Author Archives: mstephens

Swimsense® Integrates with 2PEAK

The Swimsense® Performance Monitor is now integrated with 2PEAK High-Tech Training website. 2PEAK produces tailored training schedules dedicated to ensuring that you peak precisely on time. Independent from how much time you have, what level you start, or what your goals are, 2PEAK helps you realize your true potential.

Simply update your Swimsense® account at by linking your 2PEAK account information. After you upload your workouts via the Swimsense® Bridge, your 2PEAK account will be automatically updated.

The Swimsense® is a groundbreaking training tool, which captures critical performance data. The monitor straps onto the wrist like a watch and uses accelerometers, magnetometers and patent-pending algorithms to identify your swim. Analyze your performance on the device with interval times, pace times, distance (meters/yards/laps), stroke count, stroke rate, distance-per-stroke and calories burned across all four major strokes.

Get started with a Swimsense today.


New Firmware Release ( for Swimsense®

A new firmware version of the Swimsense® is now available ( Thanks to all of our “Beta” users who provided such valuable feedback! The new general release incorporates updates to the stroke-recognition algorithms, the calorie calculations, and the stroke-rate fields.

You can access and download the new firmware update by via the Swimsense® Bridge software. Enjoy your swim!



New Beta-Testing Now Available for Swimsense – *Updated

**UPDATE (7/18/2011)**
Today we have released the next beta firmware version ( Thanks to the feedback from over 140 Beta users so far, we solved the workout dates issue quickly and effectively.

A new “beta” version of the Swimsense® firmware is now available ( This newbeta not only looks to improve the Swimsense® algorithms, but it also marks the beginning of our Beta-Participation functionality. Within the Swimsense® Bridge users can opt in by checking the option underneath the “Firmware Updates” menu tab.

  • Beta releases are software updates that contain new functionality and have been tested but may still contain small bugs.  As a beta tester, you can help us identify issues that need to be resolved before making the new functionality available to everyone.
  • When you become a beta participant, the Swimsense Bridge will automatically look for new beta releases and updates each time it is started.
  • As a beta user, you can help us (and other users) by providing frequent and clear feedback.  Good or bad, we want to hear from you on how the new release is working. Simply click on the “Beta Participant” button which will appear once you download a beta release.



Swimsense now integrated with SportTracks

We are pleased to announce that the Swimsense® performance monitor is now integrated with SportTracks data tracking software. SportTracks users will need to download the import plugin from the SportTracks website:

After installing the plugin within the SportTracks software, go to Import > Swimsense. From there, enter your username (email) and password.  Select Finish and you are done! As you upload workouts through the Swimsense Bridge application, the swimming data will also synch up to SportTracks.


Discovery News: A Heart Rate Monitor Heard in the Pool


DC Rainmaker Reviews the Aquapulse


AquaPulse™ Heart Rate Monitor Now Available!

We have alluded to the importance of heart rate monitoring in past posts (here, here and here), and now we are pleased to announce the immediate availability of the AquaPulse™! The AquaPulse™ Heart Rate Monitor is built specifically for swimmers to capture and communicate their heart rate. It doesn’t use cumbersome chest-straps or watches, and lets swimmers understand their heart rate while they swim.

What’s so great about knowing my heart rate?

For the past decade heart rate training has been utilized by top athletes in all sports to improve their training levels. As an accurate measurement of your intensity or exertion level a heart rate monitor is the easiest and most precise way to continuously measure your heart rate. By understanding and monitoring your ideal heart rate zone while training, you are able to consistently train your body at the optimum fitness levels.  Knowing the work zone for your heart prevents over-training, under-training, and encourages correct pacing. As a result heart rate monitors (HRM’s) can show you when you’re dehydrated, running out of nutrition, or not recovered from a previous day’s workout.

What’s so special about the AquaPulse™?

Current heart rate monitors are meant for running and dryland training, but are awkward in the water as athletes are hindered by slipping straps and delayed information on watches. The AquaPulse™ features a design that provides an audible heart rate announcement while you swim, eliminating the need to stop and calculate your heart rate or look at your watch. Because you don’t have to stop you will have a more accurate heart rate calculation and no down time, thus maximizing your workout.

How does it work?

Simply slip the AquaPulse™ Heart Rate Monitor inside your goggle strap, attach the soft rubber clip to your earlobe, and start swimming. Using an infrared sensor, your heart beat is detected through your earlobe by capillary activity. The heart rate is then audibly communicated to you in real time, where the information is transmitted directly to your inner ear via Bone Conduction Technology. No ear buds, no cumbersome chest straps and no watch device is needed. You will never have to stop to check your heart rate again.



Underwater Dolphin Kick Requires Education and Dedication

I attended the Central States Swim Clinic this past weekend, and talked to a number of coaches and swimmers about underwater dolphin kick. The consensus was that the “5th stroke” of underwater kicking has certainly made a big impact on our sport, and most all athletes at the elite level have mastered the discipline. Similarly, even within a club program, the fastest swimmers leveraged their walls and kicking more often than others.

If the correlation is there, then why doesn’t everyone do it? I’m sure there are many answers to that question, but for simplicity I have broken down the answer into two parts:

Part 1: Education

This may seem obvious, but the undulation motion that creates the dolphin kick must be learned properly. It is not about kicking the legs as hard as possible, but rather learning to kick from the core and the chest. Think about starting the kick at your sternum and transferring that wave motion down through your body to your toes. Too many swimmers kick from the knees and try to push their hips out of the water. This motion will inevitably create excess drag and tired legs.

Think about how a dolphin swims. They do not just wag their tail back and forth, but rather use their entire body to create a fluid undulation motion through the water. This movement can be most easily learned through the use of the Foil Monofin. Furthermore, when the dolphin kick is done properly the core will provide all the power for the kick so that the swimmer does not tire as easily.

Part 2: Dedication

The athlete (and coach) must be driven. Just working on the underwater kick during a specific kick set is not enough. Work on it throughout the entire practice, even warm-up and cool-down. Set goals to take 5 or 6 kicks off EVERY wall and then try and build on that number throughout the season. Give constant reminders until the underwater kick becomes habitual. Imagine how much faster and less tired you will swim if you can carry your momentum off the wall and take 2-3 less strokes per length!

- Mark



Family Fun – Swimming Workout

May is family fitness month, so I wanted to write a fun swim workout that the whole family can do. I will make a general assumption that all the family members can swim, the children are at least 10-years-old, and the pool is a standard 25-yard pool:

Warm Up

As with any activity, make sure you warm up your muscles before you start. This helps prevent strained or pulled muscles.

300 easy Freestyle swimming (12 continuous lengths of the pool)

8 x 25’s (8 repeats of 1 length of the pool)

#1 & 2 = Butterfly

#3 & 4 = Backstroke

#5 & 6 = Breaststroke

#7 & 8 = Freestyle

Maintain perfect technique on each 25

Kick Set

Time to crank up the legs. Have everyone grab a kickboard and a pair of Z2 fins. Kicking with fins is a great way for everyone to go near the same speeds. You can also talk with one another (but no trash talk allowed!)

250 Freestyle kick with a board and fins (10 continuous lengths of the pool)

6 x 50’s kick (6 repeats of 2 lengths of the pool)

Send off each 50 on a 1:30 interval (1 minute, 30 seconds)

Continue to use your kickboard and fins

The goal is to get a faster on each 50, descending time 1-6

250 Butterfly kick with a board and fins (10 continuous lengths of the pool)

Main “Racing Set”

Everyone loves a competition, so it’s time to get up and race one another! See if you can beat your parent, child, or sibling.

4 x 50’s (4 repeats of 2 lengths of the pool)

Send off each 50 on a 2:00 interval (2 minutes)

#1 = Butterfly

#2 = Backstroke

#3 = Breaststroke

#4 = Freestyle

Go FAST on each 50!*

4 x 25’s (4 repeats of 1 length of the pool)

Send off each 25 on a 1:00 interval (1 minute)

#1 = Butterfly

#2 = Backstroke

#3 = Breaststroke

#4 = Freestyle

Go FAST on each 25!*

*Allow slower swimmers to get a 5 second head start so that everyone is finishing around the same time (note sometimes the parent needs the head start!)

Warm Down

Make sure to warm down after exerting yourself. The warm down period lets your heart rate decrease, and allows your muscles to relax and recover.

4 x 100’s easy swimming (4 repeats of 4 lengths of the pool)

Split each 100 into fourths by stroke:

1st 25 = Freestyle

2nd 25 = Backstroke

3rd 25 = Breaststroke

4th 25 = Freestyle

Total Distance: 2000 yards

Total Time: Approximately 1 hour

Now this exact workout might not be for everyone, so feel free to fine tune the workout to your own needs or skill sets. Also if you have any questions about the vocabulary used in the workout above, check out this cheat sheet. Enjoy your workout!

- Mark



Another Use for the Snorkel – Head Position in Breaststroke

Swimmers and coaches use the Swimmer’s Snorkel in all facets of training. Many use it for warm-up and technique work, others use it for aerobic test sets, and we have even seen triathletes use the snorkel for a good cardio-vascular workout on the bike. Bottom line is that the snorkel is amazingly versatile and can be used for all four strokes (yes backstroke too).

Now here is a new way to use your snorkel for breaststroke. Instead of donning it normally, wear the snorkel backwards and upside-down. The goal is for the snorkel to act as a brace, connecting the back of your head with your spine. If you try bending your neck and lifting your head up, the snorkel will dig into your back, forcing your head and neck to stay connected while you swim. To see the benefits, I have created two simple animations.

This first animation below shows a swimmer initiating their breaststroke timing with the head. They lift their head up first and then the body follows. As a result the breaststroke is more vertical than it needs to be.

Notice how the first action the swimmer takes is with the head. As the swimmer pulls their head up, their body sinks further in the water. The result is a straight-up and straight-down motion that creates a lot of drag in the water.

The next animation below shows the swimmer with the snorkel strapped to the back of their head. When the swimmer lifts the head to breath, they are forced to keep the back in alignment. The result is a more efficient horizontal and undulating stroke.

Not only is the swimmer creating less drag with their body and knees underneath the water, but they are also using their energy systems to drive forward in the water (and not up/down). Try it out with your snorkel and let me know your feedback.

- Mark