New Technology to Advance Old Sport


Livermore, California (EastBayDaily) — With the next Olympic Games quickly approaching, disciplined swimmers around the world are training day in and day for their chance to shine in Beijing. Rules that once confined the swimmers have been loosened, making room for dolphin kicks on the breaststroke and flip turns in the medley. And just as the sport continues to change, so too has the technology.

FINIS, Inc. has played an integral role in allowing these young, and old, talents to shatter the barriers of yesterday and crush records that were once thought unsurpassable. Although young, FINIS, the northern California-based company founded by Olympic Gold Medalist and Stanford University Team Captain, Pablo Morales, and John Mix, is already well known for its innovative gear. Over the past 15 years, FINIS has completed extensive research and development efforts to take the reigns as the most technically advanced swimming equipment manufacturer in the United States and abroad. FINIS patents range from products such as the Swimmer's Snorkel, the Tempo Trainer, Zoomer fins, and even the SwiMP3, their newly released bone conduction waterproof MP3 player. As can only be expected, the latest performance-advancing device from FINIS, the "Underwater Pace Clock & Lap Counter," deserves no less praise.

With the addition of the Underwater Pace Clock, a uniquely waterproof digital clock for competition and practice settings, FINIS technical equipment continues to make even the most ordinary of workouts seem more exciting. The clock is completely submersible and waterproof to depths of 16 feet (5 meters). The unit has a large 10"x10" two-digit display for viewing across the pool, and comes equipped with LCD digit display for clear reading from multiple angles and varying distances. Swimmers can utilize this technology in tracking their sets and sendoffs, as well as by monitoring their desired pace – all without subsequently losing their stroke technique and stroke rhythm.

By placing the Underwater Pace Clock on the deck or resting it on the bottom of the pool, the swimmer or swimmers are able to obtain a clear visual readout and a constant awareness of their performance with no awkward lifting of the head. The device also includes a detachable infrared pole (3 feet in length) to transmit signals to the base of the unit. The infrared technology facilitates the lap counting function of the clock. Swimmers and coaches can use the Underwater Pace Clock to track longer distances in both practice and meet settings. Additionally, easy to access buttons on the unit allow the user to reset and switch between various modes. A unique feature of the Underwater Pace Clock is that it is fully powered by a standard 9-volt battery and absolutely no wires are necessary. The clock's internal battery provides for 240 hours of continuous, wireless operation.

With the invention of the new Underwater Pace Clock, FINIS has not only made it possible for coaches to give their swimmers that extra drive, but also made it so that the athletes can push themselves. When asked about the inspiration behind the new clock, President John Mix admitted that he cannot take full credit for the revolutionary device. Mix revealed that the initial concept actually came from world renowned swim coach, Richard Shoulberg. Shoulberg has coached 2 World Record holders, 8 American Record holders, and 18 Olympians. His credentials boast 2-time ASCA Coach of the year, Head Coach for the 86' World Championships and the '89, '91, and '93 Pan American Games. Coach Shoulberg's ability to produce top quality athletes is unlike any other in the industry.

During a visit back in 2006, Shoulberg, a man whose humble nature masks his extensive list of accomplishments, conveyed his enthusiasm over a make-shift waterproof clock he had recently received from a parent. He told Mix that the clock was, "The best gift I have ever received." Shoulberg's enthusiasm continued as he divulged, "It's the perpetual dog chasing the rabbit. There is no secret to success in swim training. Work hard when you're tired and push harder when you feel like there is nothing left. It's amazing how that little reminder can really influence your conscience, and inevitably, your performance." Mix, who has always respected Shoulberg's opinions, was intrigued by the idea and agreed that the ability to maintain visual pacing while not sacrificing head placement, body position, and tempo was crucial in driving swimmers to that next level in their training. And thus began the research to advance the concept of the Underwater Pace Clock.

In a recent statement regarding the upcoming release of the clock, Mix expressed, "The Underwater Pace Clock allows swimmers to reach that potential they never knew, or even believed, existed." Mix pledged that FINIS will continue to create new products to improve technique and to challenge athletes in the water. However, with their already highly innovative line of technical training products, FINIS has made it possible for even the most incredible of performances to be yesterday's news. Perhaps Pablo is having second thoughts as he sees his own records crumble under the pressure of today's young powerhouses. Regardless, with the release of the Underwater Pace Clock, FINIS will further solidify their reign as the leader in technical swimming development.

Underwater Pace Clock & Lap Counter: Waterproof digital clock for competition and practice settings.

Product Features: ▪ Large, easy-to-read display. ▪ Integrated flip-down stand for placement on deck or below the water. ▪ Contains infrared lap-counting function via detachable pole for coaches and meet settings (30" in length).

Benefits: ▪ With the clock resting at the bottom of the pool, swimmers can read pace times without having to lift their head awkwardly out of the water (and lose their stroke technique / rhythm). ▪ Does not use mechanical hands or arms to track pace time (gives two digit readout). ▪ Accurate lap-by-lap counting function makes it more versatile than a standard pace clock. ▪ Lap counting function can be used in race settings.

Technical Specs: ▪ 12" x 12" display ▪ Completely submergible to depths of 16 feet (5 meters). ▪ Uses a standard 9-volt battery for 240 hours of continuous operation.

Interface: ▪ LCD digits allow for easy reading from multiple angles and varying distances. ▪ Easy to access buttons on front of clock reset and switch between various modes. ▪ Buttons on top of detachable pole utilize infrared technology to transmit signals to base unit in order to count, reset, and change modes.

Modes ▪ The Underwater Pace Clock comes with two modes, Pace Clock mode and a Lap Counter mode. When switching between modes, the Pace Clock mode will continue to run and keep track of seconds so both modes can be used without affecting the other.

Pace Clock Mode: ▪ Two digital numbers continually count seconds from 00-59. Hold down the "-" button to reset back to 00. Seconds will begin to count upon release. Hold down the "+" button to switch between modes. Clock will continue to run, even while toggling between modes.

Lap Counter Mode: ▪ Two digital numbers display the current lap (can display all numbers 00-99). Press the "+" button to count up and press the "-" button to count down. Press and hold down the "-" button to return to 00.

**In conjunction with the new Underwater Pace Clock, FINIS also introduced the Digital Pace Clock.    



Katie Moeckel