If you’ve ever watched a swim meet or attended one, you know the importance placed on pace clocks and intervals around the swimming pool. Before you get serious about hosting swim meets, learning more about pace clocks and their role in competitive swimming events is important. While mastering pace clocks may seem tricky at first, it’s as easy as reading a regular watch once you get the hang of it.
You probably have questions if you’ve never purchased swimming pace clocks for your pool. Luckily, we have all the answers you need to master the basics.
What are Pace Clocks?
Most pools have two synchronized pace clocks, one at each end of the swimming pool. The pace clocks serve as a giant stopwatch that runs continuously. Traditionally, pace clocks are used to time swims, time rest intervals, and to keep each swimmer separated from other swimmers in a lane.
Pace clocks can be digital or analog. Analog clocks have two hands and are divided into 60 seconds, marked in intervals of 5.
How to Use a Swimming Pace Clock
Pace clocks are used for various functions that make a swimming pool useful for competitions. Two of the most essential functions are to monitor a swimmer’s speed and intervals.
While many swimmers are used to swimming at their own pace and in their own lane, pace clocks help to highlight a swimmer’s speed. Monitoring speed is one of the best ways for swimmers to practice and measure how well they are swimming. In most scenarios, swimmers will leave on “the top.” That means they will leave the wall when the second-hand gets to 60. After the distance is complete, a quick glance back at the clock can determine swim speeds.
When it comes to intervals, keeping pace is easy with a swimming pace clock. If a swimmer starts on even minute count, such as a set of 50-yard freestyles, they can easily track speed. If timing from any other starting point, swimmers use the clock to note when to leave for each swim in a set. Interval sets are important for trying to maintain a particular pace during sets.
How to Read a Pace Clock
While reading pace clocks is different from reading a traditional watch, it only takes a little time to grow accustomed to how they operate. The important thing is deciding what type of pace clock to get for your pool.
Traditional, or analog, pace clocks look like a large clock with only a few minor tweaks. Analog pace clocks don’t have hour hands, and the clock has seconds written on it instead of hours. This means that the top has a “60” written on it instead of a “12.” Most swimmers refer to the “60” mark as “the top.” Likewise, the “30” is considered “the bottom” in swimming. Understanding how to read a traditional pace clock makes it easier for swimmers to know when to leave their mark.
While traditional pace clocks are more common in competition swimming pools, you can also look into digital clock options. The clocks work similarly to a conventional pace clock, but the minutes and seconds are displayed digitally. All terminology used with traditional pace clocks is applied to digital pace clocks.
Key Benefits of Swimming Pace Clocks
While many swimmers are used to timing themselves, pace clocks for swimming can help take average swimmers to competitive swimmers. Your goal should be to help train swimmers to compete at their maximum level. Digital and analog swimming pace clocks can help take your pool from plain to competition-ready.
Learn More About Swimming Pace Clocks from Competitor
Competitor offers a variety of options for swimming pace clocks to ensure you get the tools you need to help your swimmers succeed. All of our products are custom-built by hand with expertise, pride, and a passion for swimming sports. Our swimming pace clocks are manufactured to last and assembled in the USA. Need some help? Contact us to learn more about all our options for pace clocks.