National swimming coach, Stephanie Fraser says that one of the greatest benefits for the swimmers who attended the recently concluded FINA (World Swimming Federation) World Championships was that they were afforded the opportunity to participate in the globally renowned “Swim, Power Test”, created by Global Sport Technology.
Fraser, who managed the Guyana team of swimmers Niall Roberts, Britany van Lange and Jessica Stephenson, at the championships, said that this test will now play a very intricate role in helping the swimmers as they develop their skills.
Designed by Dr. Dr. Genadijus Sokolovas, the “Swim, Power, Test” is one which measures the velocity, force, acceleration and power of each phase of a swimmer’s stroke. To take the test, a swimmer is connected to a machine via a string, and while he swims, the machine is measuring about 30 different aspects of the swimmer’s stroke 60 times per second.
The test is touted to have been used by 25 Olympic gold medalists including Michael Phelps.
Fraser said that after being informed that some countries were being offered the test for free she able to negotiate with FINA personnel to have the cost intensive test administered to Guyana’s three swimmers. According to Fraser the going cost for the Test ranges between US$500 – US$800, a cost that the governing body for swimming in Guyana, the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association could nary afford. But Fraser affirmed that for those who can afford it, the benefits outweighs the cost.
The test is considered to be particularly beneficial to swimmers who have limited information on where they are going wrong with their drills, which in some cases can actually worsen a swimmer’s strokes if they are doing drills incorrectly.
The “Swim, Power Test” quantifies every phase of individual stroke. Swimmers have different strengths and weaknesses, which can be identified using the method.
“This test was real eye opener for our swimmers. It was really important for them because it gives them a chance to see their flaws and tells them exactly what it is that have to work on. In Guyana we, the coaches, can look at the swimmers and be able to tell some of the areas that they need to work but we can’t get this kind of indepth analysis that this test offers. It was really, really good that they got this opportunity, they each came away with a DVD from the test and they can use this to improve on their future performances,” Fraser said.
Following the test, the swimmer’s strokes are analyzed by Sokolovas himself, after which he can immediately recommend drills. He later provides the swimmer with an in-depth analysis of his/her stroke, partly by comparing the stroke against a database of many of the world’s best swimmers.
“So they hooked them up the power test machine which is connected to the computer and while they were swimming, the doctor was able to analyze several aspects of their performance.
Apart from the test, the team was also afforded the opportunity to interact with some of the leading swimmers who attended the event. The swimmers managed to mingle with the likes of swimmers such as former 200m and 400m world champion Paul Biedermann, Japanese multiple Olympic breaststroke gold medalist and former 100m breaststroke world record holder Kosuke Kitajima, Olympic gold medalist and current world 400m women’s individual medley record holder Australian Stephanie Rice, and men’s individual medley record holder Ryan Lotche.
As it pertains to the performance, Fraser said that some of the performances produced by the swimmers were truly commendable, the crowning moment being van Lange’s win of her heats in the women’s 100m freestyle, which she finished with a new personal best time.
Despite being ranked fourth in her heats with an entry time of 1:02.54s, van Lange, who swam out of lane six in the third of 10 heats, emerged the winner of her heat after finishing her race in a new personal best time of 1:01.39s. Overall in the race van Lange ranked 55th. Van Lange also participated in the women’s 200m women’s freestyle where she achieved a final ranking of 46.
Another striking moment was Roberts drop to number 62 from 66 in the world ranking of the men’s 50m freestyle after his performance in the event at the championships. Roberts’ also dropped his world ranking in the men’s 100m freestyle where he went from 80 to 74.