Lida TSONKOVA is a high caliber Learn to Swim Coach with experience in Australia, Bulgaria, Spain and the USA. She has a Bachelor in Physical Education and Swimming from National Sports Academy in Bulgaria, Master in Tourism Management from New Bulgarian University and a Management Diploma from the Cambridge International College, Perth, Australia.
Her excellent track record of delivering growth makes her an outstanding candidate for any project. She always demonstrated passion for the companies or the clubs she worked for and in 2015, just being 28 years of age, she committed this success to her own company, Alba Swim Ltd.
“I love what I do because it makes children smile” is Lida’s attitude which she transferred to SwiMMinD, a project of Alba Swim. The concept of SwiMMinD sprang in the autumn of 2017 and after a series of discussions between Lida Tsonkova and Valentin Milkov (US Open Champion, Director of a World Cup) it become obvious that there are major problems in the swimming world.
- Time-consuming Video Analysis Tools for beginner and elite level swimmers;
- Childhood obesity and diabetes continue to grow in alarming rates;
- High costs to race internationally;
- Majority of Learn to Swim Coaches struggle to follow Learn to Swim Programs or to provide certificates to their beginner swimmers because it proves to be difficult to design, print and distribute certificates, which is an essential driver for children’s motivation to improve their swimming skills.
In this respect SwiMMinD offers the following solutions:
- Video Analysis Accessible to Beginners, the global mass of swimmers;
- Develop a Personalized Mobile Application, a Platform for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and non-AI modules;
- Develop and Integrate an Interactive Digital Certificates System;
- Develop AI Video Analysis Modules based on Video Recognition Learn to SwimPrograms and Races.
In summary, SwiMMinD shall automatically deliver meaningful FEEDBACK and interactive digital AWARDS to beginner swimmers interested to build confidence in the water and shall provide them with video based competitions to RACE with swimmers around the world. To this point, Lida states that “SwiMMinD aims to give children or beginner swimmers access to automatic learn to swim feedback which means a talking digital shark tells a kid whether he passed a swimming level and tells him what he needs to improve to get to the next level. FUN is a PRIORITY for us! That is why we spent much time developing the visuals of the digital seahorses, goldfishes, sharks, arrows…”
To make the video analysis automatic, SwiMMinD’s team shall evaluate swimming videos by using machine learning algorithms to calculate whether a swimming skill was executed properly and whether or how fast a swimmer swam an event. This will augment coaches tremendously and will bring more joy to swimmers and parents. In this respect Lida stated that “SwiMMinD will not replace coaches…. on the opposite it will assist them. Coaches will use the app to assess their kids and to Award them or to place them in the SwiMMinD‘s Global Race!”
The primary challenge of SwiMMinD is to set up the mobile app to work through the water. However, the Chief Technology Officer of SwiMMinD, Borislav Popov (Bobi), who was a Head of Semantic Analytics at Ontotext where he built a team that developed a Dynamic Semantic Publishing platform used by leading media, scientific and financial institutions in Europe and the US, stated that he could use his prior work in combination with the new discoveries in the video recognition analysis to develop a solution to the problem which is a core intellectual property of SwiMMinD.
Lida Tsonkova said that in her career as a swimmer (Multiple medalist in swimming from National Championships in Bulgaria and Spain) she came across video analysis but those tools are made only for highly experienced professionals in the video analysis or Coaches who spent countless hours deciphering those tools. At the end, the present market offers labour-intensive video analysis tools which are not helpful to beginner swimmers.
“We keep asking ourselves: What excites children? What motivates a 9-year-old swimmer? What would a 50-year-old beginner swimmer needs or wants? How could parents help the process of learning to swim of their child without interrupting the swimming lessons? How could we excite more parents, grandparents and children about swimming? How could we bring more attention to beginner swimmers? How could beginner swimmers learn faster? How could apply my swimming knowledge to provide the best customer service, the best swimming lessons possible?” While answering these questions Lida and the entire SwiMMinD team go through different versions of the app on a daily basis in order to make it better.
Lida grew up in a high-tech family. Her brother is a leading IT specialist whose work is highly sought from multinational enterprises. Thus, the tech world is not new to her and she appreciates the challenges and ready to go to the deep end in order to provide the best solutions for beginner swimmers.