Equipment that our team uses during training, with some tips and advice on what you might wish to purchase.
The items listed below are the most commonly used training equipment by our team. There are certainly other types of swimming equipment available for purchase, and it is suggested that you consult with our coach before you purchase equipment unnecessarily.
For women, most will want to wear a one piece, racing style suit. Racing suits are made by a number of manufacturers, and each brand has a slightly different cut and feel. Ask your team mates for recommendations. After you have worn a few suits, you will learn which size, style and manufacturer feel most comfortable at practice sessions.
Men will want to wear a racing style suit (though it is not required). For men who are not familiar with racing style suits, they can really improve your performance compared to baggier trunks. Racing suits are made by a number of manufacturers, (Speedo, TYR, Nike, Dolphin, etc) and each brand has a slightly different cut and feel. Ask your team mates for their recommendations. After you have worn a few suits, you will learn which size, style and manufacturer feel most comfortable during swimming. The racing style suit is a more revealing cut, but the sleek, streamline feel in the water will make a big difference during practice sessions!
Goggles are not required equipment, but they are highly recommended! Goggles help you see better underwater and also protect your eyes from the chlorinated water. If you wear contact lenses, you may wear your contacts under the goggles to aid your vision. Goggles are made by a number of manufacturers, and like suits, you will find that the fit varies from one manufacturer to another. Ask your team mates if you can try on their goggles to find a style that best fits you. For those swimmers who will be entering swim meets a pair of goggles with a double head strap is recommended. They are less likely to come off during a dive start off the block. It is not necessary to spend a large sum of money on goggles, usually a $6 pair will work just as well as the $30 pair.
Training fins come in a variety of shapes and sizes. For beginning swimmers they can help you in learning proper body position, and speed up your kick dramatically.
Though not required, swim caps are an excellent way to help prevent hair damage from pool chemistry. Latex caps usually do not last much more than a year, but are the best in protecting your hair from damage. Lycra caps allow water to flow through and do little to protect the hair, but they keep long hair out of your face and out of the pool filter. For competitive swimmers, swim caps also help reduce drag.
We strongly suggest that you bring a water bottle along with you to every practice. Though you are surrounded by water, most swimmers do not drink enough water to keep adequately hydrated (you should not drink pool water). We encourage you bring water, or other sports drinks in plastic containers only.
Pull buoys come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The purpose of these buoys is to raise the legs, preventing them from sinking, and allowing you to work the upper body.
Hand paddles are used to create more surface area for resistance in the pull phase of the stroke. Some of the advantages to using paddles include: allowing a more powerful pull phase and cutting down on the number of strokes per length, assisting in learning how to bi-lateral breath, learning to follow through with the stroke. Some of the disadvantages to using the paddles include: giving you more power than you'll ever receive while swimming without the paddles, stress on the shoulder possibly creating pain in the shoulders and arms.
Kick boards also come in a variety of shapes and densities, and look like miniature surfboards. Many times kick sets with the board will be given after long sets, allowing you to keep your head above the water, and to socialize with the people around you (often referred to by the coach as social kicking).