By Chris Faulkner
for The Beacon
It’s a familiar sight in a football game: coaches on the sidelines using headsets to talk to coaches in the press box. But there’s Emily Hill, the first-year girls swim coach for Burlington High School, sporting a headset as well.
Who would she be talking to?
The members of her swim team during a pre-season practice session, all of whom are wearing matching Bluetooth headsets while swimming in the pool. It’s not new for Burlington’s Y and club teams, which have used them for two to three years, but Coach Hill said she doesn’t know any high schools that use the technology.
“It’s definitely a game changer,” Hill said. “If you’ve been around swimming, people are yelling, it’s loud. As a coach, you don’t have to wait for them to get to the edge of the pool. I can instantly tell them, ‘Make this adjustment,’ (or) ‘I see this or that,’ work them through their stroke changes.”
The swimmers can even have music piped in during their workouts. Obviously, they can’t be used during a meet, but Hill said some places allow you to use them during warmups before a meet.
“It’s more vibration-based,” Hill said of the technology. “It actually goes on your temple. They hear me better in the water than if you were to put a set on and walk around.”
Junior Korina Sears is starting her second year with the Grayhounds.
“I like that you can easily communicate in the water, so we know what we’re going to do next,” Sears said. “So we don’t have to pause and talk through what you’re doing. It’s a better experience.”
BHS has 16 girls on the roster, and the school shares with Fort Madison High School and Danville as well. Next year, Mount Pleasant will join the mix.