Can a Virtual Coach Improve Your Swimming Workouts?

Swimming Workouts Tracker

Photo: Xmetrics.it

Unless you’re a professional swimmer or just swimming in money, chances are you don’t have a coach shouting performance-improving tips at you while you’re racking up laps in the pool.

But soon, for a fraction of the cost of actual coaching, you can have a virtual swim coach in your ear, providing real-time feedback on your lap time, stroke and turn efficiency, and more.

Xmetrics, a small, water-friendly tracker that attaches to the back of your goggles, is designed to help you even more than a swim coach likely could, says Xmetrics founder and CEO Andrea Rinaldo. Why? The gadget is in the pool with you, rather than providing feedback from the deck.

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“We offer the possibility to train with a professional tool that is easy to use and can help you gain a deeper understanding of your performance,” says Rinaldo, a former professional swimmer in Italy, swim coach and engineer.

Diving Into Xmetrics’ Underwater Technology for Your Swimming Workouts

As soon as you hit start, the accelerometer- and gyroscope-equipped Xmetrics detects your type of swim stroke. As you glide through the pool, it automatically tracks your lap time, distance, the efficiency of strokes and turns, your heart rate and the calories you’ve burned. Plus, if you’re wearing the device’s waterproof earplugs, you can hear all of that data in real-time.

At the end of each training session, the apparatus uploads your swim metrics to the free companion app via Bluetooth. You can also plug it into your computer’s USB port. The Xmetrics dashboard then shows charts and data on your performance as well as how it compares with that of previous training sessions. “You can see how your technique improves with each session,” Rinaldo says.

Craving a little competition to bring an edge to your training? You can compete in virtual swim meets by sharing your swim performance data with other app users or posting it onto social media.

Xmetrics will come in two models, XFIT ($199) for everyday swimmers, and XPRO ($299) for more elite athletes. While both track swimming metrics and provide real-time data, the XPRO also lets coaches upload training programs to their swimmers’ devices and get back data on how they are performing against their goals.

One of the biggest challenges in developing this device was to ensure that it didn’t interfere with proper form, or a swimmer’s drag in the water. Hence why Xmetrics is small, lightweight, and fits to the back of the head rather than the wrist like other water-safe activity trackers, Rinaldo says. Plus, its curved, ergonomic design keeps it secure so your goggles won’t fall off mid-stroke.

While available on Indiegogo through December 12 for a 40 percent pre-order discount, the tracker won’t be widely distributed until March 2015 — just in time for triathlon training.

Thinking about taking the plunge? To learn more about Xmetrics, head to xmetrics.it or check out the crowdfunding campaign at indiegogo.com.