SportCount was born in the late 1980s with the goal of solving a simple problem. How can we create a better way to keep track of your laps when you are swimming? Bernard Fitzmorris, a competitive collegiate swimmer from California, thought a lot about the problem. If you don’t have a coach with a stopwatch standing right there to count and time your laps, you don’t have many other options. Trying to time laps with a wristwatch in the pool is not easy, awkward, and disruptive to your stroke. Even the mental effort to keep track of lap number is distracting, and makes it harder to concentrate on stroke mechanics. What if you could put a simple counting device on your finger to do the math for you? Bernard took that basic idea to Kirk Renaud, a management consultant and another former swimmer, and they set out to create the world’s first patented finger lap counter.
The first SportCount models were admittedly a bit clunky, but they worked well, and they set the tone for future models. They had just one button so they could be easily operated with just a touch from your thumb, they fit any size finger, the lap count digits were visible underwater, and of course, they were waterproof. Next generation models stayed true to those principles as they evolved to be smaller, more comfortable, and more powerful. Olympic marathon gold medalist Frank Shorter helped design a model for long distance runners, Darrell Green, the “fastest man in the NFL” used the Stopwatch model for sprint training, Al Heppner, a champion racewalker added more memory to create our Chrono 100 model, and Rich Kenah, a middle distance Olympic runner helped refine the 200 lap memory model. Most recently, Samantha Shaw has signed on to help adapt SportCount to cricket and other Australia sports favorites. Now, SportCount offers a range of different models, each with unique features and objectives. No longer just for swimmers, they were designed to help runners, bikers, triathletes, speed skaters, sailboat racers, and just about any other sports activity you can think of.
SportCount has grown a lot since the early days, adding related products, and expanding sales to over 100 countries around the world. But while we have grown, we have never changed our mission which remains today: “to make training and exercise easier and more fun”.