Weather your training to complete your first 25, or for your first open water swim or even if your first 1k in a triathlon, before you hop into the pool, you may want to invest in some swimming equipment. Like all sports, just having a few simple items will enhance your ability tenfold. Think about the difference of running in flip flops versus new neutral Nikes.
I prefer a one piece that is a blend of PBT and polyester. One pieces don’t ride up (or down for that matter) and stay in place during all of practice. The material of PBT and polyester runs smaller but lasts 100 times longer. I swim 2-4 hours every day and have gotten nearly a year out of a single suit. Normal “endurance suits,” don’t last a month in those conditions.
Investing 15 dollars will save you money in time. It will also save your eyes a lot of eye drops and chlorine damage. I prefer female Speedo vanquishers. They are tinted for swimming outdoors and come in a variety of colors. I normally go through 2 pairs of goggles each swim season.
I wear 2 swim caps. I often get a lot of questions of how to protect your hair from chlorine damage and if hair really does turn green. Well the best way to protect your hair from chlorine damage is a swim cap. Wearing just one swim cap is like wearing a baseball hat when it’s raining to protect you. It is the first barrier between you and the pool. Second, unless you have platinum blonde hair-your hair will not turn green I promise.
Caps are also good for not getting hair in your face while swimming. I cannot even enter the pool anywhere even leisurely without a swim cap. I feel like a mermaid with a massive amount of seaweed in my face when I go underwater.
The last reason I’ll convince you of the beauty of swim caps is for open water racing. They save your life. If you are drowning and wearing a bright yellow swim cap, the lifeguards got your back. That is why most any open water race and triathlon you are required to wear a cap.
Fins help to enhance butterfly kick. They stimulate the speed and motion of kicking. They essentially elongate your feet. The longer your feet the faster you go. If you have ever seen a swimmer they have huge feet. I also find anytime I use fins, my heart rate is driven up.
Kickboards are also used to target kicking by isolating your feet. Many swimmers can agree (myself included and I run) that coordinating your kick and pull is the hardest thing about swimming. The more you practice kicking the easier it gets.
Dolphin kick is also just about one of the best ab exercises known to mankind. Just think-how does Michael Phelps get his 6 pack? Most butter flyers have an extremely strong core and eye appealing core muscle and you can too-with lots of dolphin kick!
This is something more known in the freestyle and distance community. Just as fins enhance your kick, hand paddles enhance your arm movements. They target your upper body and are similar to lifting weights. They add resistance and build muscle. I can personally guarantee you if you use these, you will be sore as if you just bench pressed for the first time or did your first dips.
Pull Buoys are the opposite of kick boards. They are placed between your legs and only allow your body to pull. I prefer to use pull buoys to begin with since they keep your butt closer to the surface and I don’t kick my feet anyways.
It may not feel like it, but swimming really works up a sweat! You should always have water on hand. Although, you absorb about 1 liter of water per hour you are in the pool, but that isn’t hydrating you per say.