Author Archives: FINIS, Inc

Wendy Boglioli: The Alignment Kickboard

If you like gear that makes things easier, then the FINIS Alignment Kickboard might not be right for you. But if you’re the type who craves improvement and knows it doesn’t come easy, then this piece of equipment will become your new best friend in the pool.

20130715_WendyBoglioli_Visit-004-4Kick sets are really important, as any competitive swimmer will tell you. Strong and skilled kicking is a critical component of all four strokes. Whatever our favored strokes, its kick sets that help us build power and swim faster, and when we kick too low, or too high, we lose efficiency. I’ve heard quite a few coaches rave about the Alignment Board for kicking, so when FINIS gave me one to try I was anxious to give it a go at my local pool. After four weeks of incorporating it into my workouts (kicking around 1200 yards, three times a week), I don’t think any serious swimmer- at any level- should go without it. Here’s why:

Perfect positioning

Traditional kickboards are no good at getting us into proper alignment. Even if we can maintain length in our arms on them, we’re still left with a floating device that floats on top of the water. This in turn puts our upper bodies and shoulders higher than our legs, which descend into the water, while our backs arch to accommodate this un-natural position.

The first time I put my hands through the Alignment Board and pushed off the wall, I immediately noticed that I had only me, myself and I to keep it steady and stay streamlined from my fingertips to my toes. With your hands under the strap, the board rests a couple of inches below the water surface and puts your entire body in a single, perfect line. Coupling it with the Swimmer’s Snorkel (which I can’t live without), I can keep my head straight and low, with my body outstretched to really target my core and legs. Plus, I have the added benefit of breathing through the snorkel’s small air passageway which mimics training at altitude and gets my heart pumping.

Power steering… with your fingers!

Instead of gripping a floating piece of foam, your body stays straight as you steer the board with only your hands and fingers. That means you have to be in the proper position or else the board will let you know immediately. I’m more aware than ever of my positioning in the water thanks to this single piece of equipment.

Because of its smaller size and maneuverability, I feel totally in control compared to using a kickboard. Nowhere is this more striking than when I do flip turns. You heard me right. Flip turns.

You can do them with the Alignment Board. You feel like you’re in the driver’s seat as you streamline off your turn with power. If this sensation doesn’t hit you right away, give it some time and practice.

Lara-Snorkel-AlignKick-Zoomers-Usage-22-LRIf you are wobbling through the turns, that means you’re not streamlining appropriately. Eventually, you’ll be pulling flip turns with the Alignment Board and grinning from ear to ear.

Immediate feedback

For better (and for worse if you aren’t up for the challenge), the Alignment Board gives you immediate feedback. If you don’t listen to it and take corrective action, you’ll be wobbling the entire length of the pool. Because it requires some arm strength to keep slightly under water, it also offers some unexpected arm conditioning (you may even feel a little sore in your triceps after a long set with it). Unlike a kickboard which can let us get lazy, the Alignment Board requires a nice, steady kick to keep it, and you, moving forward. Too little of a kick and you won’t go very far; too high of a kick and you’ll wobble. That’s the immediate feedback that not even coaches can give you.

Kicking made fun

I really love how I can work on a variety of kicks with this board. I also switch it up and do single arm and side kick drills. As a lifelong ‘flyer, I only wish I had this earlier in my career because there is nothing comparable for butterfly kick work. For breaststrokers, too, I can’t think of a better technical device for working on the kick than this board thanks to the body’s positioning. And, of course, the board keeps you long and straight for flutter kicking.

I suspect some of you out there are gadget geeks and trend setters. I’ve had a lot of fun seeing the faces of my fellow swimmers at the pool as they watch me use it, oogling over it like kids in candy shops. There’s no better way to convince people of its strengths than to simply let them try it out (assuming you’ve got some time to kill). And because it’s fairly small, I’ve been able to pack it with me when I travel.

The Alignment Board is certainly a challenge worth rising up to. My workouts have improved, my core and legs have strengthened, and I enjoy the heck out of it. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Until next time, keep on swimming!

Wendy B.

 

 

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Here is a short update on what you may have missed:

1) Tempo Trainer Pro: Reference Guide

Roy-Allan Saul Burch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Weekly Swim Tips

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FINIS Provides Hope through Make-A-Wish Foundation

Begin your week with purpose. Strive to make a difference in the world and help others to Enjoy Swimming.

FINIS was fortunate enough to be a part of Alissa’s dream, by donating a Wave Monofin to her through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Allison asked for the ability to swim like a dolphin and was presented with her very own fin last week where she resides in Florida.

MAW waveMAW2 MAW3

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Review: FINIS Neptune

“I received my Finis Neptune MP3 just a couple of days after ordering on line – thanks heaps.

I had purchased a Speedo 4GB from a store in Canberra but returned it days later. The unit was extremely difficult to navigate around and the ear phones kept falling out and floating off in the pool. I hated it and it was more expensive that the Finis Neptune.

Neptune-Usage-b-2-LRHaving won the 2013 design award the Finis Neptune MP3 was a unit that I was eager to try. I swim laps almost every day for any hour which can get a little boring just staring at the blue line, counting my laps and thinking about work. With the Neptune I turn it on and immerse myself in the pleasure of the music and enjoyment of swimming.

You simply drag and drop to load on music, same as you would a thumb drive. I clip it on to my goggles or swim cap and press start – that’s it! The head phones are very comfy and sit on your cheekbones allowing you to still wear your earplugs to keep out the water – they don’t come off, move or interrupt your stroke. It’s so easy to use that you can change volume or song or turn off the unit while you are swimming. The sound is great.

I love my Neptune player so much that I find I’m wanting to swimming more often as it’s so enjoyable.

Thank you to the Aqua Shop (AUS) for such speedy service and delivering a great product.

I couldn’t be happier.

Sue B.
Canberra AUS”

Neptune is a waterproof MP3 player that provides the highest quality sound in the water without the use of ear buds. Neptune uses revolutionary Bone Conduction audio transmission to transmit crystal clear audio through the cheekbone directly into the inner ear. With 4GB of storage, aquatic athletes can listen to music, audio books, podcasts and more, all with incredible sound. The included charging cable also allows for quick song upload to the device. The 3-piece design has 2 side speakers and a high contrast OLED screen that sits comfortably on the back of the head. The screen shows the song, artist and play status for each use. Neptune attaches securely to goggle straps and rests on the cheekbones as to not interfere with swimming technique.

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FINIS Partners With Under Armour to Offer Technical Products to Sponsored Teams

Livermore, CA – (July 31, 2013) FINIS, a world leader in technical swimming products announces a partnership with Under Armour Inc., an innovative performance brand specializing in apparel, footwear and accessories across numerous sports.  Moving forward, all FINIS teams will be able to utilize the full range of Under Armour’s product offering for their team members, to keep them comfortable on the deck and for training out of the pool.

UnderArmour-LogoCurrently, FINIS sponsored clubs, high schools and colleges around the world have access to all of the FINIS training equipment, team and championship swimwear needed to perform their best.  FINIS’ custom swimwear has helped individualize teams and set them apart from the competition by implementing the team colors, logos and a unique look.  In fact, these teams have seen an increase in unity with unique suits and training products, which translates to better practices and faster times.  Partnering with Under Armour for team warm-ups, coach shirts and other athletic apparel for outside of the pool helps athletes optimize their training and performance.  Together FINIS is able to broaden its technical product offering with great apparel and footwear, and Under Armour can establish itself in the competitive swimming world.

“Under Armour is a leader in the athletic industry,” commented FINIS CEO and President, John Mix.  “As FINIS continues to grow, we want to provide our athletes with the best equipment and sportswear, whether it’s in the pool or on the pool deck.  We are proud to partner with such a reputable company that cares about athletes like we do.”

FINIS will officially start offering Under Armour products to sponsored swim teams beginning August 1, 2013. To learn more about FINIS team sponsorships, contact sponsorships@finisinc.com.

About Under Armour, Inc.:

Under Armour® is a leading developer, marketer and distributor of branded performance apparel, footwear and accessories. Their products are sold worldwide and worn by athletes at all levels, from youth to professional, on playing fields around the globe. The Under Armour global headquarters is in Baltimore, Maryland, with European headquarters in Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium, and additional offices in Denver, Hong Kong, Toronto, and Guangzhou, China. For further information about Under Armour, visit www.ua.com.

About FINIS:

Founded in 1993 in Northern California, FINIS was started by John Mix and Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer Pablo Morales. The Monofin and the Swimmer’s Snorkel were the first products they developed for the US market; afterwards, they continued to focus on creating training tools for swimmers and coaches worldwide. FINIS products are currently available in over 65 countries and are used by US and International Olympic teams, elite triathletes, and fitness swimmers.

Innovative research and design is FINIS’ highest priority. This dedication has resulted in truly unique products such as: the Swimmer’s Snorkel, which is recognized as the paramount tool to improve a swimmer’s technique, the SwiMP3 that uses bone conduction technology to transmit music to the inner ear instead of using ear buds, and the Z2 Zoomers fins, which demonstrate an intimate understanding of swimmingmusculature, hydrodynamics, and engineering.

Visit the FINIS Blog at http://www.finisinc.com/blog/

Like FINIS on Facebook

Follow FINIS on Twitter

###

 Media Contacts:

Vicki Taylor

Marketing Communications Manager

FINIS, Inc.

925.290.2646

vtaylor@finisinc.com

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Gold Medalist, Wendy Boglioli and the Swimmer’s Snorkel

I recently had the great pleasure of meeting the crew at the FINIS HQ and testing out their gear. I knew they were innovative, but it didn’t hit me exactly how revolutionary their equipment is until I started using it in my daily pool workouts. When they asked me if I would contribute my thoughts and insight to readers, I jumped at the chance. My only conundrum was deciding which piece to talk about first!

Wendy John TimFortunately, something happened before I put pen to paper (or fingers to keys, in my case). I was watching my 13 year old grandson’s swim practice when I noticed him using the Swimmer’s Snorkel. I had the same snorkel waiting back home for me, yet I hadn’t yet given it a go. I quickly remedied that and instantly the light bulb went off in my head. This is the piece of equipment that is a must for *any* swimmer to instantly boost their pool workouts no matter their age or ability! That might surprise some of the experienced swimmers reading this. In fact, before I incorporated it into my own routine I would never have imagined that I would love it so much! That’s because most of us haven’t leveraged a snorkel to boost our output in the pool before. Our loss… until now. The Swimmer’s Snorkel has earned a permanent spot in my swim bag, and here’s why:

1- Work on the Fundamentals

Snorkel-Zoomers-Lara-Usage-12-LRIt’s no secret- perfecting one’s stroke and placement in the water takes years of practice, coaching and dedication. That said, little is more exacerbating to us technique-junkies than watching someone struggle through a set with poor form knowing that some tweaks here and there would have made for a much more productive workout (and a happier swimmer). As an Olympic swimmer, I’m often asked to help people with their stroke and I see how difficult it is for swimmers (particularly those that aren’t coached or aren’t in the water every day) to pay careful attention to their form when they’re struggling with their breathing. The Swimmer’s Snorkel is one of the fundamental tools that frees you up from improper breathing so that you can concentrate on stroke technique. That’s not to say that the snorkel is only for novice or occasional swimmers. Though experience does have its advantages in the water, it’s easy for any of us to fall back on poor form (especially so when we’re in the midst of a long set in the middle of a busy week). Thanks to streamlining techniques that competitive swimmers utilize today (like barely turning our heads to breathe), the snorkel allows us to work on our placement and rotation effectively while keeping our head low. I’ve also enjoyed the effect it’s had on my arm placement, allowing me to reach out and get a nice pullthrough.

2- Small Pools Never Looked So Good

My busy routine sees me on the road more often than at home some months and that means… (dun, dun, dun dun) hotel pools. Maybe you’re also swimming in little more than glorified (and cold) jacuzzis or unaccommodating pools (kidney bean shape, anyone?). If so, you’ve probably grown accustomed to a stationery hip tether to get those laps in regardless of the shape and size of pool. The downside to tether swimming is that it lays us low so we take in lots of water. At best, this is a nuisance on our digestive system but at worse it can be quite serious if enough water is swallowed. Using my Swimmer’s Snorkel, I no longer have to worry about taking in any unwanted, chlorinated, hotel pool water while tethering… and that’s cause for a minor celebration on my part!

3- Channel Your Inner-Altitude Athlete

Wendy SMThis may sound counter-intuitive, but training with the Swimmer’s Snorkel reminds me of training at altitude- aka hypoxic training. You may have experience with altitude training yourself or you might be familiar with it courtesy of Michael Phelps who notoriously slept in an oxygen chamber that mimicked extreme altitude leading up to the London Games. Good news for all of us going about our routines the old fashioned way: putting on a FINIS snorkel forces you to take in much smaller amounts of air through your mouth, much the same way world-class athletes train at altitude. With my Swimmer’s Snorkel on, I’m always conscious of my breathing but I don’t have to struggle with it.

4- The Beauty is in the Fun

Ever want to know what it would be like gliding (seemingly) effortlessly across the water? Then grab a FINIS snorkel, some paddles and fins and enjoy the feeling of flying through your laps with a grin on your face! Whether you’re just getting into swimming, coming back to it or an old pro, both the Swimmer’s Snorkel and the Freestyle Snorkel will amp up your routine instantly. I feel re-energized in the water and encouraged to perfect my form again even after swimming for fifty-odd years. My stroke, alignment and rotation has not surprisingly visibly improved and I’m getting a better workout than I have in decades… if it can do this to Olympic athletes, you can bet your bottom dollar it can do it for you, too!

Shards of Wisdom

Like most new-to-you products, a snorkel may (or may not) take some getting used to. Though my husband and grandson put the Swimmer’s Snorkel on and zoomed down the water, I experienced a longer period of adjusting to the mouth-only breathing. The remedy? A handy dandy, cheap-to-boot nose clip (you could go for the rubber band style favored by kids at water parks, but FINIS’ discrete clear clip doesn’t require anything other than your nose and works perfectly). Another thing I had to remind myself when getting started with the snorkel is to keep my head straight down, but this is a great reminder for keeping a nice neutral body position. Lastly, for anyone out there doing fast and forceful flip-turns as is my own habit, the FINIS Freestyle Snorkel may offer greater security as it goes behind your head so that you can really drive off the wall without fear of it falling off. When all’s said and done, the Swimmer’s Snorkel is a superb piece of equipment for swimmers of all ages and abilities for so many reasons. By adding fins and paddles throughout your workout, you can really target the areas you need to work on and get a complete, whole-body workout while fine tuning your body positioning. Stay tuned to see which piece of equipment I have a closer look at next. Until then, have fun with the snorkel!

Happy Swimming!

Wendy

 

Wendy Boglioli represented the United States in the 1976 Olympic Games, where she won the only gold medal earned the women’s team that year in the 4 x 100 Freestyle Relay. Wendy now spends her time at speaking events promoting corporate wellness programs, and lately, FINIS products have become a part of her training on the road.

 

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COMMENTS

FINIS Updates Stroke Lab Video Software: New iPhone App, Dual Player Comparison and Lower Pricing

sl3

Livermore, CA (June 25, 2013) FINIS, a world leader in technical swimming products, announces the latest update to their Stroke Lab video software.  Stroke Lab is a web-based training tool used by coaches and teams for video analysis and technique improvement.  When a coach records a video of an athlete swimming, they can quickly and easily upload it to the Stroke Lab website.  Once uploaded, coaches are able to review the video and provide commentary and tips directly on the video playback. These comments can then be watched by the swimmer to help in their swimming development.  Features of the Stroke Lab analysis include recording audio feedback, text comments and sketch tools so coaches can easily convey their critiques.

As part of the updated platform, FINIS has launched a new Stroke Lab iPhone app. The app serves as a portal to record athlete videos and instantly upload them into the Stroke Lab website. The convenience of the app makes it perfect for one-on-one coaching on deck during practice or meets. Not only does the athlete receive instant feedback, the coach is also able to assign the video and save it to the Stroke Lab site for future analysis.  The FINIS Stroke Lab app is currently available on the App Store for free.

sl1Another new update of Stroke Lab is the ability to launch a dual player and critique videos side-by-side. Coaches can play and comment on two different videos at once, making it even easier to compare strokes and show technique improvements. With the dual player, coaches can sync videos of two different swimmers for comparison, or show the same swimmer during two different parts of the year to see if improvements have been made over time.

sl2To promote the new updates, FINIS is extending a free trial of Stroke Lab from now until July 17, 2013. The trial is open to anyone, including any customers that may have already tried the Stroke Lab software before.

After the trial period, users will have the option to purchase Stroke Lab at a new lower subscription price. Coaches and athletes will be able to take advantage of this amazing analysis software for as low as $15 a month.

In addition to the updates, FINIS is partnering with Go Swim to offer Stroke Lab as a special add-on feature within the GoSwimTV.com subscription site.  Go Swim subscribers who take advantage of the Stroke Lab option will be able to use the dual player to compare videos of their athletes with videos of the elite athletes featured on Go Swim.   This feature is expected to be available on Go Swim later this year.  For more information on the GoSwimTV.com and Stroke Lab package, visit FINISinc.com/goswim.

To learn more about Stroke Lab or to start your free 30-day trial, visit FINISinc.com/strokelab.

About FINIS:

Founded in 1993 in Northern California, FINIS was started by John Mix and Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer Pablo Morales. The Monofin and the Swimmer’s Snorkel were the first products they developed for the US market; afterwards, they continued to focus on creating training tools for swimmers and coaches worldwide. FINIS products are currently available in over 65 countries and are used by US and International Olympic teams, elite triathletes, and fitness swimmers.

Innovative research and design is FINIS’ highest priority. This dedication has resulted in truly unique products such as: the Swimmer’s Snorkel, which is recognized as the paramount tool to improve a swimmer’s technique, the Neptune MP3 Player that uses bone conduction technology to play music instead of using ear buds, and the Z2 Zoomers fins, which demonstrate an intimate understanding of swimming musculature, hydrodynamics, and engineering.

Like FINIS on Facebook

Follow FINIS on Twitter

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COMMENTS

SWIMMING WORLD TAKES YOU THROUGH THE MAKING OF THE FINIS MONOFIN

Story from Swimming World:

http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/industry/34793.asp

 

LIVERMORE, California, June 24. RECENTLY, Swimming World’s Tiffany Elias spent the day at FINIS headquarters to get an inside look at how the company manufactures some of the top swimming aides in the world.

In this latest Industry Insider, FINIS CEO and Founder John Mix explains the founding of the company back in 1993 with Olympic gold medalist Pablo Morales. Mix also walks Elias through the process of building one of FINIS’ legendary monofins, using one of FINIS’ first monofin presses.

Mix then sits down with Elias in an in-depth interview. During the conversation, Mix chronicles some of the decisions FINIS has made throughout the past few decades as the FINIS product, brand and focus on developing innovative swimming products has evolved.

monofin make
“The end game is that we want people to swim better, to swim often, and train smarter. That’s our message,” Mix told Swimming World in this sit-down interview.

Stay tuned for even more behind the scenes content from our tour of FINIS HQ.

 

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Dana Greene: 2013 USMS Pan American Masters Championships, Recap

The 2013 USMS Pan American Masters Championships was an amazing experience.  Set in Sarasota, Florida at the YMCA Selby Aquatic Center, swimmers were treated to a perfect competitive experience.  The Sarasota Sharks and the United States Masters Swimming staff did an amazing job at thinking of and organizing every single possible detail – right down to assuring that everyone at the meet was able to understand meet announcements (which were in English and Spanish).  The venue was absolutely amazing: a crystal clear 50 meter temperature controlled competition pool with seemingly brand new starting blocks made for fast races in a perfect environment.  The warm up/ warm down pool was set up as a 25 yard area in which swimmers could spend as much or as little time acclimating to the water temperature (a wonderful and perfect 78 degrees) before a race, and cooling off/ warming down after a race.  There was also an indoor pool at the Senior Center in which swimmers could practice, warm up or warm down in a less crowded environment.  And, as a final “cool” place to hang out (thanks to the air conditioning) for a respite from the Florida heat, the Teen Center provided a nice, cool place for us swimmers to relax, chat, and get ready for our next race.

The meet started off like any other: distance day was first, and Goby and I had the pleasure of counting for several of my friends who asked us for that service.  The beginning of the meet is generally when I introduce Goby to the officials, explain his purpose as a service dog (he sniffs out latex because I have an anaphylactic allergy), and acclimate him to the pool deck.  All of the officials had already been briefed on Goby and his medically necessary presence on deck, and thus they were eager to meet the 6lb Chihuahua who is truly a “wonder dog.”   Goby received a warm welcome from all of the USMS staff, volunteers, and officials, even though employees from the Sarasota Y were reticent to allow him (and thus, me!) on deck (dogs are generally not allowed on pool decks, but service dogs are the exception to that rule…).   I felt genuinely welcome at the meet (despite the Y employees), as I readied myself for competition on the second day of the meet (my 50 free).

Dana Greene and Goby

Dana Greene and Goby

Part of readying myself for competition means not only acclimating myself to the pool temperature and getting Goby accustomed to the surroundings in which he was to be working (he sits in his blue kennel with my cell phone and two Epipens), but also making certain that I had the gear necessary to swim as hard and fast as possible (given that I am a sprinter).  Given that my luggage had been lost by Delta Airlines, I went into the vendor tent and went to the only booth that was operating at full tilt (everyone else was readying themselves for sales during the second day of competition): the FINIS booth (YAY for my sponsor!)!  I bought a new pair of goggles, a fun and crazy animal cap, and a new USMS practice suit.  Double YAY!  I hit the water and swam 3000 yards in the dive well/ warm up/ warm down pool and was immediately in love with the water temperature, the pool (so clean and beautiful!), and the opportunity to SWIM OUTDOORS!  Coming from North Carolina where the pools in which my team (Raleigh Area Masters) practice are all indoors, it was a joy to see birds, clouds, and blue sky when swimming.  I love swimming outdoors and take advantage of every opportunity to do so…

 

Day 2 of the Pan American Championships was marred by Tropical Storm Andrea, which approached Sarasota as a surprise out of the Gulf of Mexico.  As a result of thunder and lightening, tornado watches and then warnings, and torrential rains and winds, the lightening alarms went off, and the pool deck was cleared.  Initially, there were hundreds of people in each of the two locker rooms, until folks decided that the storm made for the perfect opportunity to socialize and shop in the vendor tent.  As Goby and I ventured in there, I saw that the FINIS vendor was hopping!  Everyone was milling around trying the Neptune audio player, looking at the SwimSense watches, picking up free latex caps (Goby kept me far away from those!), and trying on new FINIS Hydrospeed Velo performance suits.  I approached the FINIS rep from California to ask if I could help, but it seemed that the Team Wares representative and she had everything under control.  So, I wandered.  There was a lot of looking at swim caps and equipment, but I noticed that people were primarily purchasing goods from FINIS.  I learned afterwards that a second urgent order for more goods had to be placed so that there would be FINIS suits and equipment available for purchase during the remaining seven (7) days of the meet.   If that’s not testimony itself about the quality of FINIS products, I don’t know what is!

Competition on the second day was delayed from 10 AM until 1:30 PM because of the tropical storm and a tornado warning (meaning that a tornado had been spotted in the area).  Because of this, many of us who had already warmed up for the 50 free began to get a bit antsy.., especially because we were getting stiff….  Thankfully, the officials permitted us 30 minutes of warm-up in the competition pool so that we could ready ourselves for racing a second time.  Racing began, and the thrill of competition was in the air…  despite the reality that we were swimming AGAINST 40 MPH tropical storm winds!  Every single person in my heat was disappointed in our performance, but given the conditions under which we were competing, we had to “let it go,” and move forward with our next events.  Despite the winds, I loved being in the water and competing…  and that made it worthwhile!

Throughout the meet, Goby and I maintained a constant presence on deck.  I wore my FINIS t-shirt every day, under which was either my FINIS USMS practice suit (that I loved – more on that later) or my FINIS Hydrospeed Velo Race John.  My times weren’t as strong as I would have liked, mostly because there hadn’t been any long course pools in NC in which I could practice prior to going to Pan Ams, so that was a bit disappointing…. But I loved the experience of swimming in my second ever international meet, and of swimming the 50-meter butterfly for the first time ever!  Talk about a THRILL!

Let me spend a bit of time on the 50-meter butterfly for a moment, before returning to more details about the meet.  Prior to Pan Ams, I spent a lot of time reading about appropriate butterfly technique and practicing with my FINIS monofin.  The monofins helped me tremendously with mastering the undulating motion associated with the butterfly, and I found that after practicing 1500 yards with just the butterfly kick (with my arms extended underwater) really made a huge difference in my technique.  I am thrilled with how my butterfly is progressing, and am especially excited about the fact that I actually LOVE swimming butterfly now (it used to scare me!).  In practice on my own, I also used my Agility Paddles to get my arms into the appropriate rhythm for the butterfly pull.  Once I put the Paddles and Monofin together in practice, I felt a strength in the butterfly that I have never felt before.  It was amazing, and I was excited to swim this stroke in competition at the Pan Am meet.

On butterfly day (the third day of competition for me), I was nervous and literally had “butterflies” in my stomach.  I had never swum the stroke in competition before, and wow…  I was excited and all fluttery before my race.  I made the decision to go slowly but methodically (so that I wouldn’t get disqualified!), as any time that I registered would be a lifetime best in the butterfly.  One of the officials (who was a huge fan of Goby) encouraged me, telling me to go long, stretch out my underwater butterfly kicks, and to have fun… and I did all of that and had the time of my life!  At the end of my race, the official told me that my form was perfect, and now I should work on speed.  PERFECT?!  I was thrilled and excited!  Who would have ever thought that my first try at competing in the butterfly would go so well?  Amazing!   I credit my training equipment, and look forward to working on speed now that I have the technique down.  This also means that I am officially retiring from swimming the one stroke that I just dislike swimming: breaststroke!  My plan is sprint in the freestyle and butterfly events at as many swim meets as possible.  To that end, I am looking forward to the 2013 Powerade North Carolina State Games next weekend, at which I will be swimming the 50, 100, and 200-meter freestyle and the 100 meter butterfly.  I am registered to swim the 100 and 200-meter breaststroke, so I will likely swim those two events as my “farewell tour of the breaststroke.”

But, I digress.  The 2013 USMS Pan American Masters Championships were tons of fun, and I got to witness, first-hand, how popular the FINIS brand really is among both US citizens and international swimmers.  I saw this initially in the Vendor Tent when I saw the FINIS products literally flying off of the racks…, but I got to FEEL the popularity first-hand on the last day of competition.  What happened?  I was wearing my black FINIS t-shirt and was walking over by the water coolers and Pan Am Sam (see below) when a swimmer from the Colombian team approached me.  While I speak five languages, Spanish is not one of them, unfortunately, and thus I didn’t understand what this swimmer was asking me.  Before I knew what was happening, the Colombian swimmer was taking my FINIS t-shirt off of my body and handed me a Colombian National Team t-shirt before running off to rejoin his team members.  I was laughing so hard, and was so thankful that I was wearing a colorful running bra under my shirt…  as the last thing that I needed was to be found in violation of the USMS modesty rule!  I realized that the Colombian swimmer wanted to trade shirts halfway through the “transaction,” but I continue to laugh at both my own naïveté during the incident and at the fact that I literally “had my FINIS shirt taken right off my back!”

Yes, FINIS products are POPULAR!  I got a cool shirt out of the deal, but I really wasn’t planning on stripping on deck or giving away my FINIS t-shirt…  but what does one do when someone starts taking your shirt off and is handing you another shirt in return?  I was laughing so hard… and so thrilled to represent FINIS in this way.  Somewhere in Colombia, a swimmer is proudly wearing my FINIS t-shirt!  Too funny!

Dana USMS Pan Ams '13Because it was really hot on the final day of competition, I was concerned about keeping Goby out in the 90 degree heat (with really intense humidity), and thus I went back to where my belongings were to pack up and head for air conditioning.  At that point, I noticed that my swim bag was open, and sitting on top of it was a bright blue Mexican sombrero.  OK…  that was odd.  I left my bag closed…  but I thought someone had mistakenly opened my FINIS backpack and had forgotten to close it back up.  As I started organizing my things, I noticed that my FINIS USMS practice suit was missing from my bag!  Initially, I was wondering who would steal someone else’s used swim suit, but then I realized that not only was the suit a FINIS product (which is highly coveted in the international community, apparently), but it also said United States Masters Swimming on it.  Apparently, I was the recipient of another trade, also unbeknownst to me!  I was laughing hysterically at this one…  and knew that one of the first things that I would do when I returned home would be to contact FINIS to see about getting a new FINIS USMS suit.  I really hope one is available, as I loved my suit and enjoyed representing FINIS in the practice suit!  I know have a beautiful blue sombrero that I would gladly trade for a new FINIS USMS suit in my size!

I was thrilled to be a FINIS Ambassador at the 2013 USMS Pan American Masters Championships in Sarasota, Florida, and to see, first-hand, how popular and in demand FINIS products are!  I know that there aren’t any other brands that I want to wear for competition and practice, or any other brands of equipment with which I want to train.  I have noted, in previous blog entries, that “my dog did it,” and that statement still rings true.  Goby led me to FINIS, as the one company whose products are safe for me to use.  I am in love with FINIS, and look forward to continuing to promote the brand, and to train and race (and continue to improve my times!) wearing only FINIS products!

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FINIS Installs Endless Pool® Elite at HQ for New Product Testing and Video Analysis

Livermore, CA — FINIS, a world leader in technical swimming products that maximize fitness potential and technique, announces the addition of an Endless Pool Elite onsite at the FINIS office in California. For over 25 years, Endless Pools has been engineering pools for stationary swimming against a smooth current. Having sold more than 20,000 pools in 80 countries, Endless Pools appeal to people of all ages and athletic abilities, and are used for swimming, exercise, therapy and fun.

endless pooThe Endless Pool Elite is used by premier collegiate programs around the country, such as Auburn and Louisville, as well as Olympians around the world for stroke analysis and technique refinement. Using a 7.5 horsepower motor, the Elite Model produces the most powerful swim current on the market. At its top speed, swimmers can swim faster than 51 seconds per 100 yards pace. The adjustable motor can also be set to slower speeds, making it great for drills, technique work and long, steady swimming. The Endless Pool Elite will be primarily used for FINIS product development testing, technique analysis with streaming video, general swim instruction, and fitness training.

FINIS set up the Endless Pool in the Product Development section of their warehouse – an area now aptly coined the “FINIS Stroke Lab.” In addition to the mirrors that are already included with the Elite, FINIS has extended their Swim Mirrors above and inside the pool to allow for instant visual feedback. Track lights have been mounted around the pool and waterproof LED’s placed under the water for optimal lighting. For video capabilities, FINIS has placed five GoPro Hero3 cameras around and inside the pool to capture high definition footage above and below the surface. The GoPro’s link wirelessly to a local computer, which then transmits the video angles to a flat screen TV mounted on the wall. Because it is a live feed into a computer, the captured video can also be streamed online for interactive coaching sessions. Ultimately some pool sessions will even run through the FINIS Stroke Lab video analysis software and be available for public viewing.

“As a technical swimming company, it seems only natural to have a pool,” said Mark Stephens, VP of Product Development and Marketing. “With this new laboratory, we can better test the hydrodynamic properties of our technical equipment and swimwear. Using instant video feedback with the GoPros, we are able to get slow motion, high-definition footage of how the swimmer and product interact. The controlled environment the Endless Pool creates lets us better understand body mechanics, drag, and water flow.”

One of the perks of having the Endless Pool Elite onsite has been an increase in excitement of FINIS employees wanting to get in and swim. With the pool just 20 feet away from their desk, it is quite convenient to get in a swim during the lunch break.

The Endless Pool Elite will also be used for Marketing photo-shoots, and athlete demos. FINIS even plans to run swim lessons in the pool, with the goal of helping swimmers of all ability levels.

“We are excited to play a role in the development and testing of FINIS products,” said Endless Pools Marketing Manager Mark Langan. “It’s a partnership that makes sense as we already use several FINIS products in our corporate facility, as well as highly recommend them to customers. We look forward to watching the development of their new Endless Pool laboratory.”

For more information about FINIS, visit FINISinc.com

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