9/1/13 - 10/1/13

Be a Safer Swimmer - 360swim SaferSwimmer

Sep 26, 2013

Aquaviz Review: The Swiss Army Knife Among Swimming Prescription Masks

Swimator BlogSeptember 26, 2013
Final rating: 5/5

I’ve grown up as a full blown chlorinated pool swimmer with lifelong search for the perfect fitting goggles. I swear, I must have tried like 50 different types and always found them inadequate, either they leaked or the suction was too much on the eyes until I found the holy grail, Swedish goggles. Ever since then, for the last 20 years, I’ve been an advocate for these tiny egg shell like contraptions, even in the outdoors during my open water swimming sessions. They are the perfect invention, simple, affordable and they work. However, there is one problem, I need glasses to see well. In the pool it has worked perfectly fine, but outside in the wild it can get a bit tough without a 20/20 vision. And this brings me to my new gadget, the Aquaviz mask with prescription.
Aquaviz prescription mask
Me, SaferSwimmer float, and Aquaviz

This is awesome, I can finally see the beautiful scenery around me when I swim in the Finnish lakes and seas. That was my immediate reaction when I first put on my new prescription goggles from Aquaviz. I no longer need to consider wearing contact lenses and do not have to expose my eyes to potential bacterial infection from the sometimes quite murky waters. I know this sounds like a really corny advertising text, but it is totally true. Let me tell you a bit about this new goggle gadget of mine.

What makes the Aquaviz mask so special?

The outside looks no different than any other ordinary swimming mask, but the secret lies within. Instead of having a prescription glass be part of the goggles, the Aquaviz has it separated and changeable. Inside the mask there is a removable glass layer which can be attached to the inner part of the goggles. Just snap it in at the nose bridge of the mask and voila, you now have full blown prescription goggles. This opens up quite a lot of versatility to yours and your family’s swimming endeavours. Everyone can now use the exact same mask with their own prescription attachment or without. Of course, if you go for a swim together, then you will all have to have your own mask with your own prescription piece. :)

As I mentioned earlier, I am an avid supporter of the minimalist Swedish goggle design, so you can imagine that when I first put on my new Aquaviz mask with its scuba diving mask contour, I had a quite a strange feeling. It felt like I had an alpine ski mask strapped to my face since the goggle profile is so much larger than the one of Swedish goggles. After a few swims it still feels a bit awkward at the start, but shortly into the swim, I don’t even notice it any more. Different types of swim masks are now widely popular among open water swimmers and triathletes, so if you are used to a mask already you probably won’t feel any different. Even if you do have doubts about masks like me, don’t worry, after a while you get used to it and the ability to see clearly just trumps it all anyway :).

Adjustable strap around the head
Easy to adjust strap

The mask details

As you probably already know, selecting the appropriate goggles/mask for your swimming life is not always easy, but Aquaviz makes the choice quite simple. There are varieties of color types available. Mine is a black prototype, but I’d have to recommend you stick with a clear mask type rather than a black one. With a non-seethrough sides your field of vision to the sides, top and bottom is quite limited and when you for example swim on your back, you will really have to tilt your head to your chest to see who swims in your draft wake. With a transparent material, it is much easier to see around you.

The strap is very easy to put on and has a split at the back for better hold on your head. The strap is also adjustable from sides with just a push of a small button, so quite simple for anybody to master. Yet another reason, I like it. The rubber is quite comfortable on the skin on my face, so even after swimming for a few hours, the goggle ring imprint around my eyes is barely noticeable. I can still come home without scaring my daughter that a bug-eyed monster has emerged from the depths of the deep dark waters. Even though that is always fun to do.:)

How about lenses fogging up?

Well, as with any goggle type there is always a risk of goggles being fogged up inside, however, the newest Aquaviz masks have some sort of a thin layer added to the mask inner glass which keeps the fogging to minimum. This anti-fog layer should not be rubbed away, so you need to be very careful about touching the inside glass of your mask. I made a test and rubbed the anti-fog layer off (with very hard rubbing I might add), but the goggles still stay fairly fog free. Even on the worst day, I only get it fogged up around the edges, but not in the middle. You can always ask the guys at Aquaviz to send you a fog free wax that they send with their older mask versions.

Removable lenses
Detachable lenses

Is Aquaviz only for swimming?

To my amazement, the prescription is much more versatile than that of regular swimming masks. The inner prescription piece does not have to be used only in a swimming mask, but also during your scuba diving and it can even be fitted inside a ski mask. The provides both scuba and ski masks into which you can just simply snap your prescription lenses and you are ready to embark on an unbelievable discovery of the tranquil depths of our earth’s waters or have an exactly the same experience as you'd with your GoPro camera whizzing down the piste. I am an avid scuba diver, skier as well as a swimmer, so it is definitely a plus a huge money saver to not have to purchase specially made prescription masks for each of the sports that I love to do every year. I love simple as you can see from my devotion to Swedish goggles and Aquaviz IS simple :).

How does Aquaviz know my prescription?

At the order time, you will have to fill out a very simple form which will have information from your optometrist, so go get your eyes checked or dust off that old prescription from your last visit. At the least, you will need your dioptre measurements for both eyes and your pupil distance number. There is also a possibility to get bifocal or varifocal lenses, so basically the inner lenses of the mask are just like regular glasses which makes it also much more useful.

Summary: Pros and Cons

There you have it, my new Aquaviz. I'd just summarize it like this: simple, versatile and effective. Just a few weekends ago, I went for a 4km swim around Seurasaari island in Helsinki. I have never done it before, so did not know what to expect, however, I was definitely glad I brought my new mask. Besides having an enjoyable swim, which was much warmer this time of the year here in Finland than expected, I was just amazed how splendid the surroundings were. So thank you Aquaviz for making me enjoy swimming in a fully new stunning dimension. I definitely now "see the world the way it should be" :).

  • interchangeable prescription
  • easy to clean prescription lenses
  • comfortable on face
  • good price considering that there is a prescription inside - starting from 80 USD (60 EUR) - more info US, Europe, UK, Australia
  • higher profile on face (not larger than normal mask, but I'd like to see this reduced as much as possible)
Final rating: 5/5

Clear vision once more
The vision is perfect

Easy to remove lenses
Just like your regular glasses

All the benefits of normal glasses
Snap me in or pop me out

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

Sep 11, 2013

Warm down your way to recovery

Last time I talked about learning to swim slow to improve your swim technique, but how about swimming slow during warm down for recovery (also referred to as cool down). When I compose swim workouts where we swim faster sets which is almost all the time, there is a choice to add a lot of rest to allow for the body to recover or better yet to add some easy swimming to allow for recovery. This is however, where the problem usually arises. Many swimmers, especially masters swimmers do not have the right mind set for these easy recovery swims. One group of swimmers, just don’t get it and no matter what the coach says, they still race up and down the pool like Speedy Gonzalez during the easy swims, another group does not know how to slow down, and some just don’t know because nobody ever properly explained it to them.
Warming down is a skill

So, let me set the record straight on warm down or recovery swims. They are in your swim workouts for a reason. One way to think about them is in terms of napping during the day to gain strength for the next adventure that is going to come in your busy life. Slowing down and relaxing during the cool down swimming is like the mini power nap that we all crave right after tasteful lunch and it is the key to better performance on the harder swim sets. You should not be trying to race the person next to you or catch up with the rest of the group who is 100 meters/yards ahead of you in the practice, you should mainly be concentrating on getting your heart rate down and recover.

Many times, there are recovery swims in between swim sets, but they are also used very often inside them. For example, you can have a sprint set of 4x50 meters/yards with 1 minute rest swam in a way that you sprint first 20 meters/yards from a dive and the rest 30 meters/yards is an easy recovery swim. During the easy swimming, you should loosen up, think about how the fast swim went and what you could improve on the next one.
Take it easy, but don't let your technique suffer

You might have just noticed that I mentioned something else than just recovery, there is also a secondary, not so often talked about, aspect of easy swimming. It is the time to gain composure, check your stroke, see that you are doing the right things and perhaps even play around with your stroke to try new techniques (ex: straight arm recovery on freestyle or backwards swimming). After all, you swim slowly, so take advantage of the slowness to improve something :).

Now, if you have a friend or a training partner on your swim team who is guilty of dismissing the idea of easy swimming, share this post with them to help them understand that they are really only hurting their swim performance.

Learning to swim is priceless and SwimSmooth Learn to Swim DVD is a great start