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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

How Technology Changes Things In The Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Back in 1993 in Okinawa under the supervision of Professor Ishikawa, we tried to monitor our caloric intake and heart rate throughout a 38 km ocean swim between the islands of Ishigaki, Iriomote, and Taketomi.

With a halter holding a wireless monitor taped to our chest, the device was able to track our heart rate pretty well for a few hours, but the technology was primitive and the device was not able to send or hold data throughout the 10-hour channel swim in the tropical waters.

But dial forward 23 years, and Dms-service of Reno, Nevada has come up with new equipment to monitor Ben Lecomte's EKG* during his planned 5,419-mile (8,721 km) swim between Tokyo and San Francisco (The Longest Swim).

Lecomte, Dms-service and the scientists and doctors who will be monitoring Lecomte's vital signs will find a treasure trove of physiological information about extreme endurance athletics with Dms-service's 3 channel myPatch Holter recorder.

One of the problems back in 1993 was holding the monitor firmly to the chest during the swim in the turbulent, wind-chopped waters of Okinawa. But Lecomte has tested the latest waterproof tape that will securely hold a variety of medical equipment on his body during his swim.

How technology has changed and improved over the years...to the benefit of scientists, researchers, and extreme athletes.

* An EKG is an electrocardiogram is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of the heart.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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