Using a Tempo Trainer in Open Water

< All Topics

A Tempo Trainer is an essential piece of most of our training plans.

And, for open water swimming with a Tempo Trainer, I want to urge you to practice and master this one skill: learn to click the buttons on the TT without removing it from your swim cap.

This has two main advantages:

  • You do not risk losing it in the water.
  • You save a lot of time during variable tempo intervals by clicking it in place, versus removing it, clicking it, and putting it back.

For race training, there are no ‘rest’ moments given in the race. So, when practicing race simulation with stroke count intervals in open water, you can hold Skate position, reach a hand up to feel the buttons, and click it in just a few seconds, and quickly resume your swimming with a minimal disruption to body position or momentum.



Pre-set the Tempo Trainer to the setting you intend to start with. Turn it off, if you will not use it immediately.

Place the TT under the swim cap toward the back of your head, behind the ear, where you can reach it with your dominant (writing) hand. Make sure the cap completely covers the TT and comes back snugly upon your skin or hair. Make sure the two TT buttons are at the bottom and then check to assure yourself that you can feel with your fingertips both the left and the right button through the swim cap.

Practice turning on the TT by pressing the right button for 1 second and practice turning it off by pressing down on both buttons at the same time.

[In Mode 1] Practice clicking the TT faster by 0.01 second pressing the left button, and practice clicking the TT slower by 0.01 second pressing the right button. In the practice sets of this training plan you will be adjusting tempo only by 0.03 seconds (3 clicks) between any two repeats – so not enough to forget your click amount in the midst of a demanding interval set.

Article Contents