In swimming, a myriad of aids is available to help you become a faster swimmer. The basis is in swimming technique (read more about the 10 most common front crawl technique mistakes here ). But beyond that, there is plenty to support, such as swimming with paddles or swimming with a snorkel to focus more on technique with lifeguard certification.
But if we’re talking about speeding and not so much building strength or improving technique, the Finis tempo trainer can be a good tool to work on your stroke frequency*. It supports to keep swimming in a certain rhythm (beat frequency).
Stroke rate = the number of strokes you take per minute, or over a certain distance.
What is a tempo trainer?
The Finis tempo trainer is a small yellow box that you either attach to your swimming goggles or tuck under your swimming cap. You set it to a certain frequency at which a beep sounds. It’s basically a metronome that runners sometimes use, but this is specifically for swimmers. The idea is simple. When the beep sounds, something must have happened. Either you make a stroke, or it indicates interval.
Tip: the tempo trainer can of course be used underwater, but it is also great for running, for example.
Possibilities Finish tempo trainer
There are several options for which you can use the tool:
Improve your stroke rate.
Like most swimmers, you have a dominant side in swimming. For me, this is left (despite being right). With my left arm, I not only make a technically better stroke but there is also more power and pace behind it. The right side is my breathing side and so that side is messier and also different in frequency (I once had this measured with a ‘smart paddle measurement’). This is something common among swimmers. The tempo trainer can then help develop an equal cadence and rhythm in your stroke for both arms.
Improve your efficiency.
Swimming faster is not only a matter of making more strokes but above all of making more efficient strokes. If you can make fewer strokes at the same speed, you swim more efficiently. With the tempo trainer, you can work on the same amount of strokes without losing tempo.
The other way around, of course. If you are mainly a sprinter, you need less sliding stroke and above all a higher arm tempo (but still efficient). They can use the tempo trainer to work at a higher frequency and thus search for the ideal in which they can continue to combine strength and tempo. Too high a frequency can ensure that you mow very hard with your arms, but that you do not take enough water.
It can serve as a tempo clock.
1 of the settings is to get a beep every minute (or whatever you set it). So if you have sets where you have to leave every minute and you don’t have a swim watch or a good pool clock, you can use it as an internal clock.
Above you have been able to read what you can train with the tempo trainer. But now let’s make it a little more practical. The tempo trainer has three settings. I’ll deal with all three briefly, and start with the third function.
Function 3, stroke rate. You indicate a frequency and the device beeps at that frequency. So the tempo trainer is at 1 second. Then it beeps every second. The idea is that you make a stroke exactly on the beep and thus learn to swim at an ideal stroke frequency. This does not mean that a higher frequency will also lead to a higher swimming speed.
Advantages and disadvantages of the tempo trainer
1. Support in stroke rate or time by means of beep.
2. Helps in getting into a new routine.
3. Can also be used during a triathlon competition, so that you do not collapse after a long distance.
The beep can be perceived as disturbing (other swimmers don’t hear it, so don’t worry about that).
It remains a tool. Swimmers regularly drop back to their natural frequency without the pace trainer.
It is searching for the ideal frequency for you. In which you get sufficient return from your stroke, continue to swim technically well, but you can increase the frequency slightly. The ideal setting is therefore best obtained by taking a measurement with a swimming trainer.
Some other practicalities:
- Yes, of course, the Finis Tempo trainer is waterproof.
- You can make the beep sound louder or softer.
- Other swimmers are not bothered by your beep, you also placed the device close to your ear.
- The battery is easy to change and widely available.
- The device switches itself off so that the battery is used efficiently.
- There is a clip-on it, so you can click it on your swimming goggles, but also use it for running, for example.
- The device comes with a manual, with only a few buttons it is simple to use.