If you are on a swim team or are training to be on a swim team, one of the most important things you need to understand is how to read swim pace clocks. At first glance, they might seem intimidating and something only seasoned coaches can read, but with a little practice, you will get the hang of it. You will be glad you understand them in the long run because they will help you improve your lap times with or without a coach.
Speed Up Your Times
One of the best uses for the swim pace clocks is timing your laps. It is easy enough to glance at the clock when you start your lap and then again when you finish. This will allow you to determine your lap time for each lap you take. When you take your swimming seriously, this allows you to determine if you are slowing down or speeding up. This is especially helpful if you have changed anything with your stroke or are trying a new stroke. It is also a great way to practice without your coach if you want to sneak in some extra practice time.
If you are using an analog pace clock, such as the Accusplit Swim Pace Clock, you will notice there is no hour hand. Swimmers use the second hand to gauge their lap times. The top of the clock is marked with a 60 and the bottom with a 30. If you hear the coach mention starting at the top or bottom, they simply mean starting on the 60 or 30. The red hand is the hand that counts the seconds, and the black hand is the hand that counts the minutes.
Some swimming pools have digital swim pace clocks, such as the IST Cut Swimcount Clock. The digital clocks work similarly to the analog clocks except they are easier to read at first glance. The seconds are displayed after the colon and the minutes before the colon. They can be used for the same purposes as the analog clocks.
Understanding how to read swim pace clocks is one of the best ways to allow yourself to improve your swim times. Whether you are on a swim team or simply want to increase your swim times for your own benefit, using the pace clock is the best way to determine if you are reaching your goals in the water.