SWIMMERS can hope to follow in the splashes of professional athletes thanks to a clever new piece of sporting kit.

Lime Kiln in Royal Wootton Bassett is the first leisure centre in Swindon to offer Swimtag technology, which encourages users to set goals and progress through training programmes.

The lightweight wristband monitors swimming pace, stroke length, stroke type and calories burned. Swimmers of all abilities can use it to set themselves challenges, race against others or train for events.

Any member of the leisure centre can pick up one of the 10 wristbands to use in the pool for free. The information is automatically logged online in the swimmer’s Swimtag account, which records specific swim data and creates graphs.

Lisa McCulloch, marketing manager at Lime Kiln, hopes the device will motivate more people to swim actively.

She likened the device to running pedometers, but said it offers much more.

“This is far more advanced – it’s really high tech stuff,” she said.

“You get a benchmark of your ability so it’s easier to set yourself targets to improve.

“We bought them as part of an initiative to get people into swimming. They have been very popular.”

Part-time civil engineer John Bateman, 66, was one of the first to use the Swimtags. He said: “I swim regularly, three or four times a week, so when they asked me to try it I thought I’d give it a go. It’s fantastic. Swimming can be boring at times but this has given it a new interest. What I like about it is that within minutes of getting out of the pool, you get emailed with a graph showing how you’ve done.

“There are obviously health benefits but it’s not really about that for me. I do it because enjoy it.”

John has used the Swimtag a dozen times since the centre introduced them last month and has already slashed his 100 metre lap time by 30 seconds.