Cost: $90/month for one 30-minute class/week
What if we told you there was a wearable product entering the market dedicated to helping you improve your swimming technique and showing you specific areas for improvement? In fact, soon there will be one! Our very own Jim Montgomery personally endorsed the product’s concept and is dedicated to making sure it becomes a reality. The SWIMBOT, in which the BOT stands for ‘better on technique,’ is a startup currently in the final stages of an Indiegogo campaign to fund its development.
SWIMBOT is the brainchild of founder and CEO, David Jamet. A competitive swimmer in the 1970s with an MD in Computer Science, Jamet worked for Atos, the official IT partner of the Olympics. He founded SWIMBOT after discovering that 3D graphics, the Internet of Things (IOT), and other technologies could be used to improve the long and arduous process of learning and improving swim techniques. The SWIMBOT was designed with the idea of being useful for both beginners and experienced swimmers alike.
Jim Montgomery was Jamet’s sports idol and later contacted him to talk about the project. During the initial contact in late 2015, Montgomery noted that his primary focus for 2016 would be opening the Jim Montgomery Swim School. Like any good entrepreneur, Jamet went to work researching how his product would be a rewarding investment for Montgomery. During this process Montgomery introduced Jamet to Rowdy Gaines, ambassador for Make a Splash, USA SWIMMING’s foundation for children’s water safety. Jamet began to trace the dots on how water safety was an integral part of the learning process and put together a presentation using research & development from SWIMBOT, wooing Montgomery and Gaines with why the 100m freestyle was truly a King’s race and why they physically stood out from their competition.
Ultimately, Jamet won both Montgomery and Gaines as backers of the project. Montgomery tested the complete set of technologies offered by the SWIMBOT and agreed that the potential to improve children’s safety in the water through the product was there. Jamet then launched an Indiegogo campaign called I CAN SWIM, which is currently in its final stages of funding before entering the development stage. Upon completion of the prototype, the Jim Montgomery Swim School will be the first swim school in the world to test the product in late 2016.
So, how will the SWIMBOT contribute to the advancement of children’s water safety? The current Indiegogo campaign is funding the development of the “early bird” prototype, providing data to teach new and complex swimming techniques to swimmers of all abilities, faster than has ever been done before. This model will provide swimming tutorial movies through 3D motion design and will guide swimmers through executing the techniques while in the water.
In today’s digital era, kids are more receptive to motion-activated and electronic devices than previous generations, meaning this device has a great chance to succeed. At the Jim Montgomery Swim School, we often point to silence as the number one killer of children in private, residential pools. Children exhale immediately as a reflex when falling into water and drown in complete silence. We’ve also said before that we don’t classify someone as a swimmer just because they know a number of strokes in the pool. Instead, we believe they are swimmers once they have a level of comfort in supporting themselves in deeper water. If we can teach kids from an early age the fundamentals of navigating the water, and measure their progression over time, then we’ll feel successful in really teaching them how to be ‘swimmers.’
SWIMBOT is using what they call the “Lean Startup” methodology in the entrepreneurship world. They’ve picked certain features to include in this initial prototype and are putting them through testing to ensure they provide a return on investment. We’re honored to have been selected as a test bed for the SWIMBOT. Upon conclusion of the testing, if we deem the product to be effective and valuable, it will then enter mass production and be placed on the market.