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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > December 2016/January 2017 > SWIM TO THE BEAT


A Tempo Trainer can bring focus and rhythm to your stroke, as well as help you swim more mindfully, says Terry Laughlin

I’m a minimalist when it comes to swimming equipment. I haven’t used buoys, paddles, kickboards or fins for 25 years. However, one tool – the Finis Tempo Trainer – has deepened my capacity for mindfulness, yielded priceless insights into my stroke and taught me to ‘encode’ pacing skills in my nervous system. The Tempo Trainer (TT) is a small electronic metronome you can tuck under your cap or clip to goggles. Here’s why I would choose the TT over any other timing device, including pace clock or sports watch:

1 It focuses you. Swimmers often leave one end of the pool thinking only about getting to the other end. The Tempo Trainer (set to beep at a frequency of, say, 1.2 seconds) transforms each lap into a series of 1.2-second intervals. You soon realize that each of those intervals is composed of ‘consequential nanoseconds’ within which you make or break the stroke you’re taking. You become far more attuned to subtle deviations in your stroke – and conscious it could cost you an extra stroke (and an extra 1.2 seconds) when you reach the other end. Those tiny errors are almost always the result of a moment’s inattention, providing powerful motivation to stay focused.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

Outdoor swimming is not just about sport. It is about being part of a community, about fun and challenge, travel and escape from the day-to-day grind. It is about the thrill of feeling alive. It is being sat at your desk and dreaming of next weekend’s swimming adventure. If you find it hard to keep the thrill going through the dark days of winter, we’ve got 12 ways to help keep you motivated, including six top tips for cold water swimming. If you need something to look forward to, check out our Travel and Events sections for races and holiday destinations for summer 2017. Elsewhere in the magazine we hear from the Wild Swimming Brothers about their trip to Norway to tackle the world’s biggest whirlpools, and the truly inspirational Sarah Thomas talks to us about her mammoth 80-mile swim in Lake Powell. Enjoy the magazine and happy swimming.