I have had a few swimmers comment on this blog about their stroke and the rhythm and as it happens I was able to get my hands on a new product called the Wetronome.
This little and simple device can help you with the rhythm, timing and the rate of your swimming stroke.
As the name suggests, it is sort of a metronome, but in a waterproof casing.
The Wetronome gives out a beeping signal in pre-set intervals which helps you maintain a particular swim pace and work on your desired stroke rate.
You will basically start your stroke with every beep to improve the stroke rate of the swim.
Stroke rate means how many strokes a swimmer takes per minute ( a stroke is one arm movement through the stroke cycle).
This is very dependent on what stroke you swim and what event you swim, but the basic idea is the same.
An ideal stroke rate is different for each person, however, if it is too low, dead spots appear in your stroke and if it is too high, you are probably not pulling the right way and might get tired too fast.
Hence swimming with Wetronome will help you achieve the ideal rate for you and improve upon it, so your stroke is not off rhythm as some might say.
The intervals of the beeps can be set with a small magnetic wand which is included in the package.
The set up is far from difficult. It is so easy, even a small child can do this.
You simply take the wand that comes with the device and tap it in a particular spot on the nome and after a few beeps and taps you are set and can go on with your practice.
At first, I would take the Wetronome out of my cap every time, I wanted to reset it, but after while it became apparent that this is not the way to go, so I tried setting my intervals with the magnetic wand through my swim cap and it worked very well.
So, once you place the Wetronome in your desired position, there is no reason to take it out to reset it.
After you set the Wetronome to the beeping rhythm of your choosing, stick it below your goggle strap or under your cap right in front of or behind your ear.
For me none of those spots work for me, because I hit them with my arms when passing by my head, so after a few trial spots, I figured out that if I have it a bit further behind my ear, almost close to the middle of the back of my head, I could hear the beeps well and I was free to stroke without obstacles. (obviously, this is a personal preference).
Now that you have done these two things - set the desired timing and placed it in a good spot, you are set to go and swim :).
You can use the Wetronome for every stroke, not just freestyle, so as you see it is very customizable and universal.
If you are a bit nervous that you might annoy the fellow swimmers with the constant beeping, don't worry. The beeps are actually not that loud, so unless they are right next to you, nobody but you will hear it.
If you think, this is useless.
The Wetronome has actually many more uses than just helping you with your swim pace.
I found it very helpful in unwinding after work.
Sometimes, you just want to go and jump in the pool and just stroke away without stopping and this little tool, really keeps you going.
It's almost like if you would go do a bike spin session to good music.
Another purpose for the Wetronome, could be something I call the "Association Swimming".
This technique is composed of choosing some part of the stroke you want to work on and a cue that helps you remember to work on that part of the stroke.
Let's say, u want to work on a nice catch.
Normally, you'd have to constantly remind yourself of having a good catch, but with the Wetronome, there are the beeps that help you out.
Each time you hear the beep, you focus on good catch, beep-good catch, beep-good catch. You get the picture :).
Whether you want to practice nice high elbow, finger entry or the end of your stroke, this could gradually help you with all.
This way, you cannot forget to do the right thing each time, therefore your stroke is bound to improve gradually.
This could work even on a bigger scale for your entire team.
If you'd have a device that you put underwater and set it to beep at certain intervals and then tell your team, "if you hear a beep, I want you to make sure your head is nice and low in the water, etc.".
I am sure you can think of more ways to enjoy this product.
A the time of writing this post, the Wetronome was a new item on the market, but since then it has been discontinued.
Instead, there is a great tool called the Finis Tempo Trainer.
It basically works exactly the same with a bit more intuitive interface.
Whether the Wetronome or the Tempo Trainer, it makes no difference. The idea of getting some audio cue about the desired tempo is priceless.