Swimming Equipment For Triathletes  

by Pool Builders on 01-16-2010 in Articles

The small amount of equipment you need to start swimming should not deceive you into thinking you need only buy a pair of goggles and a swimsuit. Swimming is all about technique, with some tools to improve your skills and others to make you swim faster. You will need the following essential items of equipment.

Swimming pool

This is the equipment most triathletes find hardest to manage. Unlike bike and run, which can happen just outside your front door, swimming involves planning and a specific location. Ideally, you need a local pool, broken into abilities (slow lane, medium lane, etc). Search for a triathion club session or masters group to give you contact with other triathletes and input from fellow swimmers or a poolside coach.

Some triathletes revert to group booking a lane and swimming together to ensure a clear lane and a pleasant session. Whether you pay per session, buy a season ticket or the pool is part of your gym membership, swimming has a cost, and good strokes are the product of hours of training.

Goggles and hat

Secure and comfortable goggles make training more pleasant and help avoid unnecessary injuries caused by swimming into people or objects. A tight-fitting hat means less drag, less wiping your hair out of your eyes and less chlorine damage to your hair. You may get a warmer head but you will have to race in a hat, so see it as race day preparation.

Swim costume

Women wear a one-piece or two-piece costume. Men can have brief-like trunks or a longer cycle- type short. Don't wear baggy costumes or shorts; they make too much drag, forcing you to swim too hard. It's an advanced training method to use a drag suit, so think tight and low-drag when you are buying a costume. Triathlon suits are what many people race in, but the wear and tear, chlorine and stretching caused by regular training will soon make them too expensive to justify training in.

Pool toys

There are three basic tools to help you swim better and learn good technique.
* Fins allow you to concentrate on your arm action and body roll whilst doing a light but incredibly effective foot and leg action.

* A kickboard lets you focus on kicking rhythm.

* A drinks bottle allows you to stay hydrated and provides liquid energy - essential if you are to keep good technique and mental focus from the start to finish of a session.

Advanced training tools

Drag shorts, which are designed to be worn over your normal costume, build strength in swimmers with good technique by adding resistance. However, they are not suitable for beginners, who need good skills before building strength. A set of plastic hand paddles will force you to swim with perfect hand placement or your hands will slip worthlessly through the water; always pick a small pair and then incorporate them a little at a time.

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