Your Guide To Swimming Equipment
Let's Get Swimming!
Buy the basic swimming equipment and get started in the pool.
Then move on to the more advanced equipment and keep improving.
If you are swimming for fitness then it doesn't take much equipment to get going.
But as you start to swim more often, you may want a few more challenges.
We'll take a look at swimming trunks, swimsuits, swimming goggles and caps as the basics. Then on to fins, paddles and kick boards to complete your equipment guide.
Basic Swimming EquipmentSwimming trunks.. these vary greatly, from the classic skimpy "Speedos" to large shorts. The trend has been going towards larger shorts, but these do hold you up and waste your energy with extra drag. The shorter trunks are a good compromise between the 2 extremes.
If you're not comfortable with the shorter trunks or Speedos, then you could try a wetsuit. Some say they even help you swim faster, although I think this depends on the suit and your technique in the suit.
Wetsuits come in either half sleeve or full body sizes. They are the more expensive choice, but if you're swimming regularly you'll soon see your money's worth. They're also very strong and last a good long time if kept properly.Swimsuits.. they come in a great variety of shapes and as 1 or 2 piece suits. Whilst fashion plays a part in the choice, like the men's trunks, the "in" swimsuit of the season isn't necessarily the ideal suit for swimming.
The fit, comfort and durability are the things you need to look for when buying your swimsuit. As they can be quite expensive, I'm sure you'll want your money's worth! Make sure the straps and leg holes don't dig into you. On the flip side, check all the angles by moving your arms and legs to make sure everything stays covered.
Wetsuits are again an option if you aren't comfortable with any swimsuits on offer. Again check the fit, which is the most important aspect for female swimmers.
Swimming goggles.. these are important for regular swimmers as they protect your eyes from chlorine in the pool.
They allow you to open your eyes under water, but visibility is generally poor. Although there are now models with improved visibility and most are anti-fog.
You will need to try some on to get an idea of what shape fits your face. Take into account the "feel", goggles should obviously be water tight but shouldn't cut into your face to do so. Check that the strap is easily adjustable and stays on your head correctly.Swimming caps.. these aren't essential, but can come in handy for those with long hair. They keep hair away from the water and so reduce your drag, helping you swim faster. They also protect your hair from chlorine, good for if you have any artificial colour in your hair.
Swimming caps are good for you as they will (generally) keep your hair dry, and good for the pool as there won't be long strands of hair floating about!
They mostly come in latex or silicone. Latex caps are prone to rips and do come close to stopping your circulation if too tight. Silicone caps are more expensive, but also more durable and tend to have a better fit.
They come in many different colours and patterns. For something totally different in swimming equipment, visit http://www.headcovers.com/swim-caps/ for some unique styles. A touching story from the creators, who are providing a great service for people with cancer and other illnesses.
Advanced Swimming EquipmentFins.. these are attached to your feet to increase the surface area and so increase your kick power. They will force you to work your legs harder, to get to your normal kicking rate and so improve strength.
They come in different sizes. With the larger ones you won't be able to reach your normal kick speed, but the focus will be on slower, more powerful kicks. The longer ones are for open water use. So the best sizes for the pool are the smaller ones, to get a variety of workouts.Paddles.. these come as either hand paddles or finger paddles. The higher surface area adds resistance to your pull, increasing strength. They can also be used to improve technique, as poor technique will be highlighted in the stroke.
Similar to fins, it will be harder to achieve your normal stroke rate, but once you're there you will be swimming faster.Kick boards.. again these come in many different shapes and sizes, for different age groups and swimming levels. Usually held above your head either on your front or back, whilst working your kicks.
There's a huge variety of swimming equipment on offer.
You definitely get what you pay for, so the leading brands tend to be the best as well as the most expensive.
I think it's a good idea to spend a bit more on the basic swimming equipment, as you will be using it several times a week.
The more advanced swimming equipment is usually available at the pool.
If you prefer to have your own then it's a good idea to try one at a time.
Let's Get Swimming!
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