Finis Swimmer’s Snorkel – A Training Aid We Do Recommend
Not put off by Finis’s motto under the logo on the packaging, ‘Swim Hard’, Ian has tested the snorkel.
“ Continue to think of the stroke as a whole – with the head releasing into the water, the breath flowing and the spine lengthening.”
The Blurb from Finis:
- Breathing through a snorkel while swimming increases lung capacity – the capacity of the lungs to expel air which is required for optimal intake of oxygen
- Allows for a natural and proper body position in the water
- Improves body balance
- Allows you to practise proper stroke technique by eliminating the breathing cycle rotation
- Eliminates strain on neck, back and shoulders
- Worn over the centre of the face
- Designed for use with conventional swim goggles
“The Swimmer’s Snorkel is a revolutionary product that all swimmers canuse to improve their technique” Pablo Morales, Three Time Olympic gold Medallist
“The Swimmer’s Snorkel allows the swimmer to isolate and concentrate on body balance, rotation and alignment by eliminating the complicated breathing motion.” Richards WQuick, Head Coach, USA Women’s Olympic Swim Team
As an Alexander Technique teacher, it would be easy for me to argue against any of the benefits of a swimming snorkel claimed by Finis. But I’m certainly glad I gave it a go. I’ve been using it for about 300 or 400 metres during each training session (about 25% of distance covered) and find that it really does something for my stroke. It causes me to feel, particularly after I’ve taken it off, that I’m getting hold of the water better than ever before though I can’t quite work out why.
Trusting the process of breathing through a tube takes a bit of getting used to (when swimming with fish on holiday I prefer not to bother) and it wasn’t until the second time of using that I managed to stop holding my breath! But I’m definitely a fan. In the same way that sparing use of training fins makes your kick more effective by educating the legs and feet, using the snorkel seems to improve my stroke and makes me feel, fleetingly, like Michael Phelps (so long as I don’t look at the clock)!
About breathing and rhythm
I find it helpful to regulate snorkel-breathing by exhaling through the mouth on one glide (as one arm enters the water and travels forward) and inhaling on the other. It is enjoyable just to allow yourself to switch from left to right like a pendulum with your neck relaxed and head and spine still, at the centre of it all.
When you take the snorkel off, can you keep a similar rhythm or does the need to rotate into the breathing position change the rhythm of your stroke? I find that my old pattern when breathing bilaterally is to think something like ‘one, two, breathe left, one, two, breathe right…’, which means I’m breaking the flow of the stroke in order to inhale, whereas the challenge is for the breathing stroke to be just another stroke with no interruption of forward direction. After using the snorkel, I remind myself to think ‘left,right, left, right…’ or ‘one, two, one two…’ so that breathing bilaterally doesn’t cause me to interrupt the flow of the stroke; the simple, brain-satisfying pleasure of switching from oneside to the other, left to right.
So to sum up my experience and advice:
Don’t think of using the snorkel as an opportunity to forget about the breathing, while you focus on the rest of the stroke.
Continue to think of the stroke as a whole – with the head releasing into the water, the breath flowing and the spine lengthening as the base from where the movement comes.