View Full Version : keeping track of distance in longer sets

November 30th, 2005, 02:57 PM
I suppose this is an inexperienced swimmer problem, but I have a terrible time trying to keep track of my distance in longer sets. Pretty much anything over 300 and I start to lose track ("oh rats, does this lap make 400 or 450?"). I'm not normally the flighty forgetful type, really, but I get in the water and I seem to lose all short-term memory. :o I thought about getting one of those lap counter thingies but it seems like it would be a hassle to have to punch a button on every turn. Is there a trick to keeping track of these things? I love swimming longer distances, but it's disorienting to be in the middle of a warmup or set and suddenly realize I have no idea how far along I am.

November 30th, 2005, 04:35 PM
Why just today, I was swimmign a 1600. I thought, "Gee, is this lap 32 or 34?" I almost always get confused when I'm inthe thirties, especially if I'm really focusing on stroke count.

November 30th, 2005, 04:56 PM
It happens to me 2.
I just go with the smaller number (ie 32 not 34) better to do 2 much than 2 little

Bob McAdams
November 30th, 2005, 05:08 PM
For me, the solution was getting one of those lap timers that fits on your finger like a ring. It took a little practice to get used to hitting the button on every turn, but soon hitting the button became part of my turn routine. It also saves data on your fastest and slowest laps.


November 30th, 2005, 05:37 PM
If it's a 500...you can break it down into (10) 50's....and repeat the number of 50's each time going up the lane and back.



Nine...nine...nine... etc.

I prefer swimming 50's anyway....so this takes the mental torture down a knotch when going through the distance sets.

November 30th, 2005, 06:04 PM
I find it easiest to count by length instead of by 50; that way the number changes at each turn, so I have less time to forget. Sometimes I also count by length by hundred (1, 2, 3, 4, 2-1, 2-2, etc.). Basically, the counting has to engage me, otherwise I forget to think of it.

November 30th, 2005, 06:53 PM
I rely on the clock to keep my count correct.

Know your pace. For example, if you are doing 50 seconds per 50 yards, then if you lose count, just see where the second hand is after you get to the end of the current 50. If the second hand is near the 4 on the clock (assuming you started at the top of the minute) then you did 4 50s (or 10 or 16, etc.) In this example it takes you 6x50s for the second hand to get back to the top after you complete a 50.

If you do your 50s in 40 seconds, then it takes 3 50s for the second hand to get back to the top. The second hand will hit a distinct pattern, hitting the 8 on the first 50, the 4 on the next, and then back to the top.

Of course, if you do it in some odd number like 47 seconds or 66 seconds, it's not as easy, but if you keep checking the clock after each 50, you can still know whether you did 2 or 4 lengths since the last time you checked.

November 30th, 2005, 09:49 PM
The lap counter is perhaps useful, but Guvnah's suggestion is better.

I'd like to expand on that, but first I should qualify something. What I'm going to suggest really only applies if you happen to be swimming alone, and not as part of a master's team (although if you were on a team, I'd be surprsied if you wern't doing this already, I guess...). I mean I guess this information could still help you if you're on a team and doing team workouts, but it might have to be altered a little bit.

Really, the idea is that you start swimming on intervals. Instead of just swimming a 400 or a 450 at such and such intensity, give yourself a pace. Then, you should get a wristwatch that you can wear in the water, and figure out how to time with it. That'll be easier than using the on deck clocks...because unless they have digital scoreboard clocks like at my university pool, you can easily get confused as to how many minutes may have gone by. Plus there's the whole problem of seeing the clocks in the first place (goggle foggle!).

I mean this way you can check your pace/lap amount when you are in the middle of a swim, instead of having to pause at the wall.

If your pace on a 600 warmup was like......I don't know....12 minutes or something like that, then you'd know that you were on swimming a 2:00 for every 100. Meaning that if you were comming off the wall and were wondering if it was 400 or 450...a quick check of the watch showing either a time closer to 8:00 or 8:30 would let you know exactly where you were.

Or you could just hire someone to use the lap counter boards for every set you do... ;)

December 1st, 2005, 01:07 PM
Or you could just hire someone to use the lap counter boards for every set you do...

Isn't that what husbands are for? :p

December 1st, 2005, 02:47 PM
Originally posted by MichiganHusker

Isn't that what husbands are for? :p

What about those of us who don't have husbands? :)

December 1st, 2005, 03:29 PM
I've been known to routinely miscount on swims that are only around 200 - 300 yards.....My mind starts drifting into other things very quickly.....even if I'm pushing it.....Sometimes I concentrate so hard on keeping the pace up when it hurts that I lose track of the count that way as well.....and I've been told that I may have damaged a few brain cells here and there in my earlier years?.....Best thing to do is to draft off of someone else and leave it up to them to keep count!