Currently in the second week of my 50/50 swim challenge, sitting pretty at 9 swims in 9 days, so I thought that I'd write a post of some of the gear I've been (over)using at the pool.
I'm not normally one to write about different products, as I do sell a lot of swim gear at Speed Theory and don't want to come across as pushing product here on my blog. That said, this stuff is pretty cool ...
Speedo Aqua Socket Goggle
I've only been trying out the Aqua Socket goggle for a little over a week, and in honesty I probably wouldn't have tried them if not for a meeting with Speedo. I usually prefer a goggle with a bit of a softer (but solid) gasket, like the Speedo Sengar or Blue Seventy Element. The Aqua Socket is definitely made to be a racier goggle, but offer a surprising amount of periferal vision. In this way they're much like Swedish Goggles, which I tried once but failed. Maybe I needed Meyrick's sandpaper trick to make them work ...
Aqua Sphere Alpha Fins
Okay, another blatant review of a product now stocked at Speed Theory, but I wouldn't use the Alpha Fins if they didn't work. Unlike most swimming fins, these are made of a light foam, and they float while you swim. At first I thought that that would make for a great freestyle fin, but not so useful for fly and backstroke. So far they seem to work well for all strokes (well, not breaststroke ...) and they're actually really comfortable. In my old fins my feet would always cramp up after a few hundred metres, but the soft foam construction of these works better with the foot. And besides, they make you look like a Zora
and moving on ...
I bought these paddles over the summer on the suggestion that I needed a paddle that would slip if I didn't reach properly with my catch. Unlike other paddles I've used that are bound securely to the hand with multiple bits of tubing, these paddles use a single tube around one finger, and can fall off easily if you're not catching right. Plus, they're not actually that big, so they don't slow down my stroke rate like bigger paddles, and are thus really useful for swimming without a pull buoy. Thanks to the guys at Team Aquatic Supplies for ordering these in for me.
Blue Seventy Transition Bag
Unlike everything else, this isn't a new acquisition for me; I've had my transition bag for well over three years now. What has always impressed me with this bag is the size of the main compartment; many times I drive to the pool straight from work, and need to store all my clothes, my winter jacket, towel, and all my swim gear to take onto the pool deck (I've never trusted the pool lockers). No problem. There are lots of exterior mesh pockets to store your slightly damp suits, goggles, swim caps etc. so they dry out over the course of the day too. And during the summer it's great for open water swimming, as my wetsuit can roll up and fit in the bottom compartment (which is waterproof, except for the zipper).
TriSwim has a complete line of products for the semi-competitive swimmer (hey, thats me!) Their main focus is making shower products that don't leave you smelling like chlorine all day after an early morning swim. And in that they're pretty sucessful. I remember when I first used the shampoo and could barely get my fingers through my hair afterwards, as the stuff strips your hair of all its oil as it's clearing the chloride (the label says "gently removes chlorine" - yeah right). So the one downside is that you do need to pair their products together: shampoo with conditioner, and body wash with lotion (though substitute your favourite body lotion as you will). And it leaves you smelling like Froot Loops, which is pretty cool.
Sugoi Piston 140 Compression Top
Okay, not technically a swim product, but let me explain. When you swim 2 or 3 times a week you might notice some upper-body discomfort for a day or two after the hardest of your workouts. When you attempt to swim 7 times a week, often doubling up swims on days, and are coming to swimming relatively late in life, well let's just say that I expect my shoulders to be mildly sore until December.
Enter Sugoi's new compression line. Following the massive success of their R&R Compression Socks (Elizabeth actually had a customer being fit for jeans at Hangers the other week who was wearing them) Sugoi has come out with full line of compression wear for next Spring. While they're relatively late to the scene with compression, the Piston fabric they use makes their shirt perfect for a swimmer's recovery piece to wear throughout the day. I got the one in black, and am seriously thinking about dressing up as "Compression Man" tomorrow for Hallowe'en.
Anyway, that's all I've got to say for now. Probably time to go get an easy 1000 metres in ...