As the ocean and lake temperatures drop through the winter months, triathletes and open water swimmers can focus on improving their stroke techniques and knowledge of open water swimming. Here are some products and services that make cool holiday gifts for athletes who want to improve their open-water swimming performance.
This waterproof, compact device attaches to swim caps and goggles and emits an audible beep. The sound enables swimmers to maintain their desired stroke rate, which is especially important during open water workouts. The beeps help develop consistency and awareness of the stroke-per-minute pace. Find the Tempo Trainer ($39.95) at finisinc.com.
Snorkels enable swimmers to breathe easily without having to turn their heads. This allows them to focus on stroke technique, hand pathway and body position. An invaluable tool for improvement, the swimmer's snorkel fits comfortably with goggles and swim cap, and is a great addition to a swimmer's training toolbox. Other valuable tools include pull buoys, paddles and kickboards. Try FINIS snorkels at $39.99.
Shoes built for use on land and in the water or in a boat are convenient for swimmers. The mesh top and drain holes allow your feet to stay comfortable while playing or running along the shore or for long marathon swims on an escort boat. Try the Speedo Hydro Trainers at $49.99.
Does your swimmer have trouble seeing the pace clock in a pool? How about the turn buoys, landmarks or other visual clues in a race? Prescription or optical goggles can enhance their vision in the water, and help them to feel more at ease when training and racing. Find prescription goggles at Competitive Aquatic Supply (www.casswimshop.com) or Swim Outlet (www.swimoutlet.com). Prices vary.
Waterproof MP3 Player
Speedo has raised the bar among waterproof audio products with the LZR Racer Aquabeat MP3 player, $119.99. With 2GB of internal memory, the Aquabeat can store up to 500 MP3 or 1000 WMA files. It can float, is good up to a depth of 10 feet and has a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to eight hours.
The other major player in the market, the FINIS SwiMP3 operates by a different technology--bone conduction--and offers exceptional sound quality where the sound is transferred easily from the cheek bone to the inner ear. With 1GB of internal memory, it sells for $149.99.