View Full Version : Making a Swimming App: Input Appreciated

July 29th, 2011, 01:20 PM

I've always loved swimming during the summer. I just graduated college and was thinking about making an iPhone app for swimmers.

The thing is, I never was a competitive swimmer, mostly using a local lake. Would greatly appreciate some feedback and input. :)

So: What features would you like in an app?
And: Would a feature to record swim times of standard swims (100 Breast SCY) be useful? Would it be good for training purposes or more used for recording meet results?


July 29th, 2011, 06:34 PM
Sounds like a fun project! Cell phones and water don't mix very well so most people don't have them on the side of the pool for a handy reference to their last swim times. I'm sure that problem will be solved some day so it doesn't hurt to get a jump on things.

I generally blog all of my significant workout times as well as the workout I did. It would be nice to sort though the times to track progress over time. Say I did a 400 three months ago and then had a great 400 tomorrow. If I wanted to check to see my improvement, an app with some data sorting features might help.

There are different distances and types of competitive swims. You have Long Course (Meters), Short Course (Meters) and Short Course (Yards). Each of those have different "standard" distance swims. Then, you have the different strokes: Free, Fly, Breast, Back and IM. Not all strokes have the same "standard" distances. There's a lot to sort out just from that.

Then, you have variations within the strokes like Kick (with/wo Board), Pull (with/wo paddles), Fins, Snorkel, etc. Some of us wear drag suits which alters times.

Of course these are all "nice to have" features. You could start much smaller and grow it as your app gains interest. But it is a good idea to know where your app might grow in the future before you design the first version.

Would I use this? No... I sold out to Google and Android. But if I had an Iphone... sure.

August 1st, 2011, 04:23 PM
Thank you so much for this useful info!! Really appreciate it. A few more q's if you don't mind.

So I'm thinking of making the app track workouts. When you say a 400, does that mean 400 meters total swum? And if so, then you would like to know that you did that and how long it took? (might there be any other data you'd like to record?)

Cheers! :)

August 1st, 2011, 04:29 PM
Check out this for the super-souped-up future of swimming metrics -- http://www.avidasports.com/index.html -- but you'd need sensors on the body feeding data back to the phone/app.

I struggle to see, though, what kind of app I'd use unless it had some sensor technology associated with it. I'd love to have essentially a garmin forerunner type sensor + app (https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=349&ra=true) that could track my performance in a pool workout (e.g., heart rate, strokes per length, stroke rate, pace, etc.) in the same way that my wife gets to track her running workouts. Of course, I think to get that I'd essentially need some like what AvidaSports offers.

jim thornton
August 1st, 2011, 04:38 PM

there are a number of sites you can look at with useful swimming features to incorporate into your app.

For instance, right here at USMS, if you visit the Go the Distance section, you can see how this helps us keep track of our yards, meters, miles, etc. and lets us know if we are on pace for our (self-defined) yearly goal. It's really popular.


One of my favorite sites, seeing as I am getting a wee bit long in the tooth, is Chris Stevenson's "rating calculator" at the Virginia LMSC website. You can access this here:

http://www.vaswim.org/cgi-bin/rcalc.cgi What is so cool about this one is that you can compare a swim done at, say, age 47 with the same distance swum at age 59. Youth has obvious advantages, but this rating calculator--like a handicap in golf--is a fun way to compare your times with nemeses in different age groups. It's also a good way to see if you are losing more or less ground to the reaper as normative declines would predict!

There are also a number of sites that will convert your times from, say, a long course meters pool to a short course yards pool. My personal favorite, because it has very generous conversions, is this one:


One thing I haven't been able to find, but would love to get, is something that would let me enter all my times during a given season for different events, then crank out graphs automatically so I could see if, for example, my 50 free is deteriorating, holding steady, or improving.

August 1st, 2011, 05:38 PM
It would be nice to have a log that could sync up to your Blogspot and then you aren't entering mulitple times. As far as distances you need to split it out to SCY (short course yards), SCM (short course meters) and LCM (Long Course Meters). Short course is a 25-yard/meter pool, long course meters is a 50 meter pool.

I'd just like to see:
-The training log (sync'd to your Blog)
-A Tab to record your times at each meet by date (with your splits if possible)
-A best times tab

Go on the USMS homepage and look under the competition tab and see how all the times and meets, etc are broken out, that should give you some ideas.

August 1st, 2011, 06:19 PM
Thank you so much for this useful info!! Really appreciate it. A few more q's if you don't mind.

So I'm thinking of making the app track workouts. When you say a 400, does that mean 400 meters total swum? And if so, then you would like to know that you did that and how long it took? (might there be any other data you'd like to record?)

Cheers! :)

A 400 could mean three things: 400 Meters long course (50m pool), 400 Meters short course (25m pool), or 400 Yards (25 yard pool).

A typical workout for me would include 3500 to 5000 yards/meters. Most of it is in sets. For example, I might do 8 100 yard swims on a 1:15 interval. That would mean that I push off every minute and fifteen seconds whether I finish the previous 100 yards in 1:10, 1:12 or 1:14. It is hard to remember all the splits on a workout so I don't see where tracking this is worthwhile. Even if you could fit all that into an app, you would need to learn the "swim workout language" which is kind of confusing and a bit different for different coaches. If you haven't done any competitive swimming (as you indicated in your first post) it would be a daunting task to compile the different combinations and permutation of workout sets into an app that would be even remotely usable. It would be sufficient to just track total distance swum on the workout as well as perhaps the time taken and a few short notes.

I try to do something at "race pace" 3-4 times a week near the end of a workout. For me, that is worth saving. It is kind of a little progress indicator.

So, for a particular day, I might enter something like this:

Date: 8/1/2011
Pool: Short Course Yards
Total Distance: 4000 Yards
Workout time: 90 minutes
Timed Events:
400 Free - 5:55 Drag Suit, Pull
200 Breast - 1:38 Drag Suit, Kick
Notes: It was a nice sunny day!