While pandemic restrictions kept many swimmers dry in 2020, St. Pete company GMX7 was learning how to ready the world’s fastest freestylers for when the lanes reopened.
Founded in 2018 by seven-time gold medalist swimmer and former world-record holder, David McCagg, the Downtown St. Pete company is known in the competitive swimming community for its top-of-the-line resistance training machine: the X-1 Pro.
“We started it to develop aquatic resistance training that would hopefully revolutionize product resistance training across the world,” McCagg said.
In the past, swimmers strapped into metal pulleys that used underwater buckets to weigh them down and add resistance into their swimming routines. Others used elastic resistance bands, surgical tubing and even parachutes, but many of these techniques would pull swimmers up, down or back, thereby altering their stroke.
The X-1 Pro, McCagg explained, weighs under five pounds, and works by strapping athletes onto a reel that calculates precise resistance and does not affect the swimmer’s movements. Ryan Lochte, a partner in GMX7 and 12-time Olympic medalist, testifies that the X-1 Pro is the greatest training tool he’s ever used.
Multiple Central Florida athletes also helped the St. Pete company develop the product ahead of its release, including members of the Tsunami Swim Club in Sarasota. But most of the testing was conducted at the University of Florida.
After a few years of development, the company released its product in 2020. Since then, McCagg says the X-1 Pro has become the number one product for swim resistance training around the world.
Around 75 current Olympic swimmers from 15 different countries trained for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics using the locally-created product, including over half of the U.S. team. McCagg said that number will likely go up as more trainers adopt the high-tech resistance solution.
Caeleb Dressel, a current Olympian for the U.S. swim team, is another X-1 Pro user, who, according to McCagg, swears by the product. Dressel qualified as the second quickest in the Olympic 100-meter freestyle on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, women’s Olympic finalists will complete their 200 and 1500-meter freestyle finals, as well as the 200-meter medley final.
Men’s teams will complete the 200-meter butterfly final and four x 200-meter freestyle relay final.