At the end of last month, MySwimPro held its first internal hackathon: spanning multiple states, it consisted of much pizza, romantic strolls in the rain, and (of course) great ideas! Let me lay it out for you. Here we go!


Although Michael is in Minneapolis, we got everyone else- Fares, Will, and myself- in the same physical space. We ended up in my cozy apartment. Will hitched a ride even though he’s three blocks away (in his defense it was raining) and Fares drove from D(etroit).
virtual hackathon ann arbor minneapolis
We each brainstormed ideas to work on earlier in the week: Fares and Will, business types, would work on the user experience and plan of action for the structured training plans. Michael, our Android master, would work on getting profiles and login into the Android app to match what we have on iOS. I had an idea for an Apple Watch app (despite not having one), after seeing videos proving its (non-canon) waterproof abilities.
MySwimPro Hackathon Adam Apple Watch sketches-small
At the end of the end of our hackathon, we would be judged by an external non-participant based on the following criteria, weighted equally:

  • Clearly Identified Problem and Solution
    • How big the pain point was identified
    • Validation by target demographic
  • Design and Technical Execution
    • Technical difficulty to build
    • Overall design aesthetic
  • Relevance to Business
    • Significance to existing business model
    • Speed to implement to product roadmap
  • Overall Awesomeness
    • Impressiveness
    • WOW factor and level of cool


We scheduled three check-in meetings: kick-off, lunch, and dinner. After everyone assembled and we agreed on a schedule, everyone got to work. Each team created a design challenge question to focus their work for the day.
Will & Fares – Business:

How might we use technology to create an individual training experience for serious users focused on performance that they would pay for?

Adam – iOS:

How might we utilize Apple Watch technology to bring users a more personal workout experience and increase the availability of workouts on deck?

Michael – Android:

How might we introduce the latest iOS features into the Android app, while maintaining a uniquely android user experience?

Fares and Will huddled at the kitchen table and downloaded (what seemed to be) dozens of fitness and workout apps on their phones. Mike and I started coding and getting a handle on the libraries we’d need (WatchKit for me ).
After moseying around Ann Arbor and Minneapolis for lunch, we dug in for the second half. I was comfortable with WatchKit 1.0 and began putting together a navigation scheme. Michael, the extremely experience Android dev he is, continued chuggin away at his work. Fares and Will moved on to whiteboarding (you bet I own a whiteboard) UX prototypes.


With Michael joining on Hangouts and a to-remain-nameless judge joining us in person, we sat on my bed (really) and began the presentations.
I kicked things off by presented my Apple Watch app. One of the biggest hurdles people have with MySwimPro right now is getting the workout to the pool. A waterproof wearable that walked you through the workout set by set would be perfect! So that’s what I created. You select a workout from MySwimPro on your iPhone and it sends the workout to your watch. The Apple Watch app walks you through your workout, with options for pausing, skipping sets, and ending the workout early.

Michael made great headway on the Android app, almost finishing the revamp completely in one day! If you’re interested, his re-write is live now on the Google Play Store!
myswimpro Hackathon G+ hangout
Fares and Will presented their research as a walk-through of what the user experience will look like on iOS for custom training plans- coming soon!
MSP_hustlers_storyboard - workout program
The judge leaned heavily towards the more tangible projects and ultimately fell in love with (okay, maybe a bit of an exaggeration) the watch app concept.
Update: When we brought it to Techweek Chicago, it easily garnished the most excitement from passer-byes- maybe even surpassing our stunning white blazers.
This hackathon brought us three great concepts, one of which is already complete and in production. We continue to follow our roadmap for training plans and frequently reference the research done. Right now we’re sitting tight on the Apple Watch app and are focusing our efforts where MySwimPro brings the most value to swimmers and triathletes: delivering custom workouts and training plans to help athletes swim smarter.


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