Time to meet our founder! To give some more insight on what Swimtraxx is all about and why the company was founded in the first place, we sat down with the CEO and founder of Swimtraxx: Jeroen Lecoutere.
Jeroen started swimming at a very young age, as most kids do, to learn how to swim. The sport quickly turned into more than just a hobby after he swam his first race at the age of six. Jeroen went on to travel the world by swimming for different clubs in a lot of different countries. From Belgium and the Netherlands to the United States and Australia, Jeroen has seen it all. These experiences gave him the advantage of having seen a lot of different training methods and knowing the swimming world inside out. Till this day, Jeroen is still one of the Belgian record holders in the 4x200m freestyle. Moreover, his passion for sports and technology eventually led to a PhD in Electrical/Biomedical Engineering. This is his story:
Hi Jeroen. As the founder of Swimtraxx it is only logical that we kick off our team-interview series with you. Let’s go back to the very beginning. Where does the idea behind Swimtraxx come from?
I started swimming when I was very young and really grew up with the sport. I always found that technology in swimming could do better. I’ve bought many trackers before, but they never did their job. They were not accurate, not comfortable to wear and overall, really were not tailored for swimmers at all. I have also had the privilege to work with many talented coaches in my career, ranging from junior club coaches to several Olympic team coaches. Without exception, each of these coaches was looking for a way to keep track of their swimmers. As an electrical and biomedical engineer, I really believed that if engineers would work closely together with swimmers, useful technology would follow. That’s how Swimtraxx One came to life. I’m really proud of what our team has accomplished and can’t wait for more swimmers and coaches to discover Swimtraxx One.
Can you tell us something more about how the name, Swimtraxx, came to be?
The project did not start out under the name Swimtraxx. We tried many different names but eventually concluded that we wanted to be clear about what we do: we track swims.
What do you do for Swimtraxx on a day to day basis?
Being part of a start-up is really exciting and there actually isn’t such a thing as a day to day life. Every day, week and month is different. Just to illustrate: 2 years ago, I was working on the system in my living room. Today I am working with a team of over 20 people in and out of the office on technical things such as our electronics, our algorithms, our app, our casing but also on marketing aspects such as our social media, website, … really exciting stuff.
Swimtraxx isn’t a one person show of course. Can you tell us a bit more about how the whole team came to be?
At Swimtraxx, we truly believe in finding and following your passion. Our whole team, from engineers to marketeers, all are passionate about improving human performance through technology. A significant portion of us are swimmers and we share our love for the sport with the whole team.
Joining the Swimtraxx team means joining a cutting-edge and challenging environment where passion can thrive. From the beginning, we really invested in setting the culture. From there we are growing fast.
What is it like working with big names in the swimming world like Pieter Timmers and Femke Heemskerk?
Swimtraxx One was made for swimmers, by swimmers. We really stand by that credo. Their feedback is crucial, and we really enjoy working with them as our ambassadors.
In the beginning, we really were in doubt whether we would work with an ambassador programme. The downside could be that it would seem like Swimtraxx One is only for professional swimmers, while it fits the needs for any ambitious swimmer looking to track and improve their swimming.
Eventually we decided that as a company, we also have an important responsibility in moving the sport forward. That’s why we decided to highlight these elite athletes as our ambassadors. It was important to us that the ambassadors we work with share our passion for the sport. Pieter and Femke both are accomplished swimmers. They reached their success by working hard and by living for their passion. We love that, and it embodies how we look at the sport ourselves.
Were there any major hurdles along the way to get to where Swimtraxx is right now?
So far, things have been going quite smooth. In January, we had quite a hickup with the outbreak of Covid-19. Just like many other companies worldwide, we immediately rescheduled our production and looked for ways to adapt through the crisis. It’s not the strongest that come out of a crisis as the strongest, but those that can best adapt and work hard in doing so. We are confident we will be going into production before the end of summer.
You are currently preparing for the release of the first ever Swimtraxx device. What can we expect from the Swimtraxx One?
Quite simply: you can expect the most swim specific system. Ever. Swimtraxx One is a device like no other before. No system has ever been more comfortable, accurate or user-friendly in the sport of swimming. We couldn’t be more proud: it's a true game changer.
"Swimtraxx One is a device like no other before. No system has ever been more comfortable, accurate or user-friendly in the sport of swimming."
If you look beyond the release of the Swimtraxx One, what is next for Swimtraxx as a company?
It’s our mission to become the leading sports technology company in niche sports. We want to make a difference for all those sports that maybe don’t get that daily airtime on television, but do bring people together through healthy lifestyles. It is our firm belief that sports improves societies in countless ways. It is our passion to improve both performance and experience of sports for the coming years, and swimming is and will be our major focus.