Swimming Energy Calculator

OttrLoggr: Energy Use Calculator

Swim Energy Usage


RER Value Guide

Slow (0.7)
A1 band - warm-up, recovery, cool-down sets
Moderate (0.85)
A2 band - aerobic capacity sets
Intense (1.00)
A3 band - aerobic power, VO2max sets

Data Source: Zamparo P, Bonifazi M (2013). Bioenergetics of cycling sports activities in water.

Coded for Swimming Science by Cameron Yick

Freestyle data

Total Cost

Quick Food Reference

48g Carbs
25g Carbs
Peanut Butter
16g (2 tablespoons) *

Resisted Swimming

A recent study by Schnitzler 2011 looked at the differences between sprint freestyle with and without with resistance (parachute). Stroke variables were assessed under these two conditions and the results hypothesize resistance swimming increased force outputs, coordination, but decreased stroke rate. Swimming without resistance lead to an increase in stroke rate, propulsive phase and coordination.  

This study suggest resistance swimming leads to increases in force output, but causes a decrease in stroke rate.  For a sprinter, is decreasing the athletes stroke rate beneficial? As stated, resisted swimming will lead to increased stroke force, but is this carry over to sprinting if the stroke rate is different? Should you require a specific stroke rate during resistance swimming to optimize this training (via Tempo Trainer)?
By Dr. G. John Mullen, DPT, CSCS. He is the founder of the Center of Optimal Restoration and head strength coach at Santa Clara Swim Club.

Cheap Swimming Tip: Ring Swings

If I had to guess, I'd say your strength and conditioning program is sub par. Whether your swim team exclusively performs swim bench, low resistance circuit training or kettlebell swings, then you're not maximizing your dryland potential.  Sport specific movements, speed, power and strength training phases must to be implemented providing various stimuli, similar to any swimming program different stimuli need to be provided.  Even if you have a great dryland program, you must alter the stresses and demands throughout the season. Not many teams perform the same sets in the pool for the whole season, why would you perform the same dryland all season? Don't over complicate or over simplify dryland, periodization must be used to emphasize various strengths and weakness in your swimmers. Unfortunately, many teams perform the same dryland program all year and wonder why their swimmers continue to get injured and don't get stronger.

If you have an athlete with the inability to maintain arm tempo during their race, perhaps they have poor speed-strength.  Unfortunately, methods to improve speed-strength in swimming are limited.  

Everyone has performed swim bench until the cows come home since it is sport specific and can stress an athlete's speed-strength, but swim bench has many flaws including, not allowing arm recovery, core rotation or the ability to generate arm speed.  One method to focus on speed-strength are Ring Swings.  By placing garbage bags around rings or hula-hoops, resistance is applied to the loop as an athlete swings their arms in circles similar to their main stroke (yes different strokes can be used).  This slight resistance provides adequate stress and is increasingly difficult after 15-20 seconds.  I suggest using an athlete's 50 meter goal time as the exercise duration, improving muscle memory.  Also, an athlete's stroke rate can be recorded during this activity, once again targeting the athlete's motor programming to encourage maintaining stroke rate as fatigue settles at the end of a race . 


Cheap Swimming Tip: Wiffle Ball Swimming

Often times I discuss the importance of looking at physical limitations outside the pool to help flaws in the swimming pool. Well, I'll be the first to admit, limitations inside the pool and outside the pool don't always add up.  Sometimes a swimmer has tight lats and pecs causing them to cross over.  Sometimes they cross over which leads to tight pecs and lats. Sometimes the swimmer crosses over because that is how they've been swimming 1.8 million strokes annually for the past decade.  Swimmers perform a high volume of yards at a young age which results in habits.  Some of these habits are good...some of these habits are bad...Most of the bad habits pertain to stroke flaws (skip below for a cheap tip to improve feel and hand speed).

Unfortunately, many age group coaches lack the biomechanical knowledge to help swimmers understand and perform optimal swimming technique or the coach knows the biomechanics, but has 100 kids to babysit.  This is a cause for concern on multiple levels. I don't blame the age group coaches for the lack of biomechanical knowledge, I question the efficacy of the ASCA coaches training and the lack of mentoring in the sport. How can an age group coach expect to be able to spot and correct a youth swimmer with a hand entry across midline with their thumb first when they don't have the proper training? Some coaches do not know this entry impedes velocity and is repeatedly impinging the shoulder rotator cuff muscles. I feel ASCA level one training involves stroke by stroke biomechanics and anatomy.  I know ASCA level one training involves "biomechanics"  questions like this (3rd edition of the test):

Important biomechanical tools that a coach needs include:
A. complicated computers and lab assistants
B. a stopwatch and the ability to count
C. an indoor 50 meter pool
D. None of the above

Really?  How about stroke by stroke biomechanics and phase differentiations or how about some head coaches take a hour a week out of their time to talk to young coaches about their teaching philosophy on stroke biomechanics and training.  In my opinion it is too easy to become a coach which is one reason the sport has fallen into many controversies recently.  Most current programs have unqualified youth coaches working with youth swimmers, then when these swimmers come to the National group the head coaches have to completely repair faulty stroke mechanics (this is with programs where the head coach is competent).  Unfortunately, by this time a lot of damage and habits have been ingrained, if proper coaches training, mentorship and continuing education were available for swim coaches then our sport wouldn't have an estimated shoulder pain rate of 81% of swimming!

Level II ASCA coaches are required to take the "stroke school" test which provides stroke breakdowns and biomechanics, but once again these questions fall short of thought provoking (stroke school test):

In backstroke, the majority of world class athletes are using a __________________kick technique off the start and each wall. (I could have passed this when I was 7 and my brain didn't mature until 20...)

(Continuation of cheap swimming tip, rant over) Watch any elite swimmer and their hands slices the water accelerating effortlessly through the various phases. Swimmers as accomplished as National qualifiers can have "sloppy" hands.  This means as the swimmer glides forward in freestyle, but their hand deviates from a streamlined reach.  This often occurs during the breath as swimmers will perform an outsweep to balance their poor breathing habits.  This deviation will impair the athlete's catch and increase their risk for shoulder impingement.  Another common problem is athlete's having difficulty accelerating their hands through "sticking points" in the stroke. These points include the insweep on breaststroke and the catch phases of the three other strokes.

Having the athlete swim wiffle balls in each hand (holes away from the palm) is one cheap swimming tip to try to correct this habit.  The wiffle ball increases water resistance and adds resistance in the water, this forces an increase in shoulder stability and will increase feedback to the swimmer of slow of stopped points in their stroke.  This option cost $15 for a pack of 12 and can help a swimmer feel their hand position.

Dr. G. John

Cheap Swimming Tip: Underwater Filming

Simply put, I love data.  However, I know too much data and information can cause paralysis by analysis.  Some current underwater camera systems provide gregarious numbers ranging from stroke count, rate, turn time, etc. This can be useful, but is cumbersome not making it practical.

Kodak PlaySport (Zx3) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera (Black)I feel underwater video is essential to help athletes.  Most video analysis and skilled coaches can pick up the big flaws, therefore I feel all the data can be misleading.

Underwater video camcorders have recently become inexpensive. Quality camcorders are approximately $100 and with a few modifications a beautiful system can be made for $120, which is in every team's budget.

First I recommend getting a simple thin flip or kodak camera, since moving a bulky camcorder through water will create waves and increase shakiness. Next, purchase a 3-4 foot wood pole ($5) and drill a Hanger screw ($1) into the wood and attach the camera.  To ensure steadiness, you can either strap the camera to a block or put it on a cart to be pushed along the gutter. This method has worked best from my experience.  The one problem with this set up is the video will be upside down, luckily there are programs like Windows Movie Maker which can flip the video with ease, or you can attach a J hook to flip the camera, but this will increase camera size causing more waves.

What cheap underwater systems have you used?