Underwater camera helps swim campers, too

A series of underwater cameras at major national swimming events is a necessity for sports broadcasters. But a single camera can have multiple effects on local swimmers, too. Last week, Lincoln Northeast High School held a week-long swim camp, and recorded underwater video to help swimmers and coaches better understand what is happening under the water. The camera, according to LNE head coach Kyle Hunt, is a GoPro Hero 2 and it belongs to the Greater Nebraska Swim Team, which is coached by LNE assistant Nic Genrich. Below are Hunt’s comments on how the camera helps his swimmers.

The underwater camera helps the coaches see the affects of wave drag, form drag, and friction drag on the swimmers body from a underwater view.  At that point the coach can show the athlete what body, head, neck alignments need to be streamlined. We can slow the camera down and watch hand position at water entry, hand position through the pull, and elbow angle through the pull; finally, is the athlete reaching a full range of kick motions need to achieve maximum force and lift.

The camera also provides the swimmer a unique view of what the body is doing while swimming.  This is great instructional feedback for the athlete who may not have the best 'feel' for the water.

One of my favorite uses of the underwater camera is to take video of the best swimmers in the world and splice it on top of the age group swimmer and run them side-by-side. This gives the swimmer a comparison how they look and how the elite athlete looks.

We also use the camera on starts, turns and underwater kick.

This sport is hard because as human beings we are not mean to be aquatic. Humans are meant to walk, run, sit, throw, etc. So we must use every instructional tool available to make the swimmer faster and more efficient in the water.

I have been coaching swimming since 1994 and every Olympic year, we see an increase of competitive swimming participants. Which is awesome!  But more importantly, we see an increase number of swimming fans. Just look at the attendance at the Olympic trials in Omaha: 160,063 fans attended in 2008 and 164,585 in 2012. On top of that, 1,300 athletes competed in 2008 and nearly 2,000 competed in 2012.  

Here is a video of Olympic-champion Michael Phelps to give you a glimpse of what the elite look like underwater -

Published: July 16, 2012, Updated: July 16, 2012