Larkfield Leisure Centre is seeing a resurgence in swimming after becoming the first pool in Kent to offer fitness tracking technology for swimmers.
tmactive, which runs the centre on behalf of Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, installed the awarding-winning SWIMTAG technology at both Larkfield Leisure Centre and Tonbridge Swimming Pool. Like a Fitbit for the pool, the wristband allows swimmers to track their training in the pool from calories burned and distance swum to personal bests.
More than 400 customers regularly use the fitness tracker, notching up an impressive 5,945 swims and a total distance of 7,021km between them. In total, users of SWIMTAG have spent 161 days and three hours in the pool with the average swim lasting 32 minutes.
The technology also allows swimmers to take part in a wide range of challenges to help keep them motivated, as Sarah King, a tmactive trustee and mother of two from Mereworth testifies.
“I enjoy swimming but it can get a bit monotonous. An old school friend who lives in Ashford had posted her plans to swim the distance of the English Channel for charity. I’d heard about SWIMTAG and discovered that you could sign up to swim a lake, river, estuary, channel, sea or ocean anywhere in the world. I found the English Channel, signed up and became a virtual swim buddy for my friend.”
The friends motivated and supported each other over the next eight weeks during which time Sarah spent 18 hours in the pool swimming a total of 1,408 lengths. The 47 year old also burned 8,951 calories. And now she is hooked.
“Taking part in the SWIMTAG challenge has certainly helped improve my fitness and flexibility and stopped any backache. Swimming is a great stress reliever and I feel much more toned in my core area and around my waist and I’ve also shed the half a stone I wanted to lose. The challenge feature and having a friend to compete against motivated me to swim as much as I could in a week.
“I love the graphics which show how far you have progressed across a stretch of a water, the number of lengths you’ve done, your stroke type and speed. Wearing SWIMTAG has made me chat to other users at the end of my swim, so it has made the pool much more sociable for me,” she says.
Since completing her 22-mile English Channel swim, Sarah has swum the distance of the Bristol Channel (11 miles) and signed up to a number of competitions including a ‘500m of any stroke’ challenge with fellow Larkfield swimmers and a UK-wide Swimmers Mile event.
“You can see a list of the other people you are competing against, their profile photos and which leisure centres they are swimming at across the UK.”
Larkfield Leisure Centre and Tonbridge Swimming Pool both feature the SWIMTAG lane displays which allow swimmers to get feedback on their swim while in the water. Swimmers just raise their wristband to the screen at the end of the lane to display all of their data.
For more information, please visit www.tmactive.co.uk