Student entrepreneur launches swim gear site

Viktor Holicek got his entrepreneurial feet wet late last year after a trip to Taiwan.

Fourth year SFU business student Viktor Holicek is making a splash with his startup distribution website for swimming sports watches.

The site, Swimovate Canada, connects students with unique fitness equipment, provides details as to how the equipment can be best utilized, and links users to blogs related to fitness and swimming.

Holicek’s website eventually emerged from an idea he had for a device that would help swimmers track their workouts. “During my exchange in China, some friends and I were brainstorming ideas for swimming products,” he explained. “I knew enough about swimming to see [. . .] a business opportunity here in Canada.”

A competitive swimmer himself, Holicek originally envisioned the device as a lap-counting system for the entire swimming pool, but quickly had to change his plans. He explained, “After realizing how complicated and slow to implement that would be (pools are publicly owned for the most part), I started thinking of how to make a personalized gadget that would serve the same purpose.”

Although he originally wanted to develop his own watches, Holicek discovered a small husband and wife operation in the United Kingdom which offered a similar product.

“I’d like to get into manufacturing my own products eventually.”

Viktor Holicek,

SFU business student

From there it was a matter of getting in touch with them and working out an agreement for distribution, trademarks, licensing, and so on.

Marketed as “the only watch that counts,” PoolMates tracks statistics such as stroke count, distance, speed, calories, times, and efficiency. It can also upload the statistics to a computer, where users can track their progress.

“Ideally, I would have liked the chance to build the gadget myself had it not already existed, but taking on the distribution was probably enough to start on,” Holicek explained. “I’d like to get into manufacturing my own products eventually.”

Holicek eventually created the site Swimovate, which connects swimmers of all ages with tools to help them set their goals and push themselves harder — without needing to have someone to time them.

As demonstrated by his jet-setting lifestyle, Holicek is the type of person who constantly challenges himself. “I’ll often get an uncomfortable feeling in my gut when I’m not somehow improving or trying new things,” he told The Peak. “I appreciate my time at SFU, but I have to keep in mind the sheer number of other business students graduating each year who have the same skills and experience as me, if not more.”

With that in mind, Holicek is currently looking to gain more practical experience to complement his academic education. He assured The Peak, however, that this doesn’t mean he’ll stop pushing the limits of innovation.

“It reminds me of that saying,” he said, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.”