Do you fancy yourself as the next Adam Peaty? Or maybe even Michael Phelps? Or maybe you are just despairing of your embarrassing dad-bod?
Well here’s your chance to do something about it – yesterday, Speedo International announced the launch of “Swim Coach”, a free digital coaching tool that comes loaded with no fewer than 200 workouts, specially designed by 9 different elite Speedo athletes, coaches and collaborators, including British Olympic swimmer and ex-world butterfly Champion Mark Foster.
There are programmes available for swimmers of any level, designed to help improve fitness levels, refine “stroke efficiency”, train for triathlons, burn calories, increase speed or improve technique.
The tool is available, free of charge, on any device – desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet – and does not require an application – programmes can simply be downloaded, printed or saved and taken to the pool.
Users are asked a series of questions to determine what their aims are, how much free time they have and what standard of swimmer they are. The platform then recommends different workouts tailored to suit user’s requirements, with accompanying step-by-step guides and details of the coach who has prepared the training plan.
“We’re delighted to offer swimmers this unique online coaching tool which focuses on helping people reach their swim fitness goals”, says Jamie Cornforth, VP of Product and Marketing at Speedo International. “Swimming is a great way to increase fitness and endurance while burning calories”.
Some of Swim Coach’s trainers have worked with the likes of American serial-Olympic medal winner Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin and Nathan Adrian, and also includes the first ever female coach of the U.S. Olympic swimming team.
The programmes are comprehensive, and often begin long before the first contact with water, with full warm up instructions, from toe-touches to straddles to the 360 degree plank – our favourite!
Warm up and “main set” medleys range from a light set of squats and freestyle kicks to a gruelling cocktail of full-speed freestyle / butterfly / backstroke combo over 300 metres or more, depending on user’s preference, accompanied by coaching tips and suggested equipment, such as the Speedo elite kickboard, or Speedo Pullbuoy.
No prizes for guessing how Speedo monetises “Swim Coach” then – the online store is but a click away – but with the range of options on offer, level of detail and imaginatively titled workout regimes like “Cardio Plunge”, “The Heart Throb and “The Barracuda”, there’s much to like and Speedo can be more than forgiven for inviting users to inspect their wares.
In fact, the platform doesn’t just cover swimming, but yoga and cycling too; the one glitch that we came across here is that during the Q&A you are asked to submit your “swimming” ability even if you are requesting a cycling or yoga workout, for example. A minor quibble that should be easy for Speedo to fix.
So a neat platform then from one of the world’s most recognisable swimwear brands – the developers of the world’s first non-wool suit, no less!
This is a classic piece of modern marketing – attempting to build a relationship with a customer and build a relationship of trust by squeezing resources and going the extra mile, creating a lifestyle brand rather than simply providing a solution to a problem – what to wear in the pool.
The extra accessories developed by the brand demonstrate that they are not just in the business of peddling swimsuits but are obsessive about the cult of swimming, training and good health – all to the benefit of the consumer.
We can’t help feeling they have missed a trick however – surely they should be promoting some kind of waterproof skin for phones or tablets, laminate covering for printouts or even better, a smart wearable device that feeds me instructions in real time when I am “in the moment”.
If I can’t get the instructions poolside, I am going to be spending at least 30 minutes of my workout stood in the changing room, trying to memorise the “Barracuda”.