Featured Athlete: Ariel Braathen
After the Bergens Swim Club began using TritonWear systems with its top performing swimmers at the end of December, coaches started looking at the data to see what they could learn from it. The more data they collected, the easier they were able to identify patterns and irregularities in each of their swimmers. Then the coaches went ahead and applied their newly discovered knowledge. The results were very promising – and in the case of one young swimmer, they were exceptional.
Ariel Braathen is an up-and-coming breaststroker who swims for Bergens and uses the TritonWear systems on a daily basis. When coaches began to analyze her strokes and times in training using the data they collected on their tablet, they noticed some inconsistencies. The graphs showing stroke counts and splits on the app revealed a spike where she was slowing down in her swim, and this weakness appeared to be a trend over time. Coaches discovered that her third 50 in the 200 breaststroke and her third 25 in the 100 breaststroke were weaker than the others – both her stroke count and her time were going up.
Coaches began working on improving this soft spot in Ariel’s races. In training, they used the TritonWear units to track her splits, stroke counts, and efficiency in the water. The data also showed that Ariel’s third 50 or 25 were less efficient than the others, which was costing her valuable energy on the second half of her races. Together, Ariel and her coaches worked on lengthening her stroke and catching more water, so that she could avoid slipping and improve her efficiency. As they continued focusing on these metrics in training, the app revealed that Ariel was gradually taking fewer strokes with greater efficiency, and her split was steadily improving.
Bergens coach Bruno Langlois gives Ariel a lot of credit. She is extremely dedicated both inside and outside the pool, and became very engaged in the process of reviewing her data on the TritonWear app.
“She is one of the curious swimmers who challenges us to look at the app and give her feedback,” Bruno says of Ariel. She’s not a swimmer who merely shows up at the pool to go through the motions – she is driven to improve by taking ownership of her swimming. Ariel is a prime example of an athlete who is a student of the sport. She goes home in the evening to look at her previous practices on her online TritonWear profile and make her own discoveries. Bruno explained that Ariel often comes into practice with feedback on herself based on the data.
After Ariel and her coaches worked together to improve her breaststroke efficiency in training, her first test was the short course Norwegian Senior National Championships in March. It was time to put to use all of the adjustments to her stroke and her strategy that she had been implementing in training. As it turned out, the hard work paid off; she won all of her breaststroke events, and Bruno was pleased to “see a difference between her and the other competitors on the third part of her races, which led to the first place” finish.
Bruno and Ariel both had a confidence boost when they jumped straight into long course season with the Stockholm Open two weeks later. The goal was to translate her improvements in efficiency on the third part of her races from short course to long course. Once again, Ariel exceeded expectations by not only claiming gold in the 100-meter breaststroke, but also breaking the junior national record, becoming the first junior swimmer to break the 1:10 barrier. This was a stunning achievement. Thanks to her incredible performance, she secured a spot on Norway's squad heading to the European Championships in London in mid-May.
While most of the credit goes to Ariel and her coaches, Bruno asserts that TritonWear definitely played a role in her success. Using the app, they were able to identify weaknesses and take tangible steps toward improving her stroke counts, efficiency, and splits. The work that they did in training ultimately led to gold and a junior national record.
Bruno remarks that using TritonWear has made his swimmers (Ariel included) more engaged in their training and more aware of the process. He describes the technology as “a tool that is an extra pair of eyes for each swimmer,” constantly collecting data that can be used to evaluate and adjust the training. His swimmers use it every day, and if Ariel's performances are any indication, the improvements based on the data will continue to pay off. The sky is the limit for Ariel Braathen and Bergens Swim Club!