Australia’s Elite Teenage Swimmers Get First Look At New Tech

The future stars of Australian swimming are getting coached, not only in technique, but in technology that could help them achieve further success in the pool.

At the beginning of July, Swimming Australia, the nation’s governing body for competitive swimming, announced its “NextGEN” team of 22 rising teenage swimmers. Those teens recently attended a camp from July 2-8, where they learned about sports science and technologies such as 3D motion capture and underwater cameras, the announcement said.

There, according to the Canberra Times, the group of swimmers worked with Olympic swimmers and got the first go at those technological tools. Reportedly, the Australian national swim team hasn’t even seen some of the tech the emergent swimmers used during the camp.

​”We are able to take video footage from numerous angles and get instantaneous analysis,” Swimming Australia’s high performance pathway manager Jamie Salter told the Canberra Times.”We are also looking at 3D motion capture whilst we do get all the video footage[;] it just provides us with deeper analysis of what’s going on in the stroke.”

3D motion capture is similarly used in Dive Mechanic, a technology employed by Diving Australia — the country’s competitive diving authority — leading up to the 2016 Summer Olympics. Dive Mechanic allows coaches to view and analyze 3D models of their athletes’ dives, which are rendered from live footage, and teach different techniques to improve performance.

The group was also chosen to compete at the World Junior Championships administered by FINA, the international swimming organization — a part of the reason they were selected for the NextGEN group, according to the announcement.

According to the newspaper, the group of 13- to 18-year-old swimmers hasn’t previously seen the technology present at the professional and Olympic levels. Salter told the paper the goal of the technology at the moment is not to improve the swimmers’ times, but to support them with technology and aspects of sports science in an effort to teach mental attributes like resilience that will help in high-pressure moments.

“It’s the resilience that they show and their ability to put in a performance when it counts,” Salter told the Canberra Times.

That mental toughness, aided perhaps by the technology the teens saw at the camp, could certainly help when the NextGen team competes on the international level at the World Junior Championships in late August.

And if they do well there, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, could well be within their sights.