The acclaimed Hydro Tracker from FINIS will start shipping directly to customers in Europe for its offices throughout Europe next month.

The Hydro Tracker enables swimmers and triathletes to know exactly how far, how fast and where they train and swim in the open water world.

Open water swimmers and triathletes can share and obtain more accurate and more relevant information more easily and quickly for themselves and from their friends and colleagues with the GPS-enabled device.

The device can also help race directors and coaches accurately map out courses for races and training so everyone can make better decisions on navigation, training distances, directions, locations and strategies.

The compact FINIS device is a game-changer for open water swimming and triathletes. The Hydro Tracker will do for open water swimmers what Garmin and other devices did for runners, triathletes, cyclists and mountaineers. It is a fantastic device with profound implications for swimmers, coaches, race directors and support teams.

The first generation of civilian Global Positioning System (GPS) devices that were used by the open water swimmers were modified land-based units that were put in waterproof bags and swim caps. The information required a bit of technological savvy with knowledge of different software products and Google Earth.

So while a handful of open water swimmers and triathletes previously used the Garmin Forerunner and placed it in a waterproof bag under their swim caps, the Hydro Tracker is waterproof and specifically developed for open water swimmers and triathletes.

FINIS did a great job learning and understanding the needs of the open water and triathlete market and then delivering with a convenient, lightweight, easy-to-use device that seamlessly incorporates the requisite software and mapping technologies that tell swimmers and triathletes exactly what they want.

From a design perspective, the Hydro Tracker GPS is a success. It is easy to put on your goggle straps. It is light and appropriately shaped so it is nearly unnoticeable while swimming. It stays on during rough conditions including going in and out of surf. It is easy to use on the shoreline, with your computer and in the water.

From an information-delivery perspective, the Hydro Tracker GPS is also a success. Data from each training session, swim or race is easy to upload to your computer. You simply push a button to start the data collection on your swim and then push a button once you are finished. Then login to Hydro Tracker GPS and navigate to the GPS training log. The Dashboard interface show your past seven workouts, cumulative statistics and a variety of other data: a map of your open water route using Google Maps™. You can view and compare the distances that you swam, your split times, your speed, and the accumulated time. You can export your workout information on the visual Google Earth™ format and, very importantly, share your workouts with others via a public link, Twitter or Facebook. You can watch an animated view of your workout and change between metric and imperial distances (yards and miles).

From a motivational and educational perspective, you can now accurately know your pace and speed per kilometer or per mile, your navigational IQ by studying your true course, and your individual and cumulative distances and times swum over any specific period. And, if you also cross-train on land, the Hydro Tracker GPS can also easily record your running and cycling sessions. The GPS data is laid out in graphs and charts so you and your coach can record and comparatively analyze your speed, distance and navigational course.

The Hydro Tracker GPS embodies the evolution of the sport of open water swimming that is growing in size, scale and sophistication. The device’s functionality, ease-of-use, GPS mapping, Internet-sharing capabilities and form factor are exactly what open water swimmers and triathletes need…and deserve.

FINIS describes its FINIS Hydro Tracker GPS as a tracking, mapping and performance reporting fitness accessory designed for open water swimmers. The multi-sport device captures the swimmer’s course and key performance data for an in-depth post-swim, statistical report. The free online FINIS Streamline Training Log allows swimmers to set goals and analyze stats including splits, speed, distance, accumulated time, and elevation. Swimmers can share their results with friends via CSV, KML Google Earth, Facebook and Twitter. The Hydro Tracker GPS is available now for US$129.99 at www.FINISInc.com and select retailers.

We created the Hydro Tracker GPS to meet the needs of open water swimmers and fitness enthusiasts,” says John Mix, President of FINIS. “Our Hydro Tracker GPS and free Streamline Log allows swimmers to dig deeper into their key workout stats, providing them with invaluable ongoing feedback. This new GPS system will help maximize anyone’s results.”

The low-down on the device that reaches up to space and back down:

The Hydro Tracker GPS easily and securely attaches to swim goggle straps on the back of the head, or included neoprene armband and does not require GPS calibration. Full features and benefits include:

• Accurate GPS Tracking – Engineered to rest on the back of the head so swimmers receive a constant GPS signal
• Online Mapping – View your route on a Google Maps™ integrated satellite map complete with zoom function
• Performance Reporting – Set goals and analyze stats including splits, speed, distance, accumulated time and elevation

• Hydrodynamic Clips –Attaches the tracker securely to goggle straps for optimal signal detection
• Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery – Up to 16 hours of use
• Time-Lapse Animation -Watch the progress of your workout with a click of a button to see elevation variations
• 2 Button Operation – Simple and easy to use interface with LED indicators
• Neoprene Armband – Slip the tracker on your arm or bike for use in other outdoor activities
• Share Workouts – Export your data from the Streamline Log using CSV or Google Earth files, or share via Facebook and Twitter
• Multi-Sport Compatible – Can be used for swimming, running, walking, biking, skiing, hiking & more
• No Calibration Needed -Just put on the tracker and you’re ready to go
• Adjustable Sampling Rate – Configure how often you want to record GPS data so that you can control accuracy and battery life
• Waterproof – Built to withstand the roughest environments

Here is an example of a sample workout.

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