When it comes to mastering new swim strokes, there are a lot of elements at play. By using training equipment like swim fins and snorkels, you can hone in on specific areas of your technique. Division I swimming and diving coach Marc Christian shares his tips on how to use these training aids.
WHAT ARE SWIM FINS?
Swim fins, or flippers, are a rubber or plastic attachments that you can put over your feet to help you move more efficiently through the water. They increase the surface area and flexibility of each foot, which can lead to a more efficient kick through increased propulsion and speed.
“Swimming with fins is great for strength training because they force your legs to work harder,” Christian says.
In addition to strength training, swim fins can help your technique because of the increased buoyancy they provide. The buoyancy will help encourage you to keep your body high in the water.
HOW TO USE SWIM FINS
There are a number of different drills you can use that incorporate swim fins. Two that Christian likes are the Body Position Kick Drill and the Vertical Kick Streamline.
In the Body Position Kick Drill, you’ll push off the wall in a streamline position and separate your hands in front of you. Your fins will allow you to have a nice, long body position while staying on top of the water. You’ll then use the fins to allow yourself to kick from one end of the pool to the other while staying flat.
The Vertical Kick Streamline can help train your leg strength. To begin this simple drill, find a deep area of the pool and get in a streamline position. From there, kick in a vertical manner for as long as possible. You can challenge yourself to increase your time.
WHAT ARE SWIM SNORKELS?
Swim snorkels are placed over your face and consist of an L- or J-shaped tube that remains above water and connects to a mouthpiece. Some snorkels come with an attachment that allows you to affix your snorkel to your cap.
“Snorkels allow you to breathe in without turning your head, so you can focus on balancing your stroke and maintaining proper body alignment,” Christian says.
HOW TO USE A SWIM SNORKEL
One drill you can try with a swim snorkel is the Head Position Drill. In this drill, you’ll push off the wall and try different positions with your head. See if you can tuck your head into your chest or lift your head up far. The goal is to find the most comfortable neutral head position. Using the snorkel will help allow you to keep breathing throughout.
For information on training aids that can help you increase your upper- and lower-body strength, check out our Pro Tips guide on kickboards and pool buoys.