Is there an app that can help me swim straight in a line in the pool?

Hi guys,

Are there any apps in apple watch that could help you to swim in a straight line in a swimming pool, perhaps via tapping your wrist and such?

If not, do you guys know of any device that can do this?

Forum: 

#1 Let's start with, can you walk in a straight line?

Yes, a swimming pool is more confusing, but can you walk across a room in a straight line? now what about a street? a parking lot? I'm guessing this just takes careful practice. Learn to tell when you are veering left or right.

Now, if you want to know where the end of the pool is before you smack into it, pair up with a friend or a coach, and get them something long, a pole of some kind, and put something on it like a tenis ball. They can tap you as you get within a couple strokes of the finish. Low tech, but effective.

#2 Non-app tips

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I don't know of an app, unfortunately. Let us know if you find one.

However, I do swim a lot. What I've taken to doing is annoying, but it works. First, I see if I can get a lane by myself. If I can, so much the better. Either way, though, I'll always hug the right side, since my Apple Watch is on my left wrist and I don't want to smack it into the wall or lane line. Then, I'll feel with my right arm and foot as I swim. If I touch the line or wall, awesome. If I get too close, yes, I'll hit the barrier and sometimes get small bruises on my wrist or hand, but hey, it's gonna happen. If I feel nothing, I start veering to my right until I find the barrier again.

As to the wall, having someone tap you on the head is a great solution; the grip end of a white cane can do in a pinch. But I don't do that. Instead, I count my strokes, and slow as I near the count telling me I'm near the wall. I switch my stroke a bit, so my hands always end up palms out, fingers up. That way, when I find the wall, I'm gripping it rather than jamming my fingers against it. This hasn't failed yet.

A couple caveats: I don't swim competitively, only for exercise, so drag on walls and from modified strokes isn't a problem. Second, I only do breast stroke and free style (AKA crawl stroke) so I don't know how all this works with back stroke or butterfly.

#3 Low tech is probably best

I used to do 40 lengths every morning and, from experience, muscle and spacial memory are your best bet. Start slow, get the technique down before applying the power and you should be able to work out your strokes per length.

As an engineer, I'd say it would be difficult to have a system that could do this. A non-IOS device could be an arrangement of a beacon either end of the pool and a pair of underwater headphones that have the left right bleep, solid tone when you're going straight.

A very low tech solution could be having a speaker at either end emitting some sort of sound, but you're likely to make pool side enemies.

In short, Learn the same lane by feel and cadence of your stroke. Also, a swimming instructor would be able to help you sort any propensity you have for going off course.

Oh, one other thing, do widths instead, more turns but shorter distance between orientation points.

Happy splashing.

#4 an app for walking straight

Club AppleVis Member

if there is a way you could keep your iPhone dry, this app will work.

iWalkStraight by EveryWare Technologies

#5 Another suggestion

As one of the other posters said, it is nice if you can find a lane to yourself or at least the fewest number of people possible. Otherwise if you're not all swinning at the exact same speed you'll be running into other peoples' feet.

I used to swim a lot (one mile free style). I always swam counterclockwise in a loop on one side of the lane going one way and on the other side of the lane going the other way. Generally I would swim straight (which comes with practice), but even small variations from straight would sometimes put me against the ropes of the lane. If I got too close to the ropes of the lane, my right elbow would just nick the rope and I would know to veer a bit to the left. Although this didn't happen too often, by the time I swam a mile it had probably happened 10 or 20 times. This left a big welt on my left elbow.

So I went to a sporting store one day and asked if they had any elbow pads. "for what sport?" they asked. "Swimming," I said. Well, of course they didn't have any elbow pads for swimming, but I did get some elbow pads for some other sport. Basically it was a thin layer of some kind of strechable plastic, just enough to cover the place on my elbow that was nicking the ropes once in a while.

This completely solved the problem (although people at the pool always wondered why I always wore one elbow pad when I showed up at the pool!).

Also, using a free style stroke and having a sense of how long the pool was and about how many strokes it took to get across the pool, I never had a problem crashing my head into the wall since my hands were always reaching out in front of me. Occasionally there was the problem of some lady standing at the end of the pool who didn't realize there was a blind swimmer coming up to touch the wall, and you could imagine where that wound up. But that is a story for another day.

--Pete