Teenage UVAC Swimmer
Creates eyeFree Sports Stopwatch App
The Upper Valley Aquatic Center is home to many amazing swimmers who do many amazing things. Last year, Conner Koehler, UVAC team swimmer created the eyeFree Sport Stopwatch for the iPhone.
Brian Dirrane, swim coach at Upper Valley Aquatic Center, knew Koehler was a tech savvy kid. So he asked him if he could figure out something that would work better than the stopwatch on his iPhone. “Brian was having trouble hitting the software buttons and starting the stopwatch, so he asked me to help,” said Koehler, a 15-year-old high school sophomore who has been swimming at Upper Valley since he was 10. “He would need to look at the screen which is hard to do when you try to look at the start and at the swimmer finishing at the wall.”
Koehler’s solution was to use the volume buttons instead of the screen. “The use of the volume buttons give it a physical button to press, and when it is pressed, the iPhone vibrates to confirm that the command was sent. You can even customize it to make the screen flash when the button is pressed.”
With Max Greenwald, An iOS developer, who worked on the project over last summer, they built the app to include an intuitive history functionality so that anyone can go back and look at the total time and laps that happened during that session with an easy-to-use interface.
The two are currently working on an Android version expected to come out in the first half of 2013.
“Max and I started programming for the iPhone and iPad about a year and a half ago, and we wanted to put custom apps on our iPads,” said Koehler, whose main swim events are the 500 freestyle and 100 butterfly. “Our first app was a calculator called InfinityCalc, which is a free calculator for the iPad and iPhone. It’s meant to be a simple calculator that you can have wherever you go.”
The stopwatch app is currently available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad, and coaches can go and download the app. They set the price for the app at $.99,and they are continually adding new features and working on it. “The app is not aimed just at coaches; other swimmers and parents could use it for timing,” Koehler said.
And Brian Dirrane is now using the app faithfully as he trains his athletes. “It’s an excellent app; I use it all the time,” Dirrane said. “It displays continuously, and there are ideas for future functionality. It’s very easy to use no matter how tech-savvy someone may or may not be.
“Someone asked me why I just don’t use a regular stopwatch at the pool, but with the iPhone, there are so many ways to store and record splits and times that can be used in some many different ways electronically. Rather than having to input times over and over for various uses, I can do it once with the iPhone stopwatch app. Plus, stopwatch buttons lose their sensitivity over time, and that’s not a problem with the iPhone.“