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Top Swimming coaches use LabChart for optimizing swimming technique

24 Nov 2008

TeamTermin, led by its founder Budd Termin is currently working with ADInstruments to bring the latest in performance testing for the sport of swimming by combining the late Dr Al Craig’s velocity swim meter with ADInstruments PowerLab data acquisition system and the LabChart Video Capture module.

History of the Velocity Swim Meter

In the mid 1970s, the Dr Al Craig from the University of Rochester and Dr David Pendergast from the University of Buffalo pioneered the study of swimming biomechanics by creating a velocity swim meter used with strip chart recorders to calculate velocity stroke frequencies and distances per stroke. Dr Craig conducted a study that compared the results of elite swimmers from the 1976 and 1984 Olympic Trials and drew some significant conclusions about how the technical component of swimming affected performance. This type of study is referred to today as “race analysis”, and is one of the most cited swimming studies in history.

"One of the highlights of this form of analysis is the instantaneous feedback coaches can give to the athletes, allowing them to do repeated trials until the best stroking pattern is identified. It will not be long before this technology will become the 'gold standard' for swimming technique analysis, and we are ready to showcase this method to the masses. Swimming is a particularly hard sport to measure because all the action is under water, and special equipment is required. ADInstruments Powerlab system with the synchronized video is really a complete solution, taking swimming technique analysis to the next level."

Budd Termin

Easy Setup

Velocity is measured by attaching a non-stretchable line to the back of a thin belt wrapped around a swimmer’s waist. The line passes through a series of pulleys and over the wheel of a DC generator positioned at the side of the pool. Multiple underwater video cameras are spaced along the pool to ensure constant view of swimmer. The LabChart Video Capture Module records videos sequentially and synchronizes the video with the velocity signals coming from the DC generator. Data is displayed on the computer along with video recording for immediate review and analysis.

"Today, it is so much easier to put video on a computer and do analysis with the software tools that ADInstruments has developed. It has made the process much easier and simpler. We have traveled with this equipment quite literally all over the world and presented at national and international symposiums. This equipment is easy to bring to any site, so we are really excited to work with ADInstruments"

Budd Termin

Improvement of swimming technique and performance

The work performed by Budd Termin and etc has demonstrated that swimmers attain their velocity using different methods or techniques and these differences in techniques could be as unique as a fingerprint. The swim meter and underwater cameras with PowerLab and the Video Capture Module provide a complete solution by identifying subtle changes in stroke technique (accelerations and decelerations) and can positively identify parts of the technique that are slowing the swimmer down (drag), thus eliminating the subjectivity of what needs correcting.

The only additional ingredient required is a swimming coach to analyze the recordings. Swimming coaches are able to use the video and LabChart recordings to highlight areas that require changes. Even in a relatively short period of time, meaningful improvement in technique and performance is possible.

"We are starting to believe all swimmers achieve their velocity from technique in distinctly different ways, and the differences are as unique as a fingerprint, so a one size fits all approach may not optimize the potential of swimmers or athletes that may even be swimming at the elite level."

Budd Termin

Video and data recordings easily shared

Before the release of the Video Capture Module, synchronized data recordings from PowerLab and video recordings from underwater cameras were performed and viewed separately. Analysis of swimming technique was made by combining data and video recordings into a single video file that can be externally viewed and shared.

"We have had over 26,000 people in a little over a year viewing these videos and they have been posted on websites and in discussion groups all over the internet so quite honestly some of the video that you can see is some of the most viewed swimming video on the internet today…This technology is really going to try take swimming to the next level and try to revolutionize a sport that is really hard to measure because all the action is under water and you need special equipment to do that and ADInstruments really lets us do that".

Budd Termin

With ADInstruments new LabChart Reader, sharing of video and data recordings is made much easier. LabChart Reader is free, easy to use and can be downloaded by anyone interested in looking or analyzing synchronized video and data files. It includes all the standard LabChart analysis and features.

"This is an important feature because the files collected (tracing and video) can then be shared with coaches/swimmers/parents for playback after a testing session is completed."

Budd Termin

About Budd Termin

Budd Termin is the founder and president of TeamTermin Sports Performance specializing in the improvement of sports development. During his 20 years as University of Buffalo Swimming and Diving coach, his achievements includes five times "Coach of the Year", seven times team conference championship titles, coached six athletes to seven conference ""Swimmers of the Year award"", and was the first coach in the history of New York State Higher Education System to receive the prestigious State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service award in 2001. Academically, his teams ranked at the top the nation for more than a decade for team grade point average, and finished 1st in the nation for all of Division I Men’s Swimming programs during the Spring Semester of 1993 and the Fall semester of 1995.

Interview with Budd Termin - Elite Swimming Coach and LabChart User.

Budd Termin holds a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Clarion University and a Master's Degree in Sports Administration from the University of Kansas. He is an internationally-recognized researcher with over 17 publications on physiology/biomechanics of swimming. He was also part of the design team that developed the TYR high performance swimming suit that was used by swimmers at the Athens Olympic Games. Termin and associates also hold a US patent for an underwater training lights device designed to train and improve the technique of swimmers. ("System and Method for Training a Swimmer." U.S. Patent Number 6,086,379. July 11, 2000. David Pendergast, Albert Termin, and John Zaharkin. "Underwater Training Lights"). He is currently an Assistant Professor in Erie Community College.

About ADInstruments Video Capture Module

LabChart's Video Capture Module allows for the simultaneous recording and synchronization of a movie and a LabChart data file. The LabChart data and the movie can be played back together, allowing any effects on the data caused by events during the experiment to be observed.LabChart Reader is available as a free download from the product page. Because there is no recording function in the program, LabChart Reader can only open and analyze previously recorded LabChart or Chart data files.

Try Before You Buy

Video Capture v1.3 is available for Mac OS X users. Video Capture v1.0 is available for Windows users. The Module is available in Evaluation Mode and can be downloaded by registered PowerLab and LabChart v6 or LabChart Pro users.

By Matthew Goddard

Science Manager

Researcher, Dad and motorbike racer.