimsense® Watch Display

You told us and we listened! The latest firmware update for the Swimsense performance monitor is now released and is available for all Swimsense® users. This update lets you customize your Swim Mode screen. While swimming, you can now view the stats you want to see, and the numbers are BIGGER! At a glance, you can easily view your workout distance, interval times, or whatever metric you desire.

Using the Swimsense Bridge software, you can configure the display settings of your current watch. Choose to display 1, 2 or 3 different metrics on one screen, and also have the option to create alternate screens with other metrics. Simply drag-and-drop to create your own screens.

Downloading the firmware update is quick and easy. Users will be automatically notified to update the new firmware when connecting to the Bridge software.  Take advantage of this great new feature and stay motivated to reach your goals!

-Mark

See comments from the BETA release post here

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How to use Heart Rate in the Pool with the AquaPulse™

We have mentioned before how important heart rate is to swimmers, but many coaches and swimmers are still unsure of how to best utilize heart rate during workouts. So to get you started, below are a few a few suggested uses on how to leverage heart rate in the pool with the AquaPulse™:

Track your Warm-Up.

A good warm-up is an essential element of any workout and crucial to success in competition. Studies suggest that 15-20 minutes of low to moderate intensity effort (50%-60% of maximum heart rate) can increase endurance performance by 6% and sprint performance by 7% (compared to no warm-up). Use the AquaPulse to continually checking your heart rate throughout warm-up. Once you have reached a sustained heart rate in the 50%-60% of maximum, you are probably ready for competition or the more intense portions of your workout.

Workout at a Specific Heart Rate Goal

In swimming we often set target time goals for aerobic repeat sets. To try something different, set a specific target heart rate for your swimming set. For example, try swimming 10 x 100 freestyle with the AquaPulse at a heart rate of 140 with 10 seconds rest between each 100. You can gauge how well you are doing by comparing your times to your heart rate to better understand your performance. Are your times slowing or is your heart rate increasing towards the end of the set?

Warm Down by Heart Rate

After a big competition or tough practice, many swimmers don’t warm-down enough. They may swim until they feel “loose”, but in reality they probably need to go further. When worked to the max, the muscles need more time to recover and the lactic acid build-up needs more time to flush out of your system. One good way to make sure you have warmed down enough is to continuously warm down until your heart rate is below a certain threshold. A good target would be around 80-90 bpm. At this point, your body is telling you that it has recovered and your cardio-vascular system has relaxed. Continue swimming with the AquaPulse (without stopping) until you hear the voice call out a heart rate between that 80-90 bpm target. You may have to do a few more laps than you’re used to, but your body will be much happier and you will be more prepared for your next swim.

- Mark

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Swimsense® Update to the Beta Firmware

Thanks to all the Swimsense® beta users who have tested and provided feedback about the new Custom Screen firmware that we released on December 13 . With your comments we have just released an update to the beta firmare (version 1.0.2.1B2) with some key fixes:

  • Workout Date Fix:  the watch was creating workouts one day ahead (this was a leap year issue)
  • Lock-ups:  some users were experiencing lock-ups while swimming.
  • Workout Pace:  the overall pace for the workout was not displayed.

If you are already a beta user, you will be prompted to upgrade once you log into the Swimsense® Bridge. If you would like to become a beta tester, you can do so by selecting “Participate in Beta Updates” under the “Firmware Updates” menu.

UPDATE 3/7/2012: We have gone through a few other iterations of the beta firmware to get rid of some bugs. The new 1.0.2.1B4 firmware is now available to beta participants in the Swimsense Bridge.

Enjoy your Swimsense®!

-Mark

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Swimsense® – Customizable Display for Swim Mode, Beta Release

The latest BETA update for the Swimsense performance monitor lets you customize your Swim Mode screen. While swimming, you can now view the stats you want to see, and the numbers are BIGGER! At a glance, you can easily view your workout distance, interval times, or whatever metric you desire.

Using the Swimsense Bridge software, you can configure the display settings of your current watch. Choose to display 1, 2 or 3 different metrics on one screen, and also have the option to create alternate screens with other metrics. Simply drag-and-drop to create your own screens.

The Customizable Display is being pre-launched under the “Beta Participation” feature on the Swimsense Bridge (make sure you have the most updated Bridge software in place). Be the first to take advantage of this great new feature. With your feedback we will be able to make any minor improvements to the Screen Customization before launching to everyone!

Enjoy!

-Mark

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Now Available Swimsense® iiM

What is iiM?

Interval Inference Mode (iiM) is a free update for the Swimsense® performance monitor. With iiM you don’t have to manually press the “pause” button while swimming. Simply press START at the beginning of your workout and STOP at the end. All intervals and rest periods will be inferred and recorded automatically, along with all the other standard Swimsense® metrics (distance, stroke type, splits, stroke count, DPS, stroke rate, SWOLF, etc.)

iiM has been built to recognize good swimming technique. If you swim sloppy and have poor turns and streamlines, then iiM would not work well for you. As a result, iiM is similar to other FINIS products in that it encourages good swimming technique, form, and fundamentals.

How do I get iiM?

We aren’t releasing a new device, rather a new firmware update to the current Swimsense® performance monitor. The free update is compatible with all new and old Swimsense® devices. Think of it as upgrading your phone software. Simply update your firmware to get iiM:

  • Step 1. Dock your Swimsense® Performance Monitor to your MAC or PC
  • Step 2. Open the Swimsense® Bridge software program on your computer. This is the software that uploads your workouts from the watch to the online training log.
  • Step 3. The software will automatically check to see if you have the latest firmware update. If a new update is available, text will appear for you to upgrade to the latest firmware. Follow the onscreen instructions

How do I use iiM?

Once your watch is updated, be sure to turn the Automatic Interval setting “ON” in the configuration settings of your Swimsense® performance monitor.

While swimming, using iiM is easy because you don’t have to think about it. Press the START button when you are ready to go and STOP at the conclusion of your workout.

We have outlined these rules to get the most accurate readings of iiM:

o   Rule 1: Push Off Strong – Try to push off and streamline for at least 2 seconds on each wall

o   Rule 2: Finish Strong – Even if you aren’t finishing your interval with your Swimsense arm, it is still important to have a good finish into the wall so that the time can be accurate. Just like a coach, the Swimsense is now timing your intervals, so you better not finish short!

o   Rule 3: Be Still Between Intervals – After a few seconds of non-swimming, the screen will automatically pause and invert when you are resting. However, you should try and stay as still as possible so that excess motion isn’t confused for swimming. A suggestion would be to put your Swimsense hand or wrist on the wall to hold it still.

o   Rule 4: Have At Least 3-5 Seconds Rest Between Intervals – The Swimsense needs this time of stillness between intervals to know that you have stopped swimming. Otherwise it will think you are just doing a very slow turn.

o   Rule 5: Press STOP Before Drill or Kick Sets – Be sure to STOP the device before drill or kicking sets and then put it back in SWIM mode when you are ready to swim again.

Know that the iiM can’t read your mind and the watch will not know that you aren’t swimming if you are waving your arms around while resting. It is important that users are sensitive to these expectations.

Click here to buy Swimsense for a gift or for yourself.

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New iiM Swimsense® Firmware – Prerelease

The Swimsense performance monitor is now capable of automatically recognizing intervals and rest time. “Interval Inference Mode” (iiM) automatically senses when you finish an interval and are resting at the wall. You can now swim continuously from start to finish without hitting the pause button in between.

We aren’t releasing a new watch, rather a new firmware update to your current device.  The update will let you take advantage of the new algorithms.

iiM is being pre-launched under the “Beta Participation” feature on the Swimsense Bridge and will be available later today. Be the first to update your watch with iiM so you can take advantage of the new algorithms. With your feedback we will be able to make any minor improvements to iiM before launching the new algorithms to everyone!

Click on the two links below to learn how to configure and use iiM

Enjoy the new iiM!

UPDATE: The Firmware is now released on the Beta Participation side of the Swimsense Bridge!

- Mark

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How to use Heart Rate in the Pool with the AquaPulse™

We have mentioned before how important heart rate is to swimmers, but many coaches and swimmers are still unsure of how to best utilize heart rate during workouts. So to get you started, below are a few a few suggested uses on how to leverage heart rate in the pool with the AquaPulse™:

 

Track your Warm-Up.

A good warm-up is an essential element of any workout and crucial to success in competition. Studies suggest that 15-20 minutes of low to moderate intensity effort (50%-60% of maximum heart rate) can increase endurance performance by 6% and sprint performance by 7% (compared to no warm-up). Use the AquaPulse to continually checking your heart rate throughout warm-up. Once you have reached a sustained heart rate in the 50%-60% of maximum, you are probably ready for competition or the more intense portions of your workout.

 

Workout at a Specific Heart Rate Goal

In swimming we often set target time goals for aerobic repeat sets. To try something different, set a specific target heart rate for your swimming set. For example, try swimming 10 x 100 freestyle with the AquaPulse at a heart rate of 140 with 10 seconds rest between each 100. You can gauge how well you are doing by comparing your times to your heart rate to better understand your performance. Are your times slowing or is your heart rate increasing towards the end of the set?

 

Warm Down by Heart Rate

After a big competition or tough practice, many swimmers don’t warm-down enough. They may swim until they feel “loose”, but in reality they probably need to go further. When worked to the max, the muscles need more time to recover and the lactic acid build-up needs more time to flush out of your system. One good way to make sure you have warmed down enough is to continuously warm down until your heart rate is below a certain threshold. A good target would be around 80-90 bpm. At this point, your body is telling you that it has recovered and your cardio-vascular system has relaxed. Continue swimming with the AquaPulse (without stopping) until you hear the voice call out a heart rate between that 80-90 bpm target. You may have to do a few more laps than you’re used to, but your body will be much happier and you will be more prepared for your next swim.

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Edit Workout Functionality Now Available for Swimsense® Training Log

A new functionality has been added to the free Swimsense® Training Log at Swimsense.com. Users are now able to edit some of the workout data that appears in the workout timeline. By editing, the cumulative results will be more accurate, and the incorrect data will be tagged so that we can make global improvements to our stroke algorithms.

Firstly, users are able to edit the stroke type. If a particular length was misinterpreted as freestyle instead of butterfly, then just right-click that length and edit the stroke type. The resulting charts and stats will automatically be regenerated and the data will be tagged in red to demarcate a manual adjustment.

Secondly, users can also edit the stroke count. Simply right-click a length or interval to adjust the stroke count for that practice segment. Remember the Swimsense defines a “stroke” as a complete stroke cycle, or one complete revolution of both the right and left arm.

Note that changing the stroke count or stroke type for an interval will result in all the lengths of that interval following the same stroke or stroke type.

We will look to expand this edit functionality in the future, but in the meantime, please feel free to use it as much as possible. Not only will it help present more accurate stats, but it will help our team see the inconsistencies in our stroke algorithms so that we can make improvements later on.

 -Mark Stephens

 

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