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August 24th, 2012
12:01 PM ET

Olympian Dana Vollmer demonstrates how she uses 3D movie technology to improve her swimming performance

Cutting-edge techniques like the ones used in the movie “Avatar” are now being used to monitor and enhance the performance of professional athletes. The technology captures the athlete’s performance from a variety of angles in order to see their exact point of view and which techniques to improve on.

Olympian and 2012 100-meter butterfly gold medalist Dana Vollmer uses the movie magic technology which she says allows her to “see the flows of water and quality of movement” in her body. Vollmer says she has learned that swimming harder does not necessarily mean swimming faster. “It’s more about the rhythm and my relationship with the water,” Vollmer adds.

Chris Bregler is the CEO of Manhattan Mocap, the company that developed this new technology which has been used on the New York Yankees among other athletes. Bregler says an entirely new underwater system was developed for Vollmer using over 32 cameras suspended underwater to capture images of the swimmer’s movement.

“What this does is it gives us a chance to look at the underlying structures in her body that you can’t really pick up with the naked eye, and there are sensations here that you can tweak out of the water,” says her coach, Milton Nelms. “Then Dana can make the translation into the water.”


Filed under: 2012 London Olympics • Sports • Technology
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