By Nancy Heslin
Utter the word Ornö to a swimrunner and wait for a grimace. The island of Ornö is home to the 20-km run along the ÖTILLÖ World Championship course. Yet for Andreas Ribbefjord, the name behind Swimrun Watch, Ornö calls to mind nothing but happy childhood memories.
Andreas spent a large amount of time at his mother’s summerhouse at “Södergården” before moving permanently to the island in his teens. The 40-year-old says he was a typical kid in terms of sport activity but it wasn’t until around age 25 that he started lifting weights, running, climbing and eventually swimming.
“When I learned about swimrun a few years ago, it reconnected me to my youth in the Stockholm archipelago,” he shares. “And over the last five years I’ve been motivated to amp up my training and, as a result, have met a bunch of training buddies all thanks to swimrun.”
Andreas usually races with Tomas Granberg, a childhood classmate who is now a swimrun coach. Their team TG Swimrun/Cartel AB, currently #7 on the Swimrun Ranking, finished the 2018 ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Championship in 27th place with a time of 08:57:49.
“For me, what makes a good course is technical running in beautiful landscapes. I’m also very much attracted to the competitive aspect, and I guess that shows in my Swimrun Watch project, which focuses on records, rankings, charts and such.”
Making sense of data
According to Andreas, Swimrun Watch application started out as a bunch of spreadsheets. One sheet would estimate the capacity of the start field of World Series race based on previous results while another would track achievements in the sport over time.
“As I shared these things with friends and added more data, these spread sheets naturally transitioned into a small application which grew and grew.”
A natural numbers guy and programmer by trade, Andreas has worked professionally developing financial applications so he could “quickly mash something just based on race results instead of stock quotes”.
“To give you an overview of how it works, I import data results from whatever timing provider the races use. What I look for is results with splits and, preferably, data that can be imported without too much manual work.”
Swimrun Watch is already a hit for racers looking up their own racing history or that of their friends. While ÖTILLÖ’s ranking system provides more of a compiled view, Swimrun Watch attempts to track individual athletes and also looks outside of the ÖTILLÖ circuit to the whole sport of competitive swimrun racing. “Swimrun Watch compiles course records and top lists of events and athletes. For true fans of the sport, an important feature would be the ability to compare a team’s leg by leg efforts throughout a race, and to visualize it on a map while reading a differential at each check point.”
Swimrun Watch is steadily progressing with the help of race organisers and athletes out there giving us their feedback. “I’m sure that during the winter we’ll see people scouting for partners for the 2019 season using Swimrun Watch.
“There’s some work to be done, of course,” says Andreas, “but we’re definitely on the right track.”
Article first published for Swimrun Life Magazine (November 2018).