Title:
DEVICE AND METHOD FOR SWIMMING IN PLACE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present disclosure relates to a device and method for allowing a swimmer to swim in place comprising using a device with a swimmer attachment element adapted to fit over a part of the swimmers body, an anchor attachment element connected to the swimmer attachment element and adapted to attach to an anchor, said anchor configured to immovably absorb the forward thrust of a swimmer.



Inventors:
Boelter Lienke, Mary S. (Lake Shore, MN, US)
Application Number:
12/762865
Publication Date:
10/20/2011
Filing Date:
04/19/2010
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B31/00
View Patent Images:
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20070213185Dual back pad tilting mechanismSeptember, 2007Habing
20050170934Elliptical bykeAugust, 2005Myles Sr. et al.
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20060160673Stretching apparatusJuly, 2006Tennant et al.



Primary Examiner:
ROBERTSON, JENNIFER MARY DEICHL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. (Capella Tower, Suite 3500 225 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN, 55402, US)
Claims:
1. A device for allowing a swimmer to swim in place comprising: a single swimmer attachment element adapted to fit over a part of the swimmer's lower extremities, wherein the device is configured for attachment to the swimmer using only said single swimmer attachment element; an anchor attachment element connected to the single swimmer attachment element and adapted to attach to an anchor, said anchor configured to immovably and substantially inelastically absorb the forward thrust of the swimmer, wherein the single swimmer attachment element is configured for immersion in water; and an anti-entanglement element swivelably and substantially permanently attaching the anchor attachment element and the single swimmer attachment element.

2. The device of claim 1, further comprising: a connecting element positioned between the single swimmer attachment element and the anchor attachment element.

3. (canceled)

4. The device of claim 1, wherein: the single swimmer attachment element comprises a loop.

5. The device of claim 4, wherein: the loop is configured to be of adjustable length.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein: the anchor attachment element comprises a loop.

7. The device of claim 6, wherein: the loop is configured to be of adjustable length.

8. (canceled)

9. The device of claim 2, further comprising: an anti-entanglement element swivelably attaching the anchor attachment element and the single swimmer attachment element and positioned between the swimmer attachment element and the connecting element.

10. The device of claim 2, further comprising: an anti-entanglement element swivelably attaching the anchor attachment element and the single swimmer attachment element and positioned between the anchor attachment element and the connecting element.

11. (canceled)

12. A method of swimming in place comprising: attaching an anchor attachment element to a stationary anchor, said stationary anchor adapted to substantially inelastically absorb the forward motion of a swimmer; attaching a single swimmer attachment element to a lower extremity of the swimmer, wherein the single swimmer attachment element is connected to the anchor attachment element, and wherein said single swimmer attachment element is the only connection between the anchor attachment element and the swimmer; and providing an anti-entanglement element swivelably and substantially permanently connecting the anchor attachment element to the single swimmer attachment element.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein: the single swimmer attachment element comprises a loop.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein: the loop is configured to be of adjustable length.

15. The method of claim 12, wherein: the anchor attachment element comprises a loop.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein: the loop is configured to be of adjustable length.

17. (canceled)

18. The method of claim 12, wherein: the anti-entanglement element comprises: a first ring having a curved portion; a second ring having a curved portion; and a pin rotatably connecting the first ring and the second ring; wherein, the single swimmer attachment element is connected to one of the first or second rings; and the anchor attachment element is connected to the other of the first or second ring.

19. The method of claim 12, further comprising: a connecting element configured to set an adjustable distance between the single swimmer attachment element and the anchor attachment element.

20. The method of claim 19, further comprising: an anti-entanglement element swivelably positioned between at least one of the anchor attachment element and the connecting element and the swimmer attachment element and the connecting element.

21. The method of claim 12, further comprising: moving in a swimming motion.

22. A device for allowing a swimmer to swim in place comprising: a single swimmer attachment element adapted to fit over a part of the swimmer's lower extremities, wherein the device is configured for attachment to the swimmer using only said single swimmer attachment element; an anchor attachment element connected to the single swimmer attachment element and adapted to attach to an anchor, said anchor configured to immovably and substantially inelastically absorb the forward thrust of the swimmer, wherein the single swimmer attachment element is configured for immersion in water; and an anti-entanglement element swivelably and substantially permanently attaching the anchor attachment element and the single swimmer attachment element; wherein the anti-entanglement element comprises: a first ring having a curved portion; a second ring having a curved portion; and a pin rotatably connecting the first ring and the second ring; wherein the single swimmer attachment element is connected to one of the first or second rings, and wherein the anchor attachment element is connected to the other of the first or second ring.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present disclosure relates generally to swimming equipment and more particularly to devices and methods for swimming in place in a pool or other body of water.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Swimming is an enjoyable activity that is an effective form of exercise that allows you to exercise your whole body at once. Swimming improves heart health, muscle strength, endurance, posture, and flexibility. Getting access however, to a suitable location for exercise swimming can be problematic. Exercise club memberships are one way to get access to a pool, but they require expensive monthly fees. Cost and space considerations are generally prohibitive for private ownership of pools large enough and suitable for swimming. Moreover, some people prefer the look of an ornamental shaped pool that is not generally suitable for exercise swimming because their often-times irregular shape does not provide enough room to complete enough full strokes to allow for an effective workout. Lakes and rivers are often not safe for exercise swimming due to the collision risk with a boat or the risk of interfering with other aquatic activity. Even careful boaters can have a difficult time spotting a swimmer far from shore.

Thus, there exists a need in the art for increasing access to exercise swimming. In particular there is a need for allowing exercise swimming in smaller, more affordable pools, or ornamental pools. There also exists a need in the art to allow safer swimming in lakes and rivers.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present disclosure, relates to a tether system or device that allows a swimmer to swim in place when secured to a dock, a poolside anchor, or some other fixed anchor.

In one embodiment the device comprises a swimmer attachment element adapted to fit over a part of the swimmers body, an anchor attachment element connected to the swimmer attachment element and adapted to attach to an anchor, said anchor configured to immovably absorb the forward thrust of a swimmer.

A method of swimming in place comprises attaching an anchor attachment element to a stationary anchor, said stationary anchor adapted to absorb the forward motion of the swimmer and attaching a swimmer attachment element to a body part of the swimmer, wherein the swimmer attachment element is connected to the anchor attachment element.

While multiple embodiments are disclosed, still other embodiments of the present disclosure will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, which shows and describes illustrative embodiments of the disclosure. As will be realized, the various embodiments of the present disclosure are capable of modifications in various obvious aspects, all without departing from the spirit and scope of the present disclosure. Accordingly, the drawings and detailed description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

While the specification concludes with claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter that is regarded as forming the various embodiments of the present disclosure, it is believed that the embodiments will be better understood from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying Figures, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tether system according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the anti-entanglement mechanism according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the tether system attached to a user while in use according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 4 is chart detailing the steps of the method of use of the tether system according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the tether system according to another embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the tether system according to another embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the tether system according to another embodiment of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present disclosure relates to novel and advantageous swimming equipment and methods. Particularly, the present disclosure relates to novel and advantageous apparatus and methods for allowing a swimmer to swim in place.

The purpose of the present disclosure is to allow for a swimmer to be able to swim in place. One particular usage is to allow exercise swimming in a smaller pool. The present disclosure may also be used to allow safer swimming in larger bodies of water which must be shared with power boats or other watersports activities by keeping the swimmer attached to a large visible object, such as a swim dock. The present disclosure may also be used to assist or aid children in learning to swim. Thus the benefits of swimming may be enjoyed by a wider variety of people as exercise swimming can now be done in smaller pools or in lakes as the danger of being run over by a boat is lessened. The present disclosure is appropriately configured for use with a variety of swimming strokes including but not limited to breast stroke, side stroke, crawl and back stroke. The present disclosure could also be used for various physical therapy applications to strengthen muscles while avoiding stress to the joints.

One embodiment of the present disclosure relates to a tether system. The tether system has a swimmer attachment element that attaches to the swimmer, and an anchor attachment element that attaches to a sufficiently stationary object. A swimmer is therefore allowed to swim in place because the forward thrust of the swimmer is transferred from the swimmer to the tether through the swimmer attachment element and ultimately to the stationary object or anchor through the anchor attachment element. Another embodiment of the tether system has a mechanism that prevents entanglement and twisting of the swimmer attachment element in relation to the anchor attachment element.

Referring now to FIG. 1, one embodiment 100 of a tether system can include a swimmer attachment element 110, an anchor attachment element 120, an anti-entanglement element 130, and a connecting element 140.

The swimmer attachment element 110 can be any method of securely attaching the tether system to the swimmer. The swimmer attachment element 110 can be configured to secure to any part of the swimmer's body. It is configured to securely hold the swimmer against the forces of the swimming motion and remain attached to the swimmer despite the related jostling that invariably takes place as the swimmer moves in place.

The swimmer attachment element 110 according to one embodiment as shown in FIG. 1 can be a simple loop adapted to slip around a swimmer's ankle. It can be connected to the anchor connecting element 120, the anti-entanglement element 130 or the connecting element 140 at one end of the loop. As shown, it is connected to the connecting element 140. It can include a method that allows the loop to increase and decrease in size. An increase in size can be desirable to allow the comfortable placement of the swimmer attachment element 110 around the ankle of the swimmer. The decrease in size can be desirable to prevent the swimmer attachment element 110 from slipping off the ankle of the swimmer when swimming. The swimmer attachment element 110 can be designed so as to allow the swimmer to easily escape if desired by configuring the loop size to be quickly increasable, thereby providing a means of escape. The swimmer attachment element 110 can also be designed and configured for attachment at other parts of the swimmer's body such as the torso, arm, shoulders, hips, or any combination thereof.

The swimmer attachment element 110 according to one embodiment can be made of any durable, strong, and flexible material, such as a nylon strap. The swimmer attachment element 110 can be padded to resist and avoid chafing of the swimmer's leg. While the swimmer attachment element 110 of FIG. 1 is shown with a hook and loop fastener 115 to allow the loop to increase and decrease in size, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that other systems can be used. Such systems can include, but are not limited to buckles, buttons, and simple knots.

The anchor attachment element 120 can be any method of securely attaching the tether system to a secure object so as to provide for the transfer and absorption of the forward thrust of the swimmer, keeping the swimmer in place.

The anchor attachment element 120 according to one embodiment as shown in FIG. 1 can be a loop with one end connected to the swimmer attachment element 110, or in one embodiment, the anti-entanglement element 130 or the connecting element 140. The anchor attachment element 120 allows the secure anchoring of the tether and transfers the force of the swimmer to the anchor point. The anchor can be anything securely anchored in place such as a dock post, a handle bar, a pole, or a swim dock. The anchor attachment element 120 can either be slipped over the anchor, or knotted to the anchor such as by wrapping the looped end around the anchor and pulling the tether through the loop of the anchor attachment element 120 creating a knot. Other methods of attachment can be used including but not limited to hook and loop fasteners, buckles, clasps, and permanent connections such as sewn connections. According to one embodiment, the anchor attachment element 120 can be any durable, strong, and flexible material such as a nylon strap. It can be made of the same material as the swimmer attachment element 110 or the connecting element, but also can be of a different material.

An anti-entanglement element can be included in the tether system and can be any device or method that prevents tangling of the swimmer attachment element 110 with respect to the anchor attachment element 120. This allows for a more natural movement of the swimmer and allows for less time spent detangling the tether system.

The anti-entanglement element 130 according to one embodiment as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 can have two substantially looped metal rings 132 and 134 with an I-pin 136 swivably connecting them. This may allow the swimmer attachment element 110 and the connecting element 140 to move and swivel with respect to the anchor attachment element 120 and allow the tether to be substantially tangle-free. The shape of the anti-entanglement metal rings also allows movement of the connecting element 120 and the anchor attachment element 120 with respect to the I-pin and center of the anti-entanglement element 130. This is because the connecting element 140 can freely slip around the circumference of the metal ring, bounded on both sides by the connection of the two metal rings by the I-pin, and likewise, the anchor attachment end can do the same. This allows a greater degree of uninhibited swimming motion.

Alternatively, the anti-entanglement element can be a ball and socket joint or any other anti-entanglement means known in the art. The anti-entanglement element 130 can be made of plastic, metal, galvanized or corrosion resistant or coated metals, stainless steel, fiberglass, carbon fiber, or other suitable material.

A connecting element 140 can be included in the tether system and is configured to provide a distance between the swimmer attachment element 110 and the anchor attachment element 120, or to provide a distance between the anti-entanglement element 130 and the swimmer attachment and/or anchor attachment elements if the device includes the anti-entanglement element. One benefit of the connecting element in such a case would be to prevent the anti-entanglement element 130 or anchor attachment element 120 from interfering with the natural motion of the swimmer, and/or provide more distance between the anchor and the swimmer.

As shown in one embodiment in FIG. 1, the connecting element 140 can be a simple straight section approximately 16 inches in length, but longer or shorter embodiments are contemplated. Particularly, the size of the connecting element 140 can be fixed based on the physical attributes of the swimmer to enable a more comfortable feel.

The connecting element 140 can also be adjustable by the swimmer through various means known in the art such as hook and loop fasteners, buckles, loops, knots and the like. This can allow for complete adjustability of the connecting element in particular, and of the swim tether in general. According to one embodiment, the connecting element can be made of any durable, strong, and flexible material, such as a nylon strap. It can be made of the same material as the swimmer attachment element 110, or the anchor attachment element 120, but also can be of a different material. The tether in some embodiments can exclude the connecting element 140.

Additional embodiments can feature an additional connecting element positioned between the anchor attachment element 120 and the anti-entanglement element 130. This additional connecting element can be of a fixed or adjustable length.

A particular embodiment and its attachment and use are illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5. The swimmer attachment element 110 is increased in size and slipped over the swimmer's ankle in step 401, preferably the ankle on the side of the swimmer in which the anchor attachment element 120 will be attached to an anchor, but nothing prevents attaching it to the other ankle. The swimmer attachment element 110 is then decreased in size, attaching the tether. The anchor attachment element 120 is attached to a stationary anchor in step 402. After both the swimmer attachment element 110 and the anchor attachment element 120 are attached, the swimmer swims in place in step 403. When the swimmer is done, both the swimmer attachment element 110 can be removed by increasing the loop size, and the anchor attachment element 120 can be removed by un-attaching it from the anchor in steps 404 and 405, thus allow the swimmer to be free of attachment to either the tether or the anchor. The exact order of which part is attached first and detached first is not important and either the swimmer attachment element 110 or the anchor attachment element 120 can either be attached or detached first without departing from the scope of this invention.

Another embodiment 200 as shown in FIG. 5, can feature a second swimmer attachment element 150 that would attach to the other ankle of the swimmer to balance the resistive forces of the tether to allow for a more natural feel as the thrusting force of the swimmer is more evenly absorbed. This embodiment can also feature another connecting element 160 between the anti-entanglement element 170 and the second swimmer attachment element. The anti-entanglement element 170 can then be adapted to connect two separate swimmer attachment elements, and yet allow for independent swivelling and movement between the two swimmer attachment elements and the anchor attachment element.

FIG. 6 shows an embodiment 300 of the invention without the anti-entanglement device, and knotted around a pole.

FIG. 7 shows another embodiment 400 of the device with a second swimmer attachment element 150 that attaches to the other ankle of the swimmer and a second connecting element 160, but unlike FIG. 5 does not include the anti-entanglement element 170. This version further includes a connecting brace 180 for distributing forces and providing increased support.

Further embodiments can include attachable flotation devices to assist in the swimmer staying above water. This can be particularly useful when training children to swim for example. The flotation devices can be secured to any part of the tether system by means of an additional rope or connection between the flotation device and the tether system.

Although the various embodiments of the present disclosure have been described with reference to preferred embodiments, persons skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the present disclosure.