View Full Version : Newbie Lap Counting Question

May 8th, 2014, 11:58 AM
Hello All,

So I've gotten back into swimming as part of my fitness regime and had a question many might think is basic, but I'm interested in your thoughts.

I usually do longer swims as opposed to interval training. My go to swim is 2000yds which is usually around 40min, give or take. 2 weeks ago I clocked 39:25 which was great - during the next swim a couple of days later I thought "I might even beat that" only to finish with a 46:20. I was really surprised (and bummed). The next swim was 40:35. So I was thinking...

I may have lost count and added a couple of laps to the longer time or dropped a couple on the shorter. I had a lap counter watch which got moisture inside and stopped working a while ago, and frankly was kind of a pain to hit the little button at the top of each lap - I found it distracting.

My question:

What do you do to make sure you're accurately counting laps on longer swims? I'm going to move to 2500yds soon and fear that may be more of a count problem.

Thanks in advance for your time and any help you can offer.



May 8th, 2014, 03:50 PM
http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sportcount-combo-lap-counter-and-timer-4027/ :agree:

May 8th, 2014, 04:17 PM
you could take pennies, and after every 100 yards, slide a penny from one pile to the next. or if your pool has small tiles, you can line up a kick board and move it back a tile after every 100 or 200 yards to keep count.

May 8th, 2014, 04:31 PM
I use a Sportcount like Elaine linked. It is great as long as you remember to push the button. It will record all your splits, too.

May 8th, 2014, 04:32 PM
Some people slide the beads on the lane rope. Watch out for waves or devious lanemates sliding the beads back when you are not looking though. I find that watching the pace clock (if there is one within view when swimming) is quite effective. I'll check the clock nearly every 50 or 100 yds. If I miss a look, or get confused, a quick calculation reveals whether I have completed 50, 100 or 150 since my last look. This should work unless your pace is very erratic.

May 8th, 2014, 04:42 PM
If you have a digital clock within view you can periodically (every 200 yards) check the time. I know that my pace will be within 10 seconds of a given 200 pace (in your case 4:00). This way you can be certain that you are on the correct lap (adjusting the expected time every 200).

May 8th, 2014, 06:13 PM
If you have a digital clock within view you can periodically (every 200 yards) check the time.

Doesn't even need to be digital. Analog pace clocks have minute hands, too.

May 8th, 2014, 06:29 PM
I count internally and make up little games in my head. E.g. I think about how many laps I've done, what that divides into, how much I have left, and that seems to cement it in my brain. Sometimes I'll say the number sort of out loud.
What other people have said about having a pace and checking that on the clock is also good.
Without having intervals you could also do something different every fifth length, 7th length, or whatever (better if it's an odd number--keeps you alert and going in a different direction than the last one helps you remember). Examples: backstroke, fingertip drag, breathe every third, kick harder, go faster, etc.

May 8th, 2014, 09:23 PM
I have that same lap counter Elaine linked to and love it. I just click it at one end of the pool every time just before the turn. Between that and a rough estimate on time on when I should be at a certain place, and it all falls into place.

Cracks me up when some of the guys will stop and look at me to see if we're done yet knowing I'm the only one with a counter.

May 9th, 2014, 01:37 AM
You could buy one of these (http://www.swimovate.com/). They are relatively cheap, extremely accurate, have a whole host of other features other than lap counting and you don't have to push a button at the end of each lap. I have been extremely satisfied with mine since I got it a year and a half ago. My only criticism is that the strap is now showing some signs of wear and tear and when it breaks eventually, I don't know if it can be fixed. I remember seeing this complaint from someone else. I need to look into soon because perhaps they have a solution now.

May 10th, 2014, 01:18 PM
I do math in my head, figuring out the percentage of the swim I have finished, and, if possible, simplify the fraction: 35/80 = 7/16, etc. The simplification helps to keep the lap number in my head.

Michael Heather
May 10th, 2014, 03:25 PM
Keep count in your head.

Swim several 100s and take note of the average time. When launching into the longer swim, you should already know what time to expect for each 100, simply watch the clock and compare. Adjust, obviously, if you are swimming faster or slower than expected. Technology is wonderful, but highly overrated for a task as simple as this.

May 10th, 2014, 08:25 PM
For some of my longer swims (2-3,000), I'll repeat a 500 multiple times: 25-25-50-50-75-75-100-100. I focus on DPS during the first of the pair, then pick up the tempo for the second. The varying distance helps in keep track of yardage (for me).

May 10th, 2014, 09:51 PM
I use the Garmin Swim Watch, although it may be a little expensive just for counting laps. Some people complain that it adds an extra length every now and then but I've been using it 5 days a week for about two months and so far, it has never failed to count my lengths accurately.

Honestly, though, I think the penny idea is a better option than buying a high-tech watch, especially if all you need is a lap counter.

May 10th, 2014, 11:32 PM
Keep count in your head.

Technology is wonderful, but highly overrated for a task as simple as this.

I hear what you are saying but the poolmate also acts as a stopwatch, records all the info for your entire workout, (which you can download onto your computer with the Pro model), tells you how many calories you have burned and the coolest feature of all (well for me anyway) is that it counts your strokes and gives you an efficiency rating. This has really helped me increase the efficiency of my stroke. I am one of the easily distracted types and I find it difficult to concentrate on my catch, head position, body roll, count my strokes and keep count of the number of laps I am doing at the same time. With the watch doing the stroke counting for me I can concentrate on my stroke. In fact I really only use it for the stroke count and stopwatch feature. I don't really need a lap counter as I never swim anything longer than a 200. It is nice to know how many meters I have swum at the end of a workout, though. Also to have a general idea of the number of calories burned (although I kind of suspect the accuracy of that feature). But if I do a set of say 10 x 100 it will record all the times and record a stroke count for each repeat (this is really neat as you can see your stroke count increase as you get tired). I don't have the Pro version. The basic model is sufficient for my needs. I don't need to download my workouts onto the computer but I suspect this might be more attractive to triathletes or long distance swimmers.