The Swimnerd Short Story

My name is Nate Tschohl and I'm a swim nerd. 

In July of 2016, I left my job selling insurance, betting that I could build a better pace clock. I had already spent $20,000 building a prototype that - thank goodness - worked. We put together an inexpensive, semi-hilarious video that spoke directly to a swim coach from a swim coach and it resonated enough for 129 people to trust us to get the job done. 

Gold Medal Mel helped us out with exposure on SwimSwam. Unbeknownst to us, Ira Klein posted about it on the Swim Coaches Idea Exchange Group. We called and emailed thousands of swim coaches.

And boy did ya’ll come through. 129 of you backed us to the tune of $63,335. 

 swimnerd pace clock kickstarter

From there, we executed. We built a much better product than our initial prototype. We chose green LED’s because of their superior visibility outside. We made the electronic boards impermeable to water and connected it to the Swimnerd mobile app so that you can quickly program sets. Currently, there are nearly 2,000 Nerds in the wild, helping swimmers every day in practice.

swimnerd pace clock prototype

Right before the pandemic began, in January of 2020, we created a podcast with Brett Hawke that goes inside the minds of swimming’s highest achievers. We release two long form interviews each week as well as a live show on Wednesdays. It’s enjoyed in over 120 countries and is regarded as the #1 podcast for swim coaches. Subscribe to the YouTube channel here.

inside with brett hawke podcast

Most recently, in January of 2021, we released Swimnerd Live, a virtual scoreboard for your swim meets.

Swimnerd Live does 3 main things:

1. it creates a live, interactive heat sheet on the website

swimnerd live interactive heat sheet2. it allows you to build a customizable virtual scoreboard over top of your video stream - easily add your team logo and team colors

aspire scoreboard overlay

3. it can turn any TV into a scoreboard

 swimming scoreboard

Some teams have chosen to purchase 70" televisions and hang them all over their natatorium. Instead of just 1 scoreboard you can have as many as you want for a fraction of the cost. Plus, you can put a scoreboard in everyone's pockets.

Lastly, we built in an advertising platform at the top of the interactive heat sheet. This way you can sell advertising, promote your swim camps, or solicit donations from your alumni with just 1 click.

People assume we built this in response to COVID but that’s not actually true. Originally it was called, MeetCast. It was one of our first ideas, even before the pace clock. Here are the original wireframes…

 meetcast swimnerd live

Swimnerd just celebrated our 5-year Kickstarter anniversary in a very big way. That same day was the first day of work for Carly, my wife, who just retired from being a paralegal to help run the business. It took a little longer than expected thanks to COVID, but we now have the entire family focusing on democratizing the sport.

carly retires comes to work for swimnerd


There is much more to come so please stay tuned. Thank you for your undying support!

nate and carly tschohl