Programming Sets and Workouts on your IST Bluetooth Pace Clock

What is the IST SWIMCLOCK with Bluetooth?

IST has come out with a brand-new way to control your pace clock. Before, if you wanted to create sets and workouts you did it with a numeric keypad. This worked well, but you couldn’t create very complex sets and you were limited in the amount of sets and workouts that you could store.

IST solved that problem by creating a Bluetooth module that would connect to our pace clock and can be controlled with your smart phone. The module comes either built into a new SWIMCLOCK with Bluetooth pace clock, or as an adapter that you can plug into your exiting pace clock. It allows you to create complex sets and workouts and store them all in your device. You can even create your sets in our WORKWARE software and download them onto your phone.

How Do I Use It?

There are a couple of different ways that you can use your SWIMCLOCK with Bluetooth. The easiest is just the continuous count mode. Just turn the clock on and wait. It will start counting up after a few moments. Alternatively, you can connect your phone app to the clock (see the instruction manual for how to connect) and select the TIMER function on the main screen. If you are using the timer function, you have the ability to start, stop and reset the clock as well as sound the horn on the clock by tapping the HORN button.

EZ Mode

The easiest way to get started programming the clock is to use EZ Mode. Tap on the EZ mode icon on the main menu. Let’s say that you want to do 10×100@1:20. In the REPS box enter “10”. Choose whether you want to count Up (0:00 to 1:20) or down (1:20 to 0:00), in the TO boxes enter the minutes in the lefthand box (“1”) and the seconds in the right hand box (“20”). Tap DONE on the keyboard to hide it. Your screen will look like this:

Click on the START button to start the set. You’ll hear the horn sound, and SR: 1 will appear on the clock for 2 seconds. It will start counting at 3 seconds and will beep again at 1:20, display SR: 2 for 2 seconds and continue counting until all 10 Reps have been completed. Then the clock will stop and go blank.

Creating Sets

Once you are comfortable with EZ Mode, you can create a more complex set. From the main menu tap on Workout Mode, then select SETS.

Sets are organized by category, to make them easier to find. You can make the categories however you want. By distance, by type of set (warmup, aerobic, etc.) or any other way that you want to organize them.

To create a new category, click the menu button (3 vertical dots on Android, box with an up arrow on iOS) and select Add Category. Enter the category name into the box that pops up and tap OK or NEXT to accept it.

Next, select the Category from the set screen, tap the menu button and select Add Set. Type in the set name and tap OK or NEXT to save it.

Now you have your set you can start adding in the intervals. Let’s do a set that looks like this:
2x { 3×100@1:20
{ 4×50@1:00

The Set Rep is 2. You can choose to count up or down by clicking on the UP button. The first Interval Rep (Int.Rep) is 3 and the time is 1:20. Once you have entered those numbers, tap SAVE to save the interval.

To add the second interval (4×50@1:00), tap ADD. The Int. Rep is 4, the time is 1:00. Tap SAVE to save that interval.

You now have your set created.  Run it on the clock right from this screen by tapping on the RUN button, or combine this set with others to create a multi-level set or a full workout.

Creating Workouts

If you want to have multiple sets run back to back, you can create them as above and then combine them into a workout. The workout will run once through from top to bottom. You have the option of pausing between each set (which requires the coach to start the next set) or just have it run from beginning to end.

To create a workout, from the main menu tap WORKOUTS. Tap the Menu button, ADD WORKOUT and give the workout a name. You can name it after the main set, the date or whatever works for you. Tap NEXT or OK to save it.

Now that you have a workout, you can add your sets to it by selecting the category and set, then clicking the ADD SET button. The set will show up in the list at the bottom in the order that you select it. To change the order, tap on a set, the tap the MOVE button that appears. The sets will be numbered, and you just enter the number of the set that you want to insert the set above.

Running Workouts

Once you have the workout created, to run the workout tap on WORKOUTS on the main screen, then Run Workout. Select the workout and tap the START button. If you want to start on a different set in the workout, tap the SET NAME and select the set that you want to start on. It’s that simple!

Creating and running sets and workouts for your pace clock is simple. Once you’ve created a couple you’ll be able to do it really quickly. Plus, since they are always there you can just go back and reuse or modify as necessary.
For more information, or to purchase a SWIMCLOCK with Bluetooth or Bluetooth adapter for your existing clock check out our website: https://www.istime.com/products/digital-pace-clock/

End of Season Reports

As we near the end of the winter season, it’s time to think about those end of season reports. If you are using IST’s MEETWARE software, we make it easy to run reports for your whole team. If you aren’t using MEETWARE… well, I’m sure the other meet management software packages let you do stuff like this too. If not, give us a call at 800-835-2611 or e-mail us at info@istime.com and we can talk about upgrading to an all-in-one timing, meet and team management package.

 

Let’s look at the Coaches Corner menu in MEETWARE  and see what’s available.

 

Top Times

The top times report allows you to view the top times on your team so far either as a summary:

Or a matrix:

You can choose options like just individual times, relay lead off times, or all times. On the matrix report you can use the regular high school event list or all of the strokes and distances.

 

Individual Points             

This report allows you to total up all of the points scored. Select the meet(s) that you want to calculate, whether you want to use actual points scored in the meet or NISCA Power Points, include diving points or not and how to calculate relay points. You can use this for determining high point for a meet or for the season or awarding varsity letters based on points or power points.

Season Summaries

This report prints a summary of the entire season for every athlete on your team. It creates a matrix of the meets down the left and the stroke and distance across the top. Best times for each event are marked and time drops are calculated.

Diver summaries include their points scored and placing in each meet.

Power Points

Want to see how your team stacks up against other teams around the country? Enter your team in the NISCA National Dual Meet. In MEETWARE you can create the entry form with the click of a button. Just select the meets you want to use and the team to use. Fill out the school information and the report is automatically generated. Don’t like how it calculated your best lineup? You can go in and make manual changes.

TEAM HISTORY

If you run the New Season function each year (found under Utilities>New Season), your home team data is archived in your MEETWARE folder. You can use this information to create reports about your team’s performance over the course of those seasons.

Career Summary

This report is the same format as the season summary, but it includes information from all of the seasons available in the archive folder, not just the current season. It’s a great report for the seniors on your team to see how far they’ve come.  There are other options here as well, including a Best Times summary:

 

Event Summary:

The event summary allows you to print the top times on your team, creating a top 10 listing for example.

 

If you have any questions about these reports, or would like to talk more about how MEETWARE can simplify your swim season, give us a call at 800-835-2611 or support@istime.com. We’re happy to help!

 

Preparing for big meets

This time of year, many coaches start thinking about hosting their big Invitational meet, Conference meet, Regionals, Sectionals, Districts or even State meet. Hosting these meets is a big responsibility for the coaches and volunteers. Here are some tips for making sure your meet runs smoothly.

Check your hardware

At least one month before your big meet, test and clean all your hardware. If you have been running dual meets at your pool, you will have a pretty good idea of what is working and what isn’t. If you have items that aren’t working, call IST (800-835-2611) and get an RMA number. Then send it to us referencing that RMA number. We’ll get it repaired and back to you as quickly as we can.

If your hardware fails just before the meet, never fear! We often have items in exchange stock that we can send you. You can use that item while we repair yours, then send it back once your item is returned. We don’t have every item in exchange stock, but it’s worth a call. If we have it, we’ll get it to you.

Update your software

Make sure that your software is up to date and current. The current version of MEETWARE and TIMEWARE is 3.2 dated 12/8/2017. First, make sure to delete any old MW3update.zip files from the folder on your computer where you plan to save the file. Then go to https://www.istime.com/support/software-updates/ and click on the MEETWARE/TIMEWARE version. SAVE the file to your computer. DO NOT RUN, EXTRACT or UNZIP this file. Now open MEETWARE or TIMEWARE and go to Utilities>Update. Click BROWSE and select the MW3update.zip file. Click OK, then click UPDATE and follow the instructions on the screen.

Double check the date when you re-open the MEETWARE or TIMEWARE software to make sure that the update went in properly. If you run into any trouble updating your system, give us a call at 800-835-2611.

Check the help files and videos

If it has been a while since you last ran a prelims/finals meet or a big invitational, it’s a good idea to review how to setup and run Championship style meets. You can find a Quick Reference Guide for Championship Meets and links to articles about setting up and running Championship Meets. In MEETWARE or TIMEWARE go to Help>Help and scroll down the left side to find Championship Meets – Quick Reference.
You can also watch our video help files about Championship Meets on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dibHBxslcVY&list=PLyFsZEg-Hk8JRgTmp5u404LXe-ul7EEr4 .
If you have further questions or you would like someone to help you with setting up the meet, give us a call at 800-835-2611. We can walk you through it on the phone or set up a TeamViewer session so that we can see what is on your computer and walk you through the process.

Check your supplies

Make a list and check it twice. Do you have everything you need? Stopwatches, pencils, clip boards, extra touchpads and backup buttons, volunteer timers, food for the coaches, water for the swimmers, ice for injuries, first aid kit, chairs, tables, trash cans. The list is endless.

Get your volunteers

Make sure you have people who can run the timing computer (and Meet Manager computer if you are running TIMEWARE), people to be backup timers on the lane, take admission money, man the coaches hospitality table, be runners, etc. Lots of hands makes light work for a meet like this!

If you have parents that you trust, delegate the assigning of volunteer positions to them. They can take your list of positions and find people to help fill them, freeing you up to worry about other things.

Have a backup plan

What will you do if there is bad weather? What if a touchpad goes bad in the middle of the meet? What if someone spills water on your computer? If you have backup plans in place for every emergency, then you won’t need them.
Have a second computer loaded with MEETWARE or TIMEWARE. Make sure that one is updated too! Any time you make changes to your meet, whether it is setting it up, putting in entries or during a break in the action of the meet, you should make a backup. Go to Utilities>Backup>Backup. Click Browse to select the location, then click BACKUP to save the file. The backup file will save a BACKUP_System.zip. System is your system name, like LITE or OHMEN. Make sure to save it to a thumb drive or network drive and not to the hard drive of your computer!

If the unthinkable happens and your main computer goes down, don’t panic! Boot up the back up computer, open up MEETWARE or TIMEWARE, go to Utilities>Backup>Restore, and restore the latest backup. You may lose a little bit of data, but it won’t be the end of the world and the meet will continue on.

Run a test

If you haven’t run a prelims/finals meet in a while, it’s a good idea to do a dry run. You can create a test system that will allow you to play around with the meet and its data without interfering with the actual meet.
Go to Utilities>System and select your system. Then click the COPY TO TEST button on the upper right of the screen. Answer the questions and your whole system will be copied into a TEST folder. You will be automatically logged in to the TEST system. You can tell by looking at the name in parenthesis at the top of the MEETWARE or TIMEWARE screen.

Check the DEMO check box on the screen under the system name, exit the system and go for it! You can run events with the touchpad simulator, watch how the scoring happens, review how to put award information up on the scoreboard and much more.

Once you are done playing with the meet, don’t forget to switch back to your original system!

Last minute items

  • Things to check before at least 24 hours before your meet starts:
  • Is your printer working? Do you have enough paper and ink?
  • Plug in your SWIMSTART to charge overnight. Make sure that the outlet that you plug it into has power running to it!
  • Double check your lists, are you missing anything?
  • Breathe – this is going to be fine!

If you start preparing for your big meet in advance, everything is going to run smoothly. We’ll be there to help along the way. If you have questions or you run into any issues give us a call at 800-835-2611 24/7 or e-mail us at support@istime.com.

Preparing for Swim Season

August is here which means everyone is gearing up to go back to school. About half the country is prepping for their upcoming swim season too. There is a lot to think about when getting ready for a season.

Become a NISCA member   NISCA Logo

NISCA is the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association. It is the professional organization for high school swim coaches. IST is a sponsor of NISCA and we really love what they do for coaches. NISCA membership is only $50 a year (August 1st through July 31st) and you get all kinds of benefits. First and foremost, NISCA members get free All America applications (reduced rate for Diving All America), while non-members pay $30 per application. Also, NISCA membership comes with a $1 Million liability insurance policy that covers you while you are a current member and will cover you at any pool that you coach at, not just at your high school pool.

In addition, if you are a NISCA member, you can log into their website (www.niscaonline.org) and go to the Coaches Ed tab. There you will find all kinds of great information for coaches, including forms that you can use for planning your season, getting your team organized, planning meets and much more.

NISCA hosts a National Conference in conjunction with the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. This year it is in Minneapolis MN March 22-25. If you can get there, you should go. It is a great chance to get to know coaches from all over the country and pick the brains of some of the best high school coaches anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you have 20 state championships or you are a first-year coach. Everyone is welcome!

Finally, NISCA members get a bi-monthly journal filled with great information that is specifically geared toward high school swimming, diving and water polo coaches. You really can’t afford not to join NISCA. It is easy to do on-line, or you can print out a paper form if your school wants to pay by check.

 

Have a Season Plan    

Do you have a season plan? Is it just a couple goals written on a piece of paper? Do you do macrocycles and mesocycles? Do you write every workout down before season or do it daily? It doesn’t really matter how you create a season plan, only that you have one. Start with your end goal(s) in mind and then plan how you are going to get there. Include a calendar with big meets, days off and other special days. Then break your season down into segments and what you want to focus on for that segment. That could be things like technique, race pace training, aerobic endurance or any number of other things. Write it down and refer to it through the season to help you keep on track.

If you are a NISCA member you can download a sample season plan spreadsheet from the NISCA website. The spreadsheet allows you to plan your 16-week season from a 1 page overview all the way down to a daily view – take a look!

 

Talk to your Swim Parents  Coaching Meeting

Do you have a booster group for your team? I know a lot of coaches say that they wish they coached “a team of orphans”, but parents can often be as big a help as they are a pain. The key to success with parents is communication – early and often. Start your season with a parent meeting. Pass out your team handbook. If you don’t have one, consider creating or borrowing one. The NISCA Coaches Ed page has several that you can download and modify. Explain your coaching philosophy and your team philosophy. Review team rules and expectations. Discuss the culture of your team, or the culture you are trying to create.

Finally, ask your parents for help! Parent want to feel useful, especially parents of teenagers who suddenly find themselves with a kid who “doesn’t need” them. If you have parents who are always hanging around the deck, ask them to do a job. Parents can run the timing table, coordinate meals after meets, organize and run fundraisers, host team bonding nights. The sky is the limit! Plus, if they are busy doing something to help the team they won’t have time to bother the coach.

 

Check your Equipment     Computer Timing Interface

On the first day of practice you should get out all your equipment and check it. Make sure you have every cord and cable. You would be surprised at how often power cords go on walkabout. Test your CTI, start device, deck cable, touchpads and backup buttons. If something isn’t working, give us a call at 800-835-2611. We’ll decide over the phone whether it is something that we can fix (most of it is) or if it needs to be replaced. If it needs to be repaired we’ll get you an RMA number and give you instructions on how to send it to us. If it needs replaced we’ll get you a quote for the replacement cost.

Remember, our hardware has a 5-year warranty (2 years on batteries and cables), and 99% of the items can be repaired no matter how old they are.

Don’t forget to update your software too. Check the software update page to see if there is a new update out. Once you have updated, if you have our MEETWARE software, this is also a good time to run the New Season utility to clear out the old meets and update the grades in your roster. You can find more information on how to do that in the MEETWARE Help File.

 

Prepare Yourself Mentally!    Meditation Pillow

Sometimes swim season can be a long, hard 3 months. Get yourself mentally ready to deal with the joys and frustrations of coaching teenage kids. Stock up on Diet Coke or your vice of choice! Stand at that first practice and know that for all the awful stuff you may have to deal with in the next 3 months, you are going to be making a difference in the lives of these kids. They may not realize it right away, and maybe not until years later, but the work that you do is shaping them into who they are going to be. Swim coaching is a low-paying and often thankless job, but we here at IST want you to know that we appreciate what you do for these athletes and this sport. You’ve got this!

 

Best of luck with your upcoming season. Let us know if there is anything we can help with.

Fundraising Ideas for your Team

We know that swimming isn’t a “revenue” sport. I’ve heard people say that a pool is just a hole in the ground that you throw money into. It seems like even busy pools have a hard time operating in the black. High school teams don’t usually get much of a budget and almost all programs rely on volunteers to make things work smoothly. Here are a couple fundraising ideas for raising money for your team. 

1) Ask.

A lot of parents don’t want to help their kids sell chocolate, discount cards or wrapping paper for fundraisers. They know that they are going to end up spending a lot on that stuff that they don’t really need. Also, not much of the money goes to the team. Instead, create a wish list of what you want, the number of items needed and the dollar amount per item. Then talk to your parents at the beginning of the season. Finally, ask if any of them would be willing to donate money to buy one or several items on the wish list. Often families are willing to give money if they know that it will be used directly for an item that will benefit their swimmer. I got a new set of pull buoys this way once, just by mentioning to a parent that we needed them. 

2) Run a Swimathon.

This is what we do for fundraising on my high school team. I love it because the kids do all the work. All the adults have to do is count money and feed the swimmers. I assign our swimmers to a “level” – either 10,000 yards, 7500 yards or 5000 yards depending on their skill and experience. The athletes go out and collect either pledges (an amount per yard) or donations (a flat fee for all the swimming). They turn in their envelopes and we tally up what has already been collected on the day of the Swimathon .  Then we give them their envelopes back and have them collect the remaining pledges after the swim. The 10,000 yards can be swum however they want to do it, but they need to make it as continuous as possible (stopping to put on fins is permissible, but not to just stand and chat). We feed them dinner once they are done swimming. I ask each swimmer to try to collect a minimum of $100. The 2 swimmers who collect the most money get dinner with Coach as a prize. Each year my team of 15-20 swimmers collects between $2200-$2800. 

3) Sell Advertising.

I have seen this done a couple different ways. Some teams sell ad space in their dual meet or Championship meet programs, while other teams sell lane sponsorships – each lane in the pool has a sponsor logo on the block or on the deck behind the block. If you have an IST scoreboard, or  if you are looking to purchase one, you can add a 2 color custom logo panel to the bottom of the scoreboard. On it you can have the sponsor logos for all the companies that helped fund the scoreboard. If you are looking at BOARDWARE, you can sell ads that can run on the scoreboard any time it is not being used for a meet. Just create a PowerPoint presentation with slides for the different ads and run it all day! Your own imagination and your willingness to reach out to local companies are the only limits! 

4) Use your network.

One school that I know of used a letter campaign to fundraise for their athletic department. Create a letter that explains what you are raising money for. Include specific items and costs if possible. Ask for donations and tell them where checks can be sent. Add your EIN number if you have one. You can even enclose a pre-addressed and stamped envelope for sending checks back in. Give 10 copies of that letter, along with stamped envelopes, to each of your athletes. Ask them to sign the letter and address and mail it to 10 people they know. You can also send the same letter to your Alumni if you have contact information for them. Have the swimmers address and stuff the envelopes on a Saturday. 

5) Work with a professional sports team.

Are you lucky enough to have professional or semi-pro sports in your city? Check with them for fundraising opportunities. Many venues will staff their parking lot attendants and concession stands with volunteers from community groups like your swim team. Depending on the venue they may give you either a percentage of sales or pay for the hours worked. You might be able to make some money in your own school this way. Have your students and parents volunteer to run the concession stand or spirit shop during big games. 

There are lots of creative ways to fundraise for your team. Do you have one that works for you? Tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter