Stingray uses film to benefit swimmers

| 03/02/2016
Cayman News Service

Cole Morgan (right) looks at video of his swim with coach David Pursley

(CNS): Stingray Swim Club is incorporating underwater filming into its training regime, enabling coaches and athletes to find and correct any flaws in swimmers’ strokes, which will improve their performance in the pool. The technology, donated by Cayman Islands Boat Rentals, comprises a mobile video cart, television, underwater camera and DVR.

“This opportunity to invest in our young swimmers, bringing technology to the pool deck and allowing our coaches to literally show our swimmers what they are doing and how they can improve was one which we were happy to provide,” said CJ Moore, the company’s managing director.

“These athletes swim over 18 hours a week. If they are doing one little thing wrong for those 18 hours, week-in-week-out, it gets harder and harder for them to adjust their technique; and in swimming one tiny adjustment can be the difference between qualifying for a meet or not qualifying. When I understood this, sponsoring the equipment made 100 percent sense to me.”

Stingray’s head coach, David Pursley, trained for a short while with Ian Armiger (Cayman’s first technical director) in the acclaimed English swim programme at Loughborough University (Stingray swimmer Alex McCallum and former club member Lara Butler attend university at Loughborough and are part of the swim programme there).

At the university, Pursely met Jonty Skinner, British swimming’s then head technical analyst who is now associate head coach at the University of Alabama. Skinner introduced the concept of using filming as part of daily swim training for technical development, allowing swimmers to see flaws – no matter how small – and work on correcting them immediately.

Pursley said spoke of the opportunities provided by the donated equipment. “Filming in swimming is an absolutely essential part of technical development. In a sport were a single movement is practised for millions of repetitions, technical flaws can be deeply ingrained, quickly becoming an unnoticed part of a swimmer’s stroke,” he said.

“For athletes to make adjustments and changes to their technique they must first see what the problem is. After repeating a movement pattern millions of times it becomes very difficult to find the problem without a different perspective and actually seeing what they are doing provides them with that perspective.”

The DVR and underwater camera allow the swimmers to see their stroke patterns in slow motion, frame by frame, from any angle; and this ability to analyse their strokes in this capacity has helped Stingray’s visual learners understand concepts that were previously a struggle to grasp.

From the coach’s perspective, the depth of a kick or a pull and the angle of the arm or leg underwater is near impossible to see from above and not something an athlete can watch themselves do as they swim. The underwater angle helps to fine tune and pick apart even the smallest of details, and slowing down the video helps ensure nothing goes unnoticed.

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Category: Swimming

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