As the coach of a small year-round swim program, you quickly encounter the difficulties associated with funding. Many teams must be very resourceful and juggle with ideas of buying or creating their own swim equipment. Some teams have the ability to create their own equipment, while other larger teams have the ability to purchase whatever they need. What happens if you find yourself in a similar position to mine: with the inability to replicate existing products and not enough income to buy them new? Granted, we did have the essentials of swimming, like kickboards and pull buoys. However, new ways of doing things were proving to create better swimmers. We didn’t have what the Jones’ had, but what we did have was a bunch of swimmers striving to improve.
I spent a lot of time thinking about what products would provide the best results. After a couple nights of personal deliberation, thinking about paddles, fins, resistance bands, and parachutes, I came to the conclusion to have my swimmers purchase the FINIS Swimmer’s Snorkel. I am confident in my decision and I would like to briefly explain my thought process, based on a few key points.
- Cost: it’s only $35.99 on the Finis website. At this price, it was affordable for all parents, and the swimmers felt good about owning their own piece of equipment. Being just a tad more expensive than most suits and goggles made it a wise, affordable choice for our swim families.
- Head and body position: Using the snorkel allows swimmers to develop proper head and body alignment while swimming. This is important for a multitude of reasons. Neutral head position allows the hips to ride higher in the water and the swimmer to expend less energy moving through the water. This attribute alone can benefit swimmers exponentially.
- Ability to focus on stroke technique: Removing the need to breathe allows swimmers to spend more time focusing on the stroke or drill at hand. This shortens the learning process for swimmers dramatically, allowing for more constructive feedback from the coach.
- Eliminates breathing in the turns: The breakout breath is a horrible habit that many swimmers develop at a young age. If not halted early, this can be an issue that stays with a swimmer for their entire careers. It happens when a swimmer has just completed a turn (more directed towards freestyle) and takes a breath during the initial breakout stroke/ arm pull. The habit can be broken, but with the snorkel it is much easier. In many cases, we believe that every breakout breath taken requires about three full strokes to make up for. At the top levels of the sport, you simply can’t afford these mistakes. Treating this bad habit is easily accomplished with the Swimmer’s Snorkel.
- Secretly hypoxic: Whether you assign hypoxic sets often or not, this FINIS Swimmer’s Snorkel does the trick. As swimmers exhale, the last bit of air they exhale is CO2. A small amount of CO2 remains in the snorkel due to its slight bend. In essence, swimmers re-breathe a small amount of CO2 when they inhale. Their lungs and bodies are forced to adapt, enhancing their ability to refine and send oxygen to the muscles in use. Not to mention they must exhale off the turn to clear the snorkel, a contrast from inhaling or taking a breakout breath.
This product quickly became a favorite of all of my swimmers. There are many other benefits to this product, as each coach seems to use them in their own unique way. At just under $40, you can’t afford not to implement this product into your training strategy.
St. Ignatius High School (San Francisco, CA); Assistant Coach
South San Francisco Aquatics (San Francisco, CA); Assistant Coach