ONESwim is not only a family-owned swim gear company, we also have 5 swim coaches in our family and run a local swim team. This gives us the opportunity to see problems as coaches, swimmers, and manufacturers. For the covid problems our swim team started using Station Markers in February 2020 before Stay-at-Home orders occurred. We also have our own 2-lane, 25 yard pool in our home so we have had the flexibility of swimming part of our team when others are waiting for their local pools to open. By using Station Markers for months longer than any other team, we have had to address some of our own frustrations of starting swimmers from the lanes and not off the walls. For our elite swimmers we mostly train using a Dave Salo interval intensity method and this often involves ‘all out’ 25’s during sets. We also love to swim 3×75 descends regularly. Both of these methods have proven difficult when you are starting and stopping your swimmers at their ‘home stations’ along the lane lines. The reason 25’s and 75’s are a problem is that they are not stopping at the same place as they start. We tried rotating swimmers that started on the walls, but this meant that most swimmers were doing ‘race turns’ while a few were swimming ‘all out 25s’ and essentially means that some are getting different rest and exertions levels. If you like to swim 50’s, 100’s, 200’s, 500s, etc… using Station Markers will be perfect but if you are used to throwing in 25’s, 75’s or 125’s into your sets, this adjustment to the ‘social distancing’ methods can be a pain.
To solve our problems with 25’s and 75’s we rethought the way we set up the colors of our Station Markers. In essence the swimmers first got used to the fact that they always stopped at their color marker. Of course that marker is always on their right hand and in THEIR lane. At first they ignored markers that were in the neighboring lane. To add 25’s and 75’s we made a few more changes:
- We made sure our Station Markers were all in a line with each other instead of staggered. For us we put them directly under the backstroke flag, at the red line, at the center of the pool, at the next red line and at the last backstroke flag. This gave us 5 stations per lane, without anyone started on the wall (which we don’t like as it is an unfair advantage to the swimmer(s) on the wall). But you can position them every 10 feet to get 6 per lane if you need to. By putting the Station Markers side-by-side, we still had our swimmers about 8 feet apart with the width of the lane lines.
- Next we positioned the colors between each lane to be a mirror image of each other (see chart) in alternating lanes.
With the layout of the colors as you see in the chart, swimmers know to always stop at their color. Their gear is located at their ‘home base’ color marker (which is on their right hand side and in their lane). But when we want to swim 25’s, 75’s, or 125’s they will stop at their same color is in the lane next to them (also on their right). We just say ‘stop at your opposite marker’. As with all things during this pandemic, it is not perfect but it gets the job done. Let us know what problems you are dealing with and how you are solving them.