Equipment is used to assist swimmers in attaining and maintaining body position, focusing on specific aspects of a stroke and improving muscular endurance. To these ends, it is helpful if all swimmers have equipment of a common design. Below is our suggestion for how to select equipment that will work well within our program. The prices listed are from swimoutlet.com.
Please clearly write the name of your swimmer on each piece of equipment with a sharpie or paint pen. Many, many pieces of equipment are found left behind at the pool and most go unclaimed because swimmers who forget their equipment also tend to forget to look for it afterwards.
Floating fins such as the Sporti Floating Swim Fins for $16.55 are a good choice. Primarily, you want to find a fin that is one piece without belts or straps. The simple design allows it to function for many years and can be more comfortable to wear during workouts than scuba fins. Short fins can be beneficial for older swimmers but they should discuss this option with their coach.
Swimmers require a specially designed snorkel, not the type used for scuba diving or snorkeling activities. Our recommendation is the Ylon Swim Snorkel for about $26. It has a forehead piece so that the snorkel comes up straight in front of the swimmers face. The snorkel allows the swimmer to focus on stroke mechanics without the need to turn the head and change body position to breathe. As with the fins, a simple design in the snorkel will allow it to function for a long time.
Paddles come in a large variety of shapes and sizes. Size selection is important as paddles create enhanced stress to the shoulders (one of the weakest joints in the body). Paddles of the proper size can help technique and strength development. Paddles too large for a swimmer can create shoulder injuries. Bigger is not always better in this case. We recommend two specific designs.
The first is the FINIS Agility Paddle. It does not have any components that can break. It is durable and will last as long as your swimmer can keep track of it or outgrows it. It comes in 3 sizes. The sizes should be selected based on the size of the swimmer. Small swimmers should get the small paddles (with 1 dot on the bottom as a size indicator) and larger swimmers should get the 2 or 3 dot size. These paddles cost about $17.
The second type of paddle recommended is called the Strokemaker. Strokemaker paddles come in 4 different sizes that are color coded. The small (Red paddles) will fit most of the younger swimmers. The next size, Green, will be the proper size for the majority of the older swimmers. The last 2 sizes (Yellow and Large Red) are for large people with good technique. They should be purchased after discussing options with their coach.
There are specialty paddles such as fulcrum paddles and finger-tip paddles. They are both useful for specific tasks but will not be used regularly. They should only be purchased after discussion with the athletes coach.
The pull buoy is often used in addition to paddles. Size again is an important factor with this piece of equipment. A small buoy that provides just enough buoyancy to allow the swimmer to maintain correct body position without kicking is what will benefit the swimmer most. If the buoy is too large and buoyant, they will feel off balance and will force the swimmer to adopt a poor body position to adapt.
Pull buoys cost between $5-7.
The FINIS AXIS buoy will cost $22. It is a useful tool but not required. Older swimmers often find it beneficial. The team owns a couple that can be borrowed during workout.
These devices are allowed during competition. They are helpful during underwater backstroke kicking. If your swimmer has trouble staying underwater for the backstroke kicks leaving walls, they might want to try a nose clip. We do not want them to become dependent upon this item and they should be able to race and practice backstroke underwater kicking without it. These items are small and frail. So be prepared to replace lost and/or broken nose clips throughout the season.