Friday, April 27, 2007

Swim Gear I Like

Poor technique, not aerobic fitness, is the primary limiter for most triathletes when it comes to swimming. And the #1 contributor to poor technique is inefficient breathing. The need to breathe frequently gets in the way for most athletes trying to perfect body position, and arm and leg synchronization. One of the best tools I have seen to help with this challenge is the Freestyle Snorkel from Finis. Worn in front of the face, this device allows you to concentrate on getting body mechanics right without turning to get air. Once that is learned then correct breathing is more easily incorporated. The Freestyle Snorkel retails for about $30. See

Many new triathletes and even some with years of experience have a great fear of open water. Reducing one’s fear of drowning can go a long way in producing better swim times—and make triathlons more fun. The best product I’ve ever seen for this is the SwimSafe from Tri-Aids. This is an inconspicuous belt that inflates using a CO2 cartridge when a cord is pulled. It is reusable and approved for USAT races so long as it is not inflated during the race. Disqualification is always preferable to drowning. The SwimSafe sells for about $80. Go to


At May 2, 2007 1:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recommend getting a noseplug for use with the freestyle snorkel. My Masters swim coach is a proponent of the snorkel, for getting an efficient stroke.

(BTW the best open water and distance swimmers, I've noticed, don't have an exactly symmetric stroke. But still dead-efficient and straight-moving.)

Offhand I don't like the idea of that SwimSafe, except maybe for solo training in open water. I don't think a person should compete in open water if they are not comfortable swimming in open water. It takes practice, especially in the ocean. Most swim and tri clubs organize group open water swims.

All the best,


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