What are Swim Fins?
The use of Swim fins (also known as ‘flippers’) has increasingly become part of any swimmers training regime over the last couple of decades. If there is one item to purchase to help you with your swim training, it’d definitely a pair of Swim Fins!
Wearing fins on your feet, allows you to propel yourself with far greater speed and power to your leg kick and also increases the fun of rocketing through the water. Integrating the use of swim fins into your training can help prefect many elements of your swimming stroke and also your overall technique (including the correct body position and ‘height’ in the water). We always use Swim Fins during our Strictly Swimming lessons in London, so please ask our coaches advice before splashing out on a pair.
The Benefits of Swim Fins
1. Improves your kick technique
Using swim fins will work your upward leg kick and downward leg kick by adding resistance to these movements. If your leg kick is the weakest part of your stroke, swim fins will increase the resistance of your kick on the water as you perform each movement. This added resistance will work your quad muscles (on the downward kick) and hamstrings (on the upward kick), making you move faster and more efficiently. Your leg kick will connect with the water on a much greater scale and you will find that your hips are no longer sinking. If you feel that you go nowhere with a kick board in your lessons or training, try using swim fins to create a narrow and fast flutter kick to propel you through the water.
2. Improves your overall stroke technique
The extra propulsion and speed in the water created by your swim fins will allow you to focus and develop specific elements of your technique that you are concentrating on. This extra speed and stability will help you practice more advanced drills to a higher level and can target your technique with much more accuracy and ease.
3. Develops correct body position
Many novice swimmers and triathletes find it difficult to maintain good height in the water (swimming as close to the water’s surface or above). Swimming with fins increases speed in the water which in turn increases a higher body position to the water surface. So you will feel like you are zooming across the surface of the pool as your swim fins teach you how to swim on top of the water.
4. Reduces stress on your shoulders
Although swimming is a moderately low-impact sport, after a while in training, your shoulders may experience quite a bit of stress. The repetitive movements of each stroke can lead to shoulder aches or even damage if proper care is not performed during your workout. Swim fins lower the impact on your shoulders (during your workout and even during lessons) as your leg kick increases proportionally within the whole stroke.
5. Help increase strength and endurance
As mentioned, swim fins alleviate stress on the shoulders and the arms which allows you to swim for longer periods of time, increasing your muscle strength and endurance in the process. Working the specific muscle groups of your legs, using swim fins is among one of the top ways in developing kick strength during your swimming.
6. Improves ankle flexibility
Finally, using swim fins requires your ankle to move through a greater range of motion than you make regularly kick during your stroke. Some swimmers are naturally flexible in their ankle joint, while others may find this difficult to relax and stretch during the ‘flick’ of your foot when kicking. Swim fins reinforce proper kick mechanics, allowing you to develop ankle flexibility faster than training without fins.
Types of Swim Fins
Overall swimming fast is much more fun, so why not mix up your training by including some training sets whilst wearing your swim fins. There are a number of different ways that you can vary your workout with fins, so let our Strictly Swimming coaches in London help you develop a new training regime in the water whilst using them!
Buy some goggles that fit
Your swimming goggles should be adjustable but also fit your face width and naturally fit comfortably in or around your eye socket. Remember that your goggles should be fitted pretty tightly to prevent water entering them (this tightness is something you will need to get used to). Your Strictly Swimming London coach can help you with your goggles at the start of your first lesson. Your goggles should be completely fixed on your face (and not move) even during a hard push off the swimming pool wall.
Purchase some swimming fins
Swim fins offer an array of benefits to the beginner to triathletes to competitive swimmers. Using flippers (fins) helps improve the power of the leg kick to support your stroke when concentrating on technique work in the water.
Get the right swimming gear
Buy practical gear that fits and not gear that only looks good. Tight fitting swimwear helps reduce drag in the water. The last thing you need is baggy and heavy swimwear that makes it harder to learn to swim as you move through the water.
Wear a Swim Cap
Wearing an inexpensive swim cap can help protect your hair in heavily chlorinated pools but also helps in keeping medium length and long hair away from your face whilst you try to master breathing techniques. A tight swimming cap will help you move easier through the water if you have long hair.
Shaded Goggles for Outdoors
If you goal is to do some open water swimming, consider getting some goggles with shaded lenses. They will act like regular sunglasses and protect your eyes from the sun and allow you to follow the direction that you are aiming for.
Ease yourself into the shallow end of the pool
The easiest way to conquer fear of the water is to start in the shallow end of the pool. You will be able to stand in the water, lowering yourself slowly and gently depending on how confident you are feeling. Practice holding your breath while your head is under the surface, with the knowledge that you can stand up and come up for air at any time.
Push and Glide to Warm Up
Don’t worry about getting into the pool and not being able to swim to warm up. Start your swimming workout and lessons by pushing off the wall and gliding in a horizontal position with our arms stretched out and your feet pressed together with your toes pointing. Repeating this exercise will help you warm up.
Devote plenty of time to developing your swimming
Building your confidence and endurance and becoming a stronger swimmer requires that you spend lots of time in the swimming pool. The more time you spend, the more comfortable you’ll feel and the better swimmer you’ll become. With time, your feel on the water will increase, as will your balance in your strokes. Regular practice in the pool and in your Strictly Swimming London lessons will allow you to speed up learning and skills. Practicing between lessons will help massively.
Become comfortable putting your face in the water and submerging under the water
Usually, the biggest challenge for adults who are learning how to swim is keeping their faces in the water. For some people, submerging your face in the pool can feel uncomfortable and can cause anxiety. Becoming accustomed to your head in the water and the feeling of being relaxed is an important part of learning to swim. Try practicing exercises by placing your face or full head underwater during your lessons or by yourself. Holding your breath underwater is a good start to reducing the panic.
Join a group swimming lesson
Strictly Swimming London offer novice, intermediate, advanced and learn to swim group courses. Please see our start dates on: We have a maximum of six people in our groups. We keep our groups at a small size to allow everyone to get lots of individual attention from your coach. Courses are six weeks and focus on stroke technique.
Sign up for private (individual) lessons
At Strictly Swimming London, we offer private lessons for all levels and our teachers and coaches will be able to develop your swimming whether you are a beginner, a competent swimmer, or a triathlete. With individual lessons, we can focus in detail on your problems in your stroke.
Practice breathing techniques
After warming up using pushing and gliding techniques, try and glide on your side to incorporate some breathing techniques. Breathing is key to a successful stroke, and the more time you can spend on developing your breathing technique, the better.
The guidelines below were released by Swim England to outline the precautions swimmers should take when returning to the pool.
Long COVID is used to describe signs and symptoms that last for longer than 4 weeks after getting COVID-19 with many people now having symptoms for far longer.
Like other respiratory illnesses, COVID-19 can cause lasting lung damage. As we continue to learn about COVID-19, we’re understanding more regarding how it affects the lungs during acute illness and afterwards.
There are two stages to what is commonly known as Long COVID:
Roughly 30 to 40 percent of people who contract the virus are asymptomatic and display no symptoms. The rest experience typical COVID-19 symptoms: fever, body aches, coughing, difficulty breathing, nausea and loss of taste or smell.
While these symptoms are usually expected to last the duration of the infection, some people are experiencing these symptoms weeks and even months after contracting COVID-19 and clearing it from their system. These people, sometimes called “long-haulers,” are typically in the older age range, but it can be young, healthy individuals as well.
One of the main symptoms of long Covid is breathlessness. This can happen even if you did not need treatment in hospital. As with asthmatics, swimming can help build your control of your breathing if you are suffering from breathlessness. Many studies have shown that swimming can actually make your lungs bigger and more efficient in how they process the air you breathe.
Following a bout of covid-19, some of our Strictly Swimming London clients have returned to swimming and realised that they were having trouble breathing to normal capacity during workouts and were struggling to swim the distances that they could normally manage (as they were still experiencing the effects of the virus months after infection).
Like asthma, the symptom of long Covid is chronic inflammation affecting the lungs and airways. Swimming is a preferred activity for many children and adults with asthma and is associated with a range of health benefits including improved physical fitness and mental well-being. It is now becoming apparent that long Covid sufferers can equally benefit from swimming as their main form of exercise.
Moreover, swimming focuses on controlled, rhythmical breathing which can support lung function and help mindfulness and can relieve anxiety during this pandemic.
If you are suffering from long covid and breathlessness, please call Strictly Swimming London and we can tailor your lessons to slowly build your lung capacity in the swimming pool.
Paul started competing in swimming from the age of 8 and eventually went on to represent his country all over the world. During his time at University, Paul specialised in Aquatics and the Biomechanics of Swimming and produced numerous theses on swimming performance.