Paul Palmer, the European champion and Olympic silver medallist, puts part of his newfound form down to the Aquapacer, a revolutionary electronic, programmable training device.
Aquapacer was developed and patented by Patrick Miley, a qualified British ASA coach with a degree in Industrial Design. The product utilizes the latest microchip technology to relay programmed pacing and stroke rate information to the swimmer via variable audio cues.
These audio cues are emitted from a small sounder that is fitted under the swimmer's cap and indicates the precise stroke rate to the swimmer for achieving a specified finish time.
After Palmer took the silver at the 1995 Europeans in Vienna for the 400 freestyle, he had his stroke analyzed. It was noted that, in general, his stroke rate lacked control.
There were two areas of concern—after the mid point of the race his stroke rate dropped, demanding an increase in stroke length and energy to maintain his velocity. At the 250 metre mark, Palmer was able to increase his stroke rate and with 75 metres to go, he had enough energy to move into second.
For the next 12 months Palmer worked with the Aquapacer and he attributed his Olympic silver medal to the Aquapacer. "It certainly improved my performance. For the first 300 my stroke was so regular that I felt like I was wearing the device."
The Aquapacer has been commercially launched for swimmers, clubs, and coaches worldwide. In a typical club situation, up to 16 swimmers can have specialized data stored in the main programing unit and downloaded into each individual's sounding pacer. These can be selected as required by the coach or swimmer.
The programs stored are extremely flexible, allowing many different combinations of factors to be used in training sets than can be as demanding as necessary and therefore suitable for training any level of swimmer. This means you will not outgrow the device.
This training method is versatile enough to be combined with existing methods including lactate and heart linked programs. It has been carefully researched to be acoustically correct for the individual and not intrusive to other swimmers. The whole system is battery operated and designed for use in a typical pool environment.
For additional information contact Challenge & Response Ltd., 8 Irvine Way, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire AB51 4ZR, Scotland, U.K., Fax 44 1467 629360
In Sevilla 22 British swimmers achieved their qualifying times for the World Championships, while competing at the European Championships.
The standards were the same as for the 1996 Olympic Games and the 1996 European Championships. Since there were no trials, only swimmers who achieved the target times were selected.
The strongest challengers for medals in Perth next January will be Paul Palmer, the Olympic silver medallist for the 400 freestyle and the European champion in the 200 freestyle, and the men's 4x200 freestyle relay, the European gold medal winners this summer.
Until Sevilla, Palmer's best event had always been the 400 freestyle. But he could manage only a bronze at the Europeans with his 3:50.03 and world ranking of fifth.
His 200 freestyle winning time of 1:48.85, just a mere 1/100th of a second from his British record, ranks him third in the world this year behind Michael Klim, AUS and Josh Davies, USA.
In the 4x200 freestyle relay, the team of Palmer, Andrew Clayton, Gavin Meadows, and James Salter set a British record of 7:17.56, which would have been third at last year's Atlanta Olympics, and ranks them third in the world this year.
Mark Foster, the 1994 Commonwealth champion and silver medal winner this summer in Sevilla with 22.53, is not likely to earn a spot on the podium with that performance.
1500 freestyle specialist Graeme Smith, the 1996 Olympic bronze medallist, will have to erase the memory of Sevilla from his mind, where he finished fourth. He must go under the 15-minute barrier in Perth to have a shot at the podium.
The youngest member of the team is 1996 European Junior backstroke winner Helen Don-Duncan, 16, and the oldest will be butterflyer Caroline Foot, who will be just two months shy of 33 in January.
James Hickman, the World Short Course champion, and any others hoping for a spot have one final chance at the British Winter Championships in Sheffield in mid-December. The meet, normally held short course, will be moved to 50 metres.
The GBR team to date is:
Men: Andrew Clayton, Mark Foster, Martin Harris, Gavin Meadows, Paul Palmer, Stephen Parry, Adam Ruckwood, James Salter, Nick Shackell, Graeme Smith, Neil Willey, and Ian Wilson
Women: Janine Belton, Helen Don-Duncan, Caroline Foot, Linda Hindmarsh, Claire Huddart, Jaime King, Margaretha Pedder, Karen Pickering, Sarah Price, and Sue Rolph
Chris Martin, the former head coach at the University of Florida, has taken up his new appointment as Head Coach for the City of Birmingham Swimming Club and Swimming Development Officer for the Birmingham.
Martin, from Philadelphia, takes over from Tim Jones who moved to Edinburgh after the Atlanta Olympic Games, taking James Salter with him. Remaining in Birmingham is Adam Ruckwood, the 1994 Commonwealth 200 backstroke champion, who finished fourth at the recent European Championships.
Martin will coach the high performance squad with assistants Mick Hepwood (who has been in charge since Jones left), Gary Hollywood, and Nick Gillingham, the double Olympic medallist who retired after Atlanta.