Swimming Equipment – Part 1, Learning and Training aids.
I get asked alot what kind of swimming equipment(goggles, swimtrunks and kickboards just to name a few) should i buy? by parents who will send their kids for swimming mostly for the first time. And as a coach i think we should give them proper advice on buying the right equipment. I have divided this article into 3 parts. Part 1 – Learning and Training Equipment, Part 2 – Swim Wear and Part 3 – Swim Gadgets. I have made detailed list of most swimming equipment available throughout Malaysia with some of my comments included. I have also included a list of shops or websites of where to buy all these equipment, at the end of the article. If i forgot something to add or comment please let me know.
Most inflatable devices such as armbands or rings are widely available anywhere, you can just go to JUSCO or TESCO and get it and it is not that expensive. Price range would be from anywhere from RM10-30(or even more) depending on what kind of inflatable ”floatie” you looking for.
Arms Bands are a very useful tool for toddlers and are mostly for the ages 2 – 6 years old. I think its a very useful tool to use on toddlers to gain water confidence. It is also a very safe way of gaining water confidence. Supervision is needed early on, but once the child is comfortable there is no stopping the kid from moving around in the water.
Rings are a fun way to play around with, and they come in all forms and sizes. In the older days they used car tubes which was a common site at beaches and pools. Personally i am not a big fan of rings as it can be hazardous. If a child is still struggling or doesnt have enough water confidence, he or she can topple over and in most cases cant get back up, which means he or she may drown.
Neck rings are for babies, and it is a fun way to get them in the swimming pool. Supervision is needed of course. They will start and kick alot and try and move around. Its most preferable done in a small swimming pool with a good warm temperature.
Jackets are moslty for babies and toddlers and is a fun a way of gaining water confidence. many shapes, sizes and styles are available these days and are easy to get at shopping malls.
Goggles are one of the most single important swimming equipment you will most probably need and going to buy whether you are learning or training for swimming. To choose a good pair of goggles will be very important. you need to know for what are you going to use it for, learning, training, racing or even swimming in open water there are all different types of goggles for different kind of swims.
Tips for buying a pair of goggles. I always advice my students when they going to buy a pair of goggles at any shop, try them on and see if they are comfortble. Remember dont ever touch the inside of the goggles, it will be oily and thats the anti-fog spray the manufacturers sprayed inside the goggles before they put it on the shelfs for you to check out. So dont touch it. Anti-fog spray is sold separately and may be needed after a year of usage, as it may wear off.
A new pair of goggles you will need for learning how to swim doesnt have to be expensive and fancy. make sure they are comfertable and durable. I dont advice to get a pair of goggles that are less than RM10.00, China made, and will only last you 2-3 times of usage. go for some good household names that are widely available in Malaysia. TYR, ARENA, SPEEDO, OGIVAL and SPURT. They have a good range of basic set of goggles which are mostly priced at anywhere from RM25.00 – 45.00. I personally recommend to get a goggle that is “one-piece” as it is easy to wear and maintain. If you are going for the adjustable goggles make sure you get it rightly adjusted which can be a hassle for younger kids. get pair of goggles which has a good thick strap and will be easy to put on.
For the more serious swimmer or mostly competitive swimmers a more smaller that will fit just on your eye socket will be the choice. even the straps are a bit different mostly has one long thin strap that will go through the goggles sides and it may apear like there are 2 straps, which will give a more firmer grip on your head. Price range are anywhere from RM45.00 – RM100.00 or even more with some brands.
Open Water Goggles
For swimming in open water, most swimmers will use an over sized shaped goggle for comfort and visibility. And would be advisable for longer distance swimming in open water events. Price range is not cheap and not all the good brands are available in Malaysia but are available online fom the US
Swimming caps are very important for all levels of swimmers, for swimmers with long hair it will be a comfort knowing that all the hair is tucked away in the swim cap and not swinging around all over the place which can be very disrupting during learning. For the competitive swimmer it will be very important as well as the head is leading the swim and to lessen the resistance the swim cap will be very useful. For open water swimming a swim cap is very important, a bright color is recommended, red or orange preferable. as it will be noticable and visibile from ashore. and in case of emergency rescue boats may spot you easily.
There are a few types of swimming caps, Latex, Silicone and Lycra
Boards and Buoys
Kick boards are a very useful tool for swimmers wheter you are learning or training and it is used mostly everytime during a training session for competitive swimmers. There is a whole range of kickboards with different sizes and shapes, price range may vary as well anywhere from RM10.00 – 50.00. The ones i dont recommend you buying are the foam kickboards with a canvas-like material wrapped around it. Reason is, mostly after a period of usage the foam board will break and it is still wrapped up in side the canvas, thus making it bendable and sometimes water comes in as well.
A small device that you can put between your legs, inorder to make you legs float and concentration can be more on the arm pull. This Buoy is more frequent by serious swimmers. there are some variations in these buoys but not many one significant buoy is the larger on that functions as a kick board as well some call it the pull/kick buoy, mostly competitive swimmers will use this for certain sets where they can pull for 1 lap and kick the other lap back.
Another good training tool for swimmers even for the ones who are just learning how to swim this will be a good training aid. As kicking will become easy, a more relaxed swim will be created and concentration can be more on the arm pull, breathing and even trunk rotation. Swim fins are short or they are called half cuts and not what scuba divers are wearing a long fin which can be very troublesome while using it during your swim. Price range may vary from RM30.00 – 130.00 depending on brand and size.
The Swim Snorkle is one of the best inventions since the goggles came out. The difference between this snorkle and normal snorkles that divers use is that this swim snorkle is not attached to the side but infront! All levels of swimmers are using it these days from learning how to swim to competitive swimmers to triathletes. the Swim Snorkle is an easy way to correct certain mistakes, arms stroke, trunk rotation and even sculling can be done with this, just to name a few. Price range can be anywhere from RM80.00 – 120.00 and the most recognisable and available brands in Malaysia are FNIS and MAD WAVE
Some Brands in Malaysia and where to get them.
TYR – Will be available at the Royal Sporting House. TYR replaced SPEEDO at Royal Sporting House.
ARENA – most department stores will carry this brand and there are even some arena shops at shopping malls
FINIS – Very good equipment all the latest technology – www.swimshop.com.my
MAD WAVE – Mad Wave at the moment only has 2 shops and are located in the KL area but orders can be made online – www.madwave.com.my
End of Part 1