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My Journey with the Vasa Swim Ergometer: Using the Power Meter

Julia Galan
Julia Galan

One of the main features of the Vasa Swim Ergometer is the Power Meter located at the front of the machine and I thought I would devote this week’s blog post to sharing all of the features it has and how I’ve used (or not used) them.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my primary focus has been on creating workouts that both strengthen and enforce proper technique using a mix of drills and full stroke on the Vasa Swim Erg. The Power Meter has been an excellent tool for keeping on the right track and monitoring my progress. There are two modes on the Power Meter – basic mode and stroke mode. So far, I have only been using basic mode, but stroke mode (which measures power and stroke length) sounds like it could be very useful during workouts, so I will be trying that function out soon as well.

I’ve used the Power Meter to time how long my workouts have been taking on the Ergometer, and how many meters I’ve logged. During my full stroke sets, I’ve also occasionally used the basic mode on the Power Meter to track how many strokes per minute I’ve taken and how much power my stroke generates. This last feature hasn’t been as much of a priority for me thus far. I’ve spent more time becoming comfortable with the Swim Erg itself and learning what technique I should be mindful of while I am using the machine, as opposed to tracking my power or strokes per minute. This is something that I hope to experiment with more in the weeks to come (so stay tuned!).

One aspect I was curious to try out using the Power Meter was interval training. You can actually pre-set a distance and specify how long you want to rest in between each. I decided to start out with 4x100s at a 45 second rest interval. The process of setting up the interval is relatively simple – I set the distance at 100 and the rest time at 45 seconds. Once I started up, the Power Meter began to monitor the distance and after completing the 100 meters, it counted down the rest interval. It will continue to do this until you have completed the desired number of sets.

The ability to perform interval training on the Ergometer is, in my opinion, just one more unique advantage to using this swim-specific machine. Having the Power Meter track distance and time, as well as monitoring stroke rate, power, or even calories burned (a function I haven’t yet tried!), allows me to place even more focus on my swim and on my technique while using the Vasa Swim Ergometer. It is great to get feedback after I’ve completed a set and I’m looking forward to using that feedback later to directly measure and compare my progress. While it is possible to purchase the Ergometer without a Power Meter, I think that tool is worth the additional investment. I haven’t even begun to delve into all of the different ways I can use the Power Meter to track my progress and my stroke, but what I have done so far has been extremely helpful in providing me with a sense of purpose during my Swim Erg workouts.

Next week, I’ll start the process of following a suggestion made in the instruction manual which advises completing a time trial at race pace once per week for a month, setting the damper door at different settings every week to find which particular is best for me at the distance I choose (which will most likely be a 200 meter freestyle). I’ll be measuring time and stroke power to be able to make comparisons each week and chart my progress. According to the manual this will allow me to determine the most efficient technique, stroke rate and power that I need to improve in the pool. Let’s see what will happen! See you in two weeks and in the meantime, happy holidays!

Julia Galan is the founder and head coach at Swimspire. A lifelong competitive swimmer and member of USA Swimming and United States Masters Swimming, Julia has trained both in the United States and Europe at the regional and national levels. She has also spent time on the pool deck, coaching swimmers and triathletes of all levels in the Maryland area since 2004.

In addition to covering inspirational events, teams and swimmers through Swimspire’s news section, Julia has contributed to and Lifehacker.