Behind the scenes – The ins and outs of race analysis
Race weekend means busy days for the analysts of InnoSportLab de Tongelreep. It was no different last weekend at the three-day-event of the 2022 Eindhoven Qualification Meet, where they recorded 560 videos of athletes of the Dutch National Swimming and Para Swimming Team.
For more than ten years now the team of InnoSportLab de Tongelreep has been working together with the Royal Dutch Swimming Federation on race analysis. This consists of recording races, collecting data and analyzing them to give feedback to both coaches and swimmers during and after the competitions.
The process starts with capturing races with multiple cameras focusing on different swimmers. This is followed by an instant analysis where the scientists go through the videos frame by frame tagging the important events of the race (end of the start, start of the turn ect.). After that the videos are uploaded to the race analytic system – developed by the Lab – where the software turns them into numbers. Here, about half an hour after the end of the race, coaches and swimmers can check and even compare the footage and the data (stroke rate, stroke length, speed, etc.) with personal bests or others’ performance.
As coach Patrick Pearson of the Dutch National Swimming Team says the analysis is used between heats and finals of a competition, but also between competitions to adjust the focus point of the trainings. He first takes a look at the data to identify what can be improved and then tries to find evidence in the video. Depending on the personality of the athletes and the difficulty of the needed adjustments he discusses it with the swimmers before the finals. If the necessary changes are more significant, he even switches up the training plan to find a few seconds until the next competition.
“I can improve my morning swim to the afternoon” – states Maaike de Waard, winner of 100m backstroke last weekend. She says the race analytic system helps her a lot to find out what could have gone wrong in order to find her focus points for the next race. Maaike also added that the feature of comparing her last swim with her personal bests really helps her to improve even in between competitions.
In the future, the team of InnoSportLab de Tongelreep is aiming to deliver the highest quality of support possible to the swimmers of the Royal Dutch Swimming Federation through this fruitful cooperation.
Photos & text: Bertalan Pusztai