I‘m a gadget girl. Whenever I start a new sport or interest I dive in (no pun intended) whole heartedly and explore all the gear that comes with said new interest. For example if I became an equestrian I would probably start dressing like the picture on the left or if it was golf, the picture on the right might be my new look. The last several posts have been all about finding a swimsuit that you feel great in. But what if you want to do something once you get into that swimsuit, say like SWIM? Now that I have had to give up running temporarily and revisit my love for swimming I’ve started to explore the world of swimming gear.
Although all you really need to swim is a swimsuit, there are a lot of accessories out there ranging from the very basic to quite expensive depending upon your needs, your inclinations and of course budget.
The first two things I bought myself were a new swim cap and a new pair of goggles. I bought the Speedo Vanquisher goggles and am very pleased by how well they sit on my face and keep out the water. Of course as always, your face may differ. The more exciting option for someone like myself who wears glasses, is prescription goggles. I had no idea they even existed. And they are reasonably priced, can have different powers in each eye and come in near and far-sighted models. If I keep swimming a pair of these are in my near future. What a novelty to be able to actually see the clock when I’m in the water or to know if the person approaching me is a cute guy or an octogenarian hunchback (NB yes my eyesight is that bad). Although lots of goggles claim they have antifog protection built-in if your’s don’t you could try Quick Spit antifog spray which the company says works on anything that fogs, including dive masks, swim goggles, and eye glasses.
If you want to get away from boring black and announce your inner super hero there is the GRRRR Silicone Swim Cap. I had no idea that caps had gotten so creative but more subtle ones still exist. They are made of different materials depending upon what your swimming cap needs are. You can read all about the pros and cons of each here. For my swimming cap I went pretty plain although I did splurge and got the Arena Smart Cap which is specifically for longer hair.
For getting more out of your swim workout there are all kinds of devices that are intended to make you concentrate on one aspect of your stroke at a time such as kickboards and pull buoys or to make the workout more challenging like drag belts or swim parachutes. Your pool may even have some on deck for you to use. My favourite though are the swim fins. This article does a great job explaining why and how you might use them. But the main reason I would advocate you try them is because they are FUN! You just slice through the water and it’s an awesome feeling. I mean you feel like aquaman (or aquawoman). Of course there are a lot of fitness benefits too but really its all about how fast they make you feel.
For carrying your gear you need get no more complicated than a plastic bag but for those who want a more permanent and useful solution there are many options to choose from. For after your swim to keep the separation between wet and dry consider the go clean wet suit bag.
My other purchase was a Lap counter which is used to, you guessed it, count laps. It seems silly that one would need a device to count something which (at least for me) never amounts to a very large number nor do the laps go by so fast that I have trouble keeping up. But while swimming laps one’s mind is free to wander and very often I find myself forgetting what lap I’m on. This counter was inexpensive and you wear it on your finger so you only need one hand to touch the buttons which means that there is no excuse – I mean no need – to stop at the end of the lane to control the device. It also records how long it took you to swim each lap, the average lap time and the total length of time. And if you accidentally forget if you already pressed the counter, its easy to see because your lap will only be a few seconds long.
The last pieces of swimming gear that I found are coolest and thus of course the most expensive ones on the list, and of course I covet both intensely. First there is the Waterproofed iPod which is completely waterproofed with a durable internal barrier around all the sensitive electronic components, and can be submerged down to 210 feet underwater. It comes with waterproof headphones. I am anxious to try it out as I think that swimming to music would be awesome but the price is not so awesome especially when you calculate delivery to Canada and the associated duty.
And then there is the Garmin Swim Watch for those of us who want to keep track of all the times and data associated with our swim which we can continue to pour over long after we have left the pool deck. The description says, “When swimming laps indoors, a GPS-based trainer has a hard time when there’s a roof between it and the satellites. The Garmin Swim solves this problem by using an internal accelerometer that’s so sensitive it not only tracks your distance, laps, and time, it even detects your stroke style and when you are resting between laps. You just dial in any pool length between 20 and 100 metres, and dive in.” It’s a thing of beauty and maybe if I’m still swimming in December Santa can put in my stocking.