Help! Skin Divers are Taking Over My Pool!

SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Member
edited July 21 in General Discussion
At the risk of touching off an incendiary debate, this swim snorkel business is getting way out of hand.

The first time I saw one of these clownish devices was on the beach at the start of the Gulf Coast Triathlon, circa 1991. After figuring out the wearer had not forgotten to remove his CPAP machine, I waited for an official to run out and tell him this was a gross violation of the rules (like the time I saw some knucklehead tried to sneak in the water with fins). When I discovered this madness was somehow acceptable, I took solace in knowing this could not possibly become a "thing". Even if the fashion tolerances of my fellow competitors broadened enough to include strapping a 1962 sci-fi movie prop on their faces, no self-respecting athlete would eliminate a fundamental element of their sport to improve performance (apologies to Nyad, Pistorious and every TDF podium finisher in the 21st century).

Whiffed on that prediction. But even as they proliferated, it seemed generally limited to inexperienced swimmers. "Oh well," I rationalized, "maybe its a good thing to open the sport up to a wider audience."

I haven't done a tri in 12 years, so I can only guess how prolific they've become in that setting. But now they're invading the sanctity of my Masters club. And not just inexperienced swimmers--otherwise respectable swimmers I've known for years. "Et tu, Brute?" Its like a virus. I'd guess we're up to an average of 7 or 8 in every practice these days. And I don't mean as training aids. I mean as permanent assistance devices worn from warm-up through cool-down 7 days a week. GRRRR. What's next? SCUBA tanks? We've got to hold the line, people!

I can see some training aid benefits, but can we please limit them to that purpose? 200 Swim, 200 kick, 200 snorkel. I'll accept that. Managing respiratory demands while maintaining good stroke mechanics and posture is a fundamental challenge of swimming. Eliminating it doesn't make you a better swimmer. It makes you a skin diver.

There. I said it. I feel better already...
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Comments

  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
    edited July 18
    If the swimmer is doing masters purely for exercise I am not sure I can summon much outrage. Some of the 50yo+ swimmers in my masters group make almost fulltime use of pull buoys, and if it allows them to participate then far be it for me to complain.

    That said, I think there are a few swimmers who use swim aids just to make the interval because they don't want to drop a lane either for social or pride reasons, and I think that can be a bit selfish.
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • caburkecaburke Charter Member
    edited July 18

    ...I think there are a few swimmers who use swim aids just to make the interval because they don't want to drop a lane either for social or pride reasons, and I think that can be a bit selfish.

    Agreed and I find it very aggravating.
  • I don't have a swim snorkel but I want one because the honourable Irish sport of Bog Snorkelling is calling me.

    I'm also a complete pool toys/gadget addict so anything that will be of assistance in improving stroke is good.
  • NiekNiek Member
    edited July 18
    Donal it would improve your looks. :)

    image
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • The more things covering my face @Niek, the better I look, it's true.
  • ssthomasssthomas Charter Member
    This is what we do with snorkels here:

    image
  • @niek, your picture looks like a screen shot from a documentary where aliens are studying a strange race of humans, all you need is the sound track:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3A0l93Bzgbw
  • lakespraylakespray Member
    edited July 21
    ssthomas said:

    This is what we do with snorkels here:
    [photo]

    Could this be the super secret special method of adding anti-freeze that prepares the swimmer for crossings; like the Bering Channel relay, a double of Tahoe and a successful Farallon Island swim? ;-)

  • NiekNiek Member
    edited July 21
    It's from a Finis ad campaign.

    But I agree. They have alien ideas. :)
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited July 21

    Managing respiratory demands while maintaining good stroke mechanics and posture is a fundamental challenge of swimming. Eliminating it doesn't make you a better swimmer. It makes you a skin diver.

    I disagree somewhat. The front-mounted snorkel is a useful tool for improving stroke symmetry and body alignment. So, used correctly, it can make you a better swimmer.

    As you note, breathing is a fundamental challenge of swim technique. Indeed it is such a fundamental challenge that it can distract from other important technique issues - entry width, hand position, underwater pull path, core engagement, symmetrical rotation, and so forth.

    It becomes much easier to work on these many other technique challenges when you (temporarily) take breathing out of the equation, with a snorkel.

    Snorkels are becoming popular among Masters swimmers, because elite swimmers have been using snorkels, often as their primary pool toy (more than buoys, paddles, or fins), for years now. I first noticed this trend circa 2008, when I lived in Columbus, Ohio. I often worked out at OSU's beautiful natatorium, right after the varsity teams' practices. I observed these elite swimmers frequently using snorkels. I also observed most of these swimmers had incredible body alignment & stroke symmetry -- distinctly more so than the athletes I swam with in college 15 years ago.

    Which is the cause, and which is the effect? Who knows... take from it what you will.

    PS, Sarah -- hilarious :)
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