Swim - Equipment

Swim training aids are important tool in developing swim skills and technique.  The range of swim training aids is extensive both in the type of training aids (e.g. fins, paddles, pull buoys etc.) and the variety of each type (e.g. zoomer fins, short fins, split fins, long fins).  Navigating your way through the variety of different options is complicated and picking the most appropriate training aid can be difficult especially when picking the wrong training aid can actually have a detrimental impact on your stroke development.

In addition to a swimsuit and goggles the key pieces of equipment I recommend for your swim bag are:

 Technique Fitness 
Fins Tempo Trainer 
 Paddles 
 Pull Bouy 

Below are details of equipment I recommend and like to use in both my coaching and swimming.

 Finis Tempo Trainer Pro
http://www.swimsmooth.com/1100-15.html

 
The tempo trainer is a small waterproof device that fits under your swim cap and emits an audible beep - the timing of which depends on which mode it is in.  One mode will help develop your pace awareness and enable you to train at the correct intensity the other will help you develop your stroke rate.

For more information: 
Finis Tempo Trainer
 Pull Buoy
http://www.swimsmooth.com/idevaffiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=1100&url=163


 
A pull buoy is put between the legs to lift the legs and isolate the movement of the upper body. There are many variations of pull buoy but all do the same job. Generally the larger the pull buoy the more buoyancy it provides.

For more information: Pull Buoy
 Fins - Technique
http://www.swimsmooth.com/1100-10.html

Fins - Lap Swimming
http://www.dmcswim.com/dmc-elite-fins


The benefits of using swim fins are:
  • Increase ankle flexibility
  • Improve body position and technique
  • Improve leg strength
  • Increase fitness and cardiovascular conditioning
Fins - Technique
For technique work I recommend the long style flexible fins (e.g. Finis Floating Fin, Kiefer Thrust Fin) which does not put as much stress on the ankle and leg as the shorter style fins and provides more propulsion allowing you to focus on the drill and not the kick.  The disadvantage to these fins is they affect your kick rhythm and timing when lap swimming, this is fine during a technique set but is not ideal during when using fins during a swim set.

For more information: Finis Floating Fins

Fins - Lap Swimming
There are many varieties of shorter style fins but I find these DMC Elite Fins great for lap swimming as they allow you to maintain a natural kick rhytym.  They can be used for technique but require more effort.

For more information: DMC Elite Fins


Finis Freestyler Paddles
http://www.swimsmooth.com/idevaffiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=1100&url=162

Finis Agility Paddles
http://www.swimsmooth.com/idevaffiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=1100&url=183



 
There are many different types of paddles: some designed for strength by providing resistance and others designed to work on technique - the range seems to be endless.

The paddles I recommend are the Finis Freestyler Paddle which are a technique paddle that works on your hand placement and alignment in the water.  These paddles are suitable for all ability of swimmers.

When buying paddles, especially strength ones there are many different sizes. Make sure you purchase the appropriate size otherwise you may cause yourself an injury - bigger isn't always better.

For more information: Finis Freestyler Paddles

Another good technique based paddle for intermediate/advanced swimmers is the Finis Agility Paddles.  Like a traditional paddle it increases the surface area of your hand to provide added resistance but its design promotes an early vertical forearm position to increase stroke efficiency i.e. if you don't keep a positive palm pressure on the paddle it falls off.

For more information: Finis Agility Paddles
 Snorkel
http://www.swimsmooth.com/idevaffiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=1100&url=184

 
A snorkel allows a swimmer to focus on freestyle stroke technique without the interruption of turning the head to breathe.  This enables the swimmer to focus on other elements of stroke technique whilst being more relaxed.

There are many different makes of swim snorkels and most seem to do the same basic job.

For more information: Snorkel