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07 June 2015

The Space Alien Swimmer Keeps Track

Swimming with GPS
Presenting: The Space Alien Swimmer

For the last 5 weeks I've been on this new swimming adventure of mine. Recap for those who just now tuned in on their TV sets (or for those who were actually watching TV instead of reading on the Intarwebz): The doctor ordered me to swim, for the muscles on my previously broken leg to rebuild. Instead of just slapping around in the water now and then, I decided to actually learn to swim. I would keep track of how long I stayed in the water, and guess what distance I had been swimming. After checking with a tool to measure on a satellite image, I noticed that my guesses were way too low.

Not swimming straight lines

So I decided to use my (cycling) GPS to track one of my swims. There are devices that are actually meant for this job, GPS watches that are fully waterproof up to 50m. There are two downsides to these devices for me: 1) I don't own one, and 2) I swim breaststroke for now, and these GPS watches need you to have your hand outside the water at least partially (which works while crawling but not for breaststroke). What people do is to put the GPS under a swim cap. That's what I did too now.

Basically my GPS is waterproof up to 30 minutes for a depth of 1m. Not good enough, therefore I put it into a ziploc bag, and stuffed it under a swimcap. No, I didn't own a swim cap, I went and bought one. Putting on all that, plus my swimming goggles, I felt like a space alien. I probably looked like one too, so I did not turn around to look at the spectators on the beach when I went into the water, out of fear that they were rolling about in the sand, laughing.

I was glad that my GPS emits a funny little sound when you start the tracking, as I could not check the screen in this setup. I went into the water and swam what to me appeared to be reasonably straight lines. I swam a couple of times back and forth in the cove. No matter the GPS, I enjoyed the swim, since the rock formtions in the water have a magical look when viewed with the goggles.

Of course the GPS had a good laugh at my notion of "straight lines", I basically zig-zagged around for a bit. My guess that a part of that is the GPS signal jumping around too. In the end the distance was much further than I would have guessed. The swim in the picture clogged in at 350m, I did a 2nd one at 250m. Probably I should substract some amount for the GPS jumping around, but who cares. I will continue a few times to swim with the GPS, also on the other beach where I am more often, but I don't think I'll do this all the time.

Posted by betabug at 13:30 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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