Tri Talk Tuesday: Swimming Tools, Gadgets (& Random Tips)

It’s Tuesday again (where is the time going?!) and I’m back for another Tri Talk Tuesday, linking up with CourtneyMiranda, and Cynthia! Oh and I cannot believe it’s July… seriously… that’s just plain crazy.


Today’s topic is:  Swimming Tools and Gadgets.

photo 3 (20)

For today’s post, I’m focusing on both open water and pool swimming essentials.

Before this year, I was not using many tools.  With the Ironman on the horizon, I now rely on pieces of equipment to make me not only a stronger, more efficient swimmer.. but a faster swimmer!  I will also list things here that are VERY useful, but aren’t tangible things that you can buy…

1. Join a Masters Swim Team.  Honestly, joining a Master’s team 4+ years ago was the best decision I ever made.   I had never swam on a swim team and it was SUPER intimidating at first.  ‘I don’t know how to do flip turns‘, I thought.  I was worried I wouldn’t be fast enough to keep up either.  Swimming with my teamates has made me a faster swimmer and I’ve made friends in the process. It’s been amazing to see my progress at practice over the years.  You can find a local Master’s team here.


2. TRX strength work- upper body exercises.  Since starting Ironman training, I have been doing TRX strength work.  My coach has me doing exercises such as: Standing Y (deltoids), Back Extensions, Single Arm Rows, Atomic Push-ups (killer!).. etc.. A bonus is, a lot of these exercises on the TRX incorporate your core muscles!  I do the exercises twice a week.  The best thing is, you can take your TRX anywhere with you…


3. Watch videos on technique, like Swim Smooth.  I have an issue with ‘over gliding’ and these videos help me to visualize what I need to change to have a more efficient stroke! You can subscribe to their mailing list and get videos for free.


4. Aquasphere Kaiman goggles.. the only goggles that stay on my face and don’t hurt.  They also never fog or fill up with water… not kidding.  I get the ones for ‘small faces’ because my head is child’s size haha.

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5. Own two swim suits (or more).  I use one-pieces for pool swimming and two-piece suits for open water swimming.  Having the two piece in open water, makes changing on the beach a WHOLE lot easier post swim.. and you are less likely to flash someone. I just bought a new one from TYR, which I love!

TYR Women's Camo Star Workout 2-Piece Swimsuit - Dick's Sporting Goods

6. Mesh swim bag. This bag from swimoutlet.com  is less then $8 (on sale now!) and can hold your swim essentials.  It’s roomy and is mesh, so it airs things out.. no sense in having your wet gear in a closed off bag… yuck.

7. Tools for the pool: Swim buoy, kickboard, fins, paddles AND the dreaded ankle band!  The ankle band was introduced to me by my tri coach.  Talk about a challenge… it’s way harder than an pull buoy, you feel like your legs are sinking, but it helps you to use your core and propel forward.  I’m winded after 25 yds of ankle band swimming. You literally bind your ankles with a band and try to swim, good times. Also, I’ve been loving fins lately, to work on using my hips/glutes more when I kick!

7. Tip: Wet your hair with fresh water BEFORE you get in the pool.  I used to just jump in the pool with dry hair, but little did I know, it was ruining my hair.  Now I jump in the shower before practice and let me hair soak up the fresh water before getting in the chlorine.  It makes a world of difference for your hair post swim… try it out:)

8. Tri Swim Lotion for after the pool.  I love the lotion espeicially since reduces the chlorine stench post pool session.  It’s also paraben free and has no animal testing! I really notice a difference when I slather this stuff on after the pool.


There you have it… what are your favorite swim tools?  What helps you get stronger in the water?

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  • Reply Kecia July 1, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    I am so envious that you have a Masters Swim Team!! While we have a great outdoor pool, we don’t have a Masters Swim program around us 🙁 I will have to try the ankle band…I hadn’t heard of that, so thanks for the tip Kristin!!

    • Reply Kristin July 8, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      That’s too bad you don’t have a Master’s team near you… perhaps one will start up! The ankle band is killer, you have to try it!

  • Reply CK July 2, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    In almost 15 years of swimming, I’ve never seen the ankle band before! Can’t wait to try it out. Looks very hard.

    • Reply Kristin July 8, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      Yes you must try it! When I use the ankle band, I only do sets of 25’s and 50’s… hard to do much further with that thing on!

  • Reply Kristen @ Glitter and Dust July 2, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Great tips, Kristin. I had no idea that getting your hair wet before you swim helps keep it healthy. That is one of the things I dislike most about swimming at the pool is the chlorine and the damage it can do to hair. Do you use a post swim shampoo/condition specifically for chlorine? Because the swim is the thing I need to work on the most, I should probably strength train more and do more “drills” even though I get bored. If I put in the time, like you, it sounds like it would pay off. The ankle band just scares me. It will be a LONG time before I can try anything like that!

    • Reply Kristin July 8, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      Yes getting your hair wet makes a big difference… especially for us blondes!! I don’t use a chlorine shampoo.. .just a moisturizing shampoo. I know that TriSwim brand makes a good one though, I would start there. Honestly, the drills make all of the difference. They can be boring at times, but the work will pay off!

  • Reply erin July 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I keep saying I should join a masters team, but just haven’t pulled the trigger yet. I also have to order TRX so I can train at home! Band swimming = hardest thing ever! I almost drown the first time I tried it 😉 Great tips! Happy Fourth!

    • Reply Kristin July 8, 2014 at 1:52 am

      Masters swimming is awesome! And yes ban swimming= torture…. So hard! Hope you had a great fourth!

  • Reply Leslie @ Triathlete Treats July 5, 2014 at 3:32 am

    I love my Masters team. What a difference it has made in my swimming! I am definitely stronger and faster because of it! My old Masters coach used to make us use the band. I actually liked using it. It is hard work but it makes you focus on your core! 🙂 I used to love the buoy but I don’t like to flip turn with it so I would rather not use it! BUT I am not s stronger kicker so I pull really fast. I think that is why I am good in the open water. 🙂

    • Reply Kristin July 8, 2014 at 9:37 pm

      I’m so glad you do master’s too, isn’t it awesome?! I am also faster and stronger because of being on the team. it really helps me to swim with faster swimmers, it always pushes me to be better:) The band will definitely make you focus on your core, I think that’s another reason why I love it so much. I also don’t do flip turns… they scare me!

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