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Swimovation - has swimming been left in the slow lane?

The level of change and innovation in sport is seemingly ever increasing. Innovations in running, cycling and triathlon have helped keep the sports fresh, interesting to partners and most importantly, engaged and excited consumers. Whether it’s the genius, simplicity and community of parkrun, the creativity of Tough Mudder or the ability to create rules and a sport in its own right with SwimRun, the participation sports event landscape is changing and fast.

One mainstream participation sport which has arguably shown less in terms of innovation is swimming. Swimming has not been able to benefit from the boom in wearable tech or apps to the extent of cycling or running. This is starting to change, but does place the sport behind the curve. This is a disadvantage to swimming but is not the sole reason for a lack of innovation.

Why has swimming had less innovation than other major sports? Well, firstly it is fair to say that there has been some innovation in swimming, but probably not as much as other sports. British Gas SwimBritain was innovative, as is Red Bull’s Neptune’s Steps and the above mentioned SwimRun. Most of these examples are open water/outdoor events. In pools Swimtag is trying hard to plug the tech gap by providing data directly and instantly to the consumer. At elite level, the Duel in the Pool – a Ryder Cup of swimming had successful debut years but has not resurfaced for another event.

Swimming’s problem is visibility – it is not a doorstep sport, it is venue dependant. Despite swimming being one of the country’s largest participation sports, it is rarely visible (both generally and on social media). I believe part of the problem is a lack of major swimming events to engage, inspire, challenge and share - and that's where Marathon Swims comes in.

So, let’s see what more we can create with some SWIMOVATION…

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