Highlighted by the Olympics, countless swimming world records have been broken so far this year. Today?s swimmers are unquestionably exceptional and one reason for that is the phenomenal training advances over the past two decades.
One of the most practical developments is the use of new equipment, including digital video technology, and underwater video, says Steve Crocker, a former competitive swimmer and coach, now general manager at Aquatic Commercial Industries. Aquatic athletes now can get real-time feedback on their technique, including in-depth race analysis. One of the latest software programs is Dartfish, which enables side-by-side, frame-by-frame video comparison of multiple swimmers, notes Scott Colby, sport performance consultant for USA Swimming.
Today?s aquatic athletes also are more focused on holistic training. Crocker says that thanks to new research over the past two decades, coaches and athletes have a better understanding of proper nutrition and the importance of core strength training. As a result, swimmers and divers put more emphasis on dryland training, in addition to their time in the pool.
Perhaps most recently, with the release of high-tech swimwear such as the controversial Speedo LZR, athletes? attire has essentially become a piece of equipment. The jury?s still out on where this trend will end up, but one thing?s for sure: It?s making some big waves.
So how have these advances affected the aquatics industry as a whole? You may have seen it already following this summer?s Games. ?When people are breaking world records there?s more interest in swimming,? Crocker explains. ?Michael Phelps [as an individual] has probably been responsible for a large number of kids deciding they want to swim.?