Show Case: Swiss Aquatics Swimming

Interview with Markus Buck, Head of Competitive Swimming at Swiss Aquatics Swimming

We met Markus Buck – Head of Competitive Swimming at Swiss Aquatics – for an interview and asked him questions about Force8 AG and the Force8 Coach product. Here are the exciting answers:

Which Force8 Coach products does Swiss Aquatics use?
We had the initial situation that we regularly collect numerous kinematic, dynamometric and medical data as part of our performance diagnostics, as well as create several video recordings of each athlete. We used to enter this data into an excel sheet and do our standard analyses there and distribute our reports via online cloud. On the one hand, now after 5 years of regular collection, the amount of data is threatening to grow over our heads. On the other hand, the analysis and comparison options via EXCEL are very limited. And finally, working on data stored in different places is enormously time-consuming and inefficient. This is how we came to use the ‘Force8 Lab’ data visualization service and the ‘Tests & Batteries’ module from Force8 Coach. Currently, we are also taking a closer look at the ‘Daily Values’ as well as ‘Videos’ modules.

Let’s talk about Force8 Lab first. What do you do with the existing test data?
Force8 has prepared this data interactively for us. We can now create wonderful evaluations and intra- as well as inter-individual comparisons. We do this with the data of our swimmers – but we can also compare them with the European or world level analysis. We were able to determine the visualization so that they come along according to our wishes.

We can control access to the dashboards ourselves via Force8 Coach. From now on, we will make this data openly and transparently available to athletes and coaches.

What is the process with new test data?
In the future, we will enter test data directly and on-site into Force8 Coach. This data is then immediately updated in the dashboard and available to everyone. This saves us a lot of time in post-processing and especially in communicating the data.

Which is your favorite evaluation?
The Hydrodynamic Profile is a complex test battery that gives a good overview of a swimmer’s basic performance requirements. From the start, to the free swim, to the turn.

The parameters for the complex, acyclic competition parts start and turn, are presented according to the relevant subphases.

As the head of competitive sports, I, together with my junior colleague and our association scientist, first check whether the athlete has developed individually. In the second instance, the comparison with our benchmarks is interesting. For young athletes, we determine these from our own athlete database. For the elite, we compile data on the best international athletes, which we regularly determine by means of world level analyses.

What do your athletes think of the Force8 Coach app?
We informed our top swimmers at a get-together in Tenero and activated it. There was a lot of interest right from the start. Fortunately, the first feedback was very positive. The athletes really appreciate the fact that they can view and interpret their performances themselves at any time, both via desktop, laptop, and especially via mobile devices. The desire for more came immediately.

I wanted to address that right now. You say that you are currently testing more Force8 Coach modules?
Exactly. As mentioned before, we create multiple videos per test event per athlete:in. The data captured allows for quantitative analysis. But the videos also enable a qualitative analysis. In other words, it is only when both variants are combined that the performance diagnostics become as meaningful and targeted as possible. The video can be used to evaluate why an athlete has improved or worsened, and it can provide clear movement information. That’s why we want to use Force8 Coach in the future to make our videos available to athletes and coaches in a timely manner.

Until now, we have only had a one-way distribution of information in the context of performance diagnostics. By means of the “daily value module” we want to test whether we can enter into a continuous dialog with our athletes about their daily physical and mental condition? This would open up completely new possibilities for us, both in terms of sports medical care, but above all in terms of training optimization.

How did you find the cooperation with Force8 AG?
First of all, we were impressed by the fact that after a Swiss Olympic workshop on database solutions for sports, they contacted us with the announcement – we have your solution – we are the right partners for you. We were aware that Force8 is a smaller software company (note: 17 people as of February 2023). But the fact that they have been in business since 2008 and had already successfully implemented projects with Swiss Ski and Swiss Ice Hockey reassured us.

The decision to work with Force8 AG has been completely right for us so far. Their step-by-step approach corresponds exactly to our philosophy. We sit down together and set ourselves a realistic goal for each year. So far, these goals have always been met, both on the product and on the budget side. We appreciate that very much.

The interview with Markus Buck was conducted by Marco Bäschlin.


Here, we show you some screenshots of the Swiss Aquactics Swimming Dashboard:

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