1/1/09 - 2/1/09

Be a Safer Swimmer - 360swim SaferSwimmer

Jan 18, 2009

Wetronome - The Metronome for Swimmers

A while back, I wrote a short post about one piece of equipment which I feel can make a difference. This little secret is called the Wetronome. Since the first post about the Nome, as the founders call it, I was able to obtain one sample from a new batch that just hit the market. So, obviously, the swimming enthusiast I am, I had to try it out right away.

For those of you that are not familiar with the usage of the Wetronome, here is a short introduction. As the name suggest, its sort of a metronome, but in a waterproof casing. It gives out beeping signal in pre-set intervals which help you maintain a particular swim pace and work on your stroke rate. The intervals of the beeps can be set with a small magnetic wand which is included in the package and the set up is far from being difficult. It is so easy, even a small child can do this. You can use the wetronome for every stroke, not just freestyle, so as you see it is very customizable and universal.

Let's start with the basics. When you first get the wetronome, the first thing you should do is probably figure out where you want to wear it on your body, so the beeps are easily heard and it is also out of the way of your arms when they move pass your head. The wetronome's website suggests to put it under the goggle strap or under one of the sides of your swim cap. After using the device for a bit, it became apparent that these two spots will not work for me, because I'd hit them with my arms when going by my head, so after a few trial spots, I figured out that if I have it a bit further behind my ear, almost close to the middle of the back of my head, I could hear the beeps well and I was free to stroke without obstacles. (obviously, this is a preference).

Secondly, you will want to set the desired beep interval. This is highly individual and is based on what is your desired effect. There is no need to go into detail here, but the nicely formed website at SwimSmooth.com will help you decide that that should be. Setting the interval is as easy as scratching your head. You simply take the wand and tap it in a particular spot on the nome and after a few beeps and taps you are set and can go on with your practice. At first, I would take the nome out of my cap everytime, I wanted to reset it, but after while it became apparent that this is not the way to go, so I tried setting my intervals with the magnetic wand through my swim cap and it worked very well. So, once you place the wetronome in your desired position, there is no reason to take it out to reset it.

Now that you have done these two things, you are set to go and practice :). At first, I was a bit nervous that I might annoy the fellow swimmers with the constant beeping, but the beeps are actually not that loud, so unless they are right next to you, they will not be affected.

If you think, this is useless. Think again. The Wetronome, has actually many more uses than just helping you with your swim pace. I found it very helpful in unwinding after work. Sometimes, you just want to go and jump in the pool and just stroke away without stopping. This little tool, really keeps you going. It's almost like if you would go do bike spinning to a good music. Another purpose for the wetronome, could be something I call the "Association Swimming". This technique is composed of choosing some part of the stroke you want to work on and a cue that helps you remember to work on that part of the stroke. Let's say, u want to work on a nice catch. Normally, you'd have to constantly remind yourself of having a good catch, but with Wetronome, there are the beeps that help you out. Each time you hear the beep, you focus on good catch, beep-good catch, beep-good catch. Whether you want to practice nice high elbow, finger entry or the end of your stroke, this could gradually help you with all. This way, you cannot forget to do the right thing each time, so your strok will improve gradually. This could work even on a bigger scale for your entire team. If you'd have a device that you put underwater and set it to beep at certain intervals and then you tell your team, "if you hear a beep, I want you to make sure your head is nice and low in the water etc. etc.".

I am sure you can think of more ways to enjoy this product. If you liked what you just read (even if you didn't:)) and you'd like to learn more about the Wetronome, please visit the wetronome product page, where is a great video about its usage.

Be seen, keep your stuff dry and take a break when needed.

Jan 1, 2009

Top 10 Things to Consider When Buying Swimming Goggles

Swimmers usually use three pieces of equipment: swim suit, swim cap and swim goggles. So what is it that you need to know or explore when buying swim goggles? Here are the top things to look for or think about.

1.) What are you going to use them for? Open water swimming (triathlons), indoor or outdoor pool swimming. Depending on what it is, you need a different shade of the lense color. Indoor, you might not want to get very dark goggles unless there is a lot of lighting. The opposite would work on outdoors, here you might want to protect your eyes from the sun and choose darker with UV protection.

2.) Size of the lenses. Usually, the smaller the better as you have less resistance in the water, however, they also have to be comfortable, so don't get too hung up on this. If small goggles scare you or you want a larger than normal angle of visibility, just get the ones that look like they are for scuba diving. If you ask me, this is quite weird to swim in and most folks will probably look at you weird, but if they work well for you, just get them.

3.) Do they have rubber, silicone, foam or plastic rings which are the pieces that actually touch your skin around the eyes. Usually, rubber or plastic is the best as you can create suction on your eyes and no water will get in. These days, silicone is very popular, but they are a bit more expensive. However, foam might also work for you if you are not allergic, but be careful, as foam might start deteriorating soon.

4.) How do they sit on your eyes? Are they too big or too small? Do your eye lashes touch the goggles when you blink? This could be quite annoying.

5.) How do they sit on your nose? Does it hurt your nose or you cannot even feel them on your nose. Good goggles should be snug on your nose, but not hurt it. Make sure it is possible to adjust the nose piece. If it is not possible, do not buy.

6.) What kind of a strap do they have? Is it adjustable to fit my head? Usually, the straps are ok and can be adjusted just fine.

7.) This is probably not that important for most people with very cheap contact lenses out there, but there are also goggles with prescription. So, if you cannot see the swim clock or worse, the wall, and you don't wear contact lenses, you can totally get yourself some goggles with prescription made just for you and swimming does not have to be off limits for you.

8.) Do they fog when you have them on for a bit? This is tougher to try in the store, but sometimes, the really bad goggles will start fogging after few seconds. If you buy goggles and they start fogging on you, spit into them or lick them with your tongue inside before putting on your eyes. Yes, you read it right, spit or lick will do the trick. Don't be afraid. :). Learn more about how to prevent foggy goggles.

9.) Never buy goggles in sealed cases. You do need to put them on your eyes in order to see whether they will fit.

10.) Obviously, one of the last things to consider is the price. The range is just amazing. You can buy great Swedish goggles for as little as $4.99 and they work wonderfully to overpriced goggles for $30-40. There are probably even more expensive ones out there, but unless they are made out of gold, it is plain dumb to buy them.

Good luck. Hope this was helpful.
Learning to swim is priceless and SwimSmooth Learn to Swim DVD is a great start