Swimming Markup Language

Host Faculty: Engineering
General Subject Area: computer science, sport, health, design
Project Level: PhD
View the Research Website
swimming pool

Swimming is one of the healthies workouts and tracking once progress is a great motivation. However, finding inspiration for swimming sets remains difficult. I performed an initial survey of available fitness tracker apps such as Runkeeper, Strava and MySwimPro. All of them allow users to record very basic swim training information, such as its duration. Only MySwimPro allows the user to record the most rudimentary swim sets. None of them allow the user to share and rate swim sets. Since all of these trackers are based on smartphones which cannot be left unattended at the pool side they are unsuitable for individual swim training. The first wearable swim tracking devices are now available, such as the Misfit Shine 2 Swimmer's Edition and Garmin Vivoactive HR that allow the user to record the main swimming strokes, distance and speed. They are only recording devices that do not communicate the planned swim set.

Initial consultation with swimmers and coaches from the JASI Swim Club as well as with Roly Crichton (trainer of Olympic medalist Sophie Pascoe) revealed that they currently they write the swim set onto a white board. Swimmers struggle with reading the program since many have fogged goggles, require glasses or are on a faraway lane. The coach often has to clarify ambiguous instructions on the white board. Swimmers who want to document the swim set take a photo of the white board with their smartphone after the training.

There is currently not standard for formally describing swim training sessions in a way that computers can understand them and in a way that humans can easily read them. Each trainer has his/her own taxonomy and nomenclatures for the various exercises. SwimML will provide the first communication standard for swim training sets data. This data can then be easily shared online so that swimmers and trainers can track their progress and swimmers can also rate training sets. This training set data can then be the inspiration for trainers and athletes alike. Moreover, swimming takes place in swimming pools most of the time. This allows us localize the swimming set data. Users can have a look at who else is swimming at the pool and who might be of a similar speed which might lead to new friendships and training groups.

Another important advantage of SwimML is that it enables swimmers and trainers to parameterize swimming sets. Even within the same club swimmers of different training levels exercise. They are typically sorted by their speed into lanes. The fastest lane requires a longer set compared to the slowest lane.


Supervisor: Christoph Bartneck

Key qualifications and skills

Basic computer programming

Does the project come with funding

No - the student must be self-funded

Final date for receiving applications



sport, swimming, markup, XML, design