With Christmas just around the corner, this is a quick look at swimming equipment you need when you attend club sessions or swim alone.   There are a few essentials you should get and then there is some additional swimming gear that can really help you to improve faster. Find out more below - to summarise, you should all treat yourselves to some fins and some paddles for Christmas stocking fillers and bring them down to every swim session!


Swimsuit: Obviously you will need a swimsuit to learn how to swim. For men, these are usually jammers or swim trunks. Boardshorts / football shorts aren’t very good for swimming as they create too much drag. For women, the most common is the one-piece swimsuit.

Cap: A swim cap is very useful if you have long hair and want to avoid that it gets into your face while swimming.  It's also a good thing to practice with, as you're required to use them in most triathlons.

Goggles: Swimming goggles are also a must have, as they will allow you to put your head under water without getting water in the eyes. This will permit more relaxed and streamlined swimming.


Paddles: Paddles go on your hands and help to improve your strength and power during the catch and pull phase of the stroke.  Paddles are great for using during a warm up to fire up your muscles, or as a tough main set to make muscular gains.  Many different types, so I would recommend a general paddle (Speedo Tech Paddle), a hand entry paddle (Finis Freestyler Paddles) or perhaps the most important, a catch paddle (Finis Agility Paddles)

Swim Fins: Swim fins are a great tool to have while learning to kick effectively and efficiently as part of your stroke.  They give you an exaggerated kick and allow you to focus on the arm motions in freestyle.  Our coaches prefer mid or shorter fins.  My preference goes to the Finis Floating Fins, but if you have achilles issues, Speedo BioFuse are an effective short length fin.


Kickboard: The kickboard is used to isolate leg work and can be interesting in certain cases. However, it can strain the shoulders, especially it is held in front of you with extended arms, and that't why kick drills are preferably done without a board or with a board out in front if you have good shoulder flexibility.  There are plenty of these at our club sessions, so emphasis should be on fins and paddles initially.  Not a significant difference between brands.

Pull Buoy:  The pull buoy is a figure-eight shaped flotation device made of foam which you put between your legs. It gives the lower body enough buoyancy so that you don’t need to do leg work and is great to learn arm motions.  There are plenty of these at our club sessions, so emphasis should be on fins and paddles initially.  Not a significant difference between brands.

If you're feeling flush, you can buy a package including all of the above for around £100, here

Lastly, but probably most importantly, make sure you write your name on all of your kit!​



Triathlon and Multisport Coaching across the North West