There are so many brands of swimming goggles on the market nowadays, with a varying price range, but the best goggles are simply those that fit correctly and feel comfortable and stable on your face. You need to feel happy and confident that they will stay in place when swimming at your top speed.
Many of the Strictly Swimming London coaching team have a high-level competitive swimming background and all will tell you how they had a favourite pair of goggles or ‘lucky goggles’ they felt helped them when racing (many of these goggles being the lowest price). So despite the price of the goggles you are trying on, always opt for those that fit the best and make your feel confident that they won’t bug you during your lessons, workouts and races.
Getting the best fit with your swimming goggles
Try on a few pair of swimming goggles to find a fit that suits you best. For some, children’s goggles may fit better than adult goggles. Hold the goggles to your face (without using the strap) and if you feel suction and they stay in place briefly, then they are most likely to be a good fit as you can feel a tight seal. If they fall off immediately, they won’t be a good fit and will hinder your swimming lessons and workouts. The main areas to check out when trying on a new pair of goggles are:
Eye seal – After trying various pairs, opt for goggles that fit your eye socket size. With a good fitting pair of swimming goggles, you should feel even pressure around the eye sockets and seals the eyes well. Look at all eye socket types for men, women, all adults and even children’s goggles.
Straps - The straps are used to keep your goggles in place but not to provide the seal. The strap should not be tightened so much that it makes the goggle uncomfortable and creates marks around your eyes, because it is too tight. When wearing a goggle with two straps, place the lower strap about eye level at the back of your head and position the other strap a couple of inches higher. This provides a secure fit and will help to prevent your goggles leaking or falling off when you dive into the water.
Nose bridge – many goggles nowadays have an adjustable nose bridge to allow swimmers to personalise the fit and mould it to fit your face. Find a pair of goggles with a nose bridge that can be tightened or loosened to fit the with of your nose (without it affecting the placement of each goggle on your eye sockets).
Pool Swimming or Open Water Swimming?
If you are swimming in the sea or in open water, it is recommended that you opt for polarized swimming goggles. It is also important to find a pair of goggles which allow optimum peripheral vision when swimming in open water due to reduced visibility in unclear water.
A wide medium to large frame will maximize your field of view in the open water, allowing you to ‘sight’ better when swimming in rough water.
Swimming Goggles for Triathlon
Whether you are contending with the glare of the sun, murky water or cloudy skies, it is worth spending some time thinking about your needs before you buy some goggles for your triathlon swim leg.
Adult triathletes who opt for a full open-water mask will experience greater drag than a pair of small racing goggles. That may be true, but a small pair of goggles wouldn’t stand up well to a kick in the face at the start of a triathlon. A full wrap-around goggle is a common choice for open-water swimmers and triathletes, and there are definite benefits associated with the greater peripheral vision and more even distribution of pressure around the eyes through long swims.
Goggles Keep Steaming Up
Goggles fog up because warm, wet air, usually created from your body heat, condenses on the cooler-than-air lenses. However, if your goggles feature an anti-fog coating and still steam up, it could be their age. In some cases, with regular usage, goggles can out-live their anti-fog coating, depending on the method used to apply it during manufacture. If yours are fogging up and are old or well-used, it might be time to consider investing in a new pair. Avoid rubbing the lenses or touching them during your lessons and workouts, as this will start to remove the coating.
Taking Care of Your Goggles
Goggle maintenance is not an exact science but by following our hints and tips you should prolong the life of your goggles. All you need to do is wash the chlorinated water off your goggles after your lesson in warm water, air dry them rather than wiping them with a towel and store them carefully to avoid scratching the lenses.
No matter what swimming level you fall into, it is essential to find the correct swimming goggles for your lessons and training routines. It is essential in order to give you comfort and maximise visibility and quite simply prevent unwanted chlorinated water in your eyes.
There is nothing more distracting than an unsuitable and uncomfortable pair of goggles during your lessons. Finding the right fit can be a problem to many swimmers and can slow down progression during your lessons. For example, Strictly Swimming London coaches often experience clients struggling and being hesitant with their breathing technique simply due to wrongly fitted goggles. Water getting into clients’ eyes when swimming often hinders concentration during lessons. Wearing the perfect goggles during your lesson will ensure excellent vision, comfort and concentration.
Here is a simple guide to help you select a pair of swimming goggles depending on your needs.
Factors to consider when choosing goggles
Face shape – your swimming goggles should fit snugly on your face and eye sockets. This includes matching the width of your goggles with the width of your face. Some competitive swimmers wear smaller racing goggles or children’s goggles for a firm fit. Men and women have different contours of the face, hence why many brands sell both men’s and women’s swimming goggles.
Size and Shape – Goggles come in all shapes and sizes. They generally can be classified into small and large sockets, small and large frame size and small and large lenses. Large socket goggles don’t actually fit into your eye socket and rely on suction around the eye instead. Lens size is the size of the lens through which the swimmer sees. A larger lens allows the swimmer to see more with a wide-angle view during lessons. By contrast, small lenses are more streamlined but allow the swimmer a smaller field of vision.
Comfort – Select a pair that you can imagine wearing for hours a week without any discomfort. If you are swimming for reasonably long periods of time, comfort will be your main priority. Swim training and fitness swimming will involve swimming many lengths in one session and you should therefore choose a goggle that feels comfortable around the eyes. Even a one-hour swimming lesson or a one and half hour Iron-man swim requires comfortable goggles.
Visibility - A flat lens will typically reduce your perception of depth and distance, whereas a curved lens increases peripheral vision in the water and provide a 180 degree range of vision. Some goggles even have slanted lenses to promote correct head position and body alignment. Visibility is essential in both the pool and open water and your choice of eye wear should provide this. Choose goggles with an anti-fog coating and UV protection. Coated lenses are better because you won’t need to defog them as often.
Colour of the lens – Many swimmers tend to go for lighter coloured lenses for visibility, but if you regularly swim outdoors or in bright environments, dark lenses can be better in coping with the glare of the sun.
Clear lenses are designed for indoor pool swimming with low light. Dark lenses such as mirrored lenses or smoky lenses are designed for sunny outdoor swimming to reduce brightness (just as your sunglasses work). Blue lenses are suited to both indoor and outdoor use and are designed to allow a moderate level of light into the eye but maintain protection from glare in bright conditions. Lilac lenses provide the best contrast for objects against a green or blue background. Amber lenses are designed to filter the light to crisp up your view.
Anti-Fog Lens – Regular untreated lenses tend to easily mist up when used in the swimming pool. Anti-Fog treated goggles on the inside surface of the lenses help to reduce fogging up while you are in the water. Many brands now come with anti-fog protection.
Avoid touching or wiping the inside of the lens as this can damage the anti-fog coating which cannot be repaired.
Types of Swimming Goggles
Training Goggles – Many swimmers have a separate pair of goggles for training and lessons than they use for racing, open water events or triathlons. This pair is usually more comfortable whilst you practice with your Strictly Swimming London coaches.
Racing – These goggles are designed to be streamlined with smaller eye frames to minimise drag in the water. They also provide a secure fit for dives and turns. They may not be as comfortable as fitness or leisure goggles.
Masks - If you’re new to open-water swimming and feel vulnerable without lane ropes and markers, a mask, rather than goggles, could be the way to go in order to get the best field of vision possible. They are bigger in size than a traditional swimming goggle but smaller than a snorkel/diving mask. They are very comfortable and offer a very good seal. Many swimmers opt for a mask for their triathlon. You are welcome to try your mask during your lessons.
Prescription – Swimming goggles with prescription lenses can be ordered for people who wear glasses with their specific lens strength. These goggles can be a huge help for people with poor eyesight during lessons. Please talk to our Strictly Swimming London coaches about this and we can advise you.
Polarized - offer the best glare protection and are designed for high-level light and sunny conditions. Ideal for open water swimming, triathlons and bright indoor pools. Polarized lenses increase the contrast in your vision that you can lose with tinted lenses.
Your Strictly Swimming London coach will happily advise you on any of the above and feel free to contact us to discuss this. Coming soon… Part Two on Choosing the Right Goggles… including how to get the best fit for your different goggles and also best goggles for triathlon.
The most common shoulder injury in swimmers is subacromial impingement (known as ‘Swimmers Shoulder’). Such impingement occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff catch and rub against the nearby humorous bone in the upper arm. The pain experienced during any swimming stroke is a direct product of this ‘catching’ and can be exacerbated as you perform hundred and hundreds of swimming strokes during your workout. Three out of the four strokes in swimming are predominantly powered by the upper body, and the shoulder works hard when we propel though the water.
Swimming puts the shoulder joint through a large range of movement. Even though such movement is relatively low impact as exercise goes, the sheer number of rotations of the shoulder joint has the potential to irritate the shoulder if the swimmer is not performing their stroke technique correctly. In fact, all Strictly Swimming London coaches will teach our clients the correct swimming technique with this in mind and create better swimming technique to avoid such issues. Please be aware that using a kick board or swimming hand paddles can further exacerbate ‘swimmer’s shoulder’.
Although classed as a ball and socket joint, the shoulder has a very shallow socket compared to the hip joint. Even though a healthy shoulder of a swimmer should have no problems going through a full range of motion without any issues in the swimming stroke, the small size of the socket allows for this impingement and can lead to swimmer’s shoulder if recurring issues in the stroke are not corrected.
Shoulder impingement in the competitive swimmer is mostly caused by altered kinetics (movement and technique) due to muscle fatigue after hours and hours in the swimming pool. Strictly Swimming London coaches know this feeling only too well. Excessive training without adequate rest can cause swimmer’s shoulder.
Symptoms of subacromial impingement can be sudden or gradual and can be different from individual to individual. A decrease in some movement may be experienced but the shoulder will still be easy to move and won’t be stiff (like a frozen shoulder). Symptoms can include:
Swimmer’s Shoulder Test
There is a very simple arc test to check if your shoulder pain is due to subacromial impingement. Stand with both arms by your side, then lift the arm out to the side all the way above your head. If you feel pain around 40 to 60 degrees after raising the arm to the side, and then for the pain to disappear at 120 degrees then you can bet its due to impingement. When performing this test, the palm of the hand must always face towards the body which means the shoulder has to rotate half way through this lift of the arm to keep the palm facing inwards at all times.
Contributing Problems in Freestyle Swimming Technique
Incorrect swimming mechanics are the leading factor in creating shoulder problems. Some freestyle technique problems leading to impingement include:
Our Strictly Swimming London coaches will aim to identify the exact part of the stroke where the pain occurs and will work on making adjustments in your technique during lessons.
Diagnosis and Seeking Medical Advice
Seeking medical advice is important if you are experiencing shoulder pain in your swimming training or lessons after a few weeks. If not treated appropriately, the rotator cuff tendons can start to thin and tear. X-rays and other imagining techniques may be needed to assess the changes in structure of the joint. The presence of ‘lazy elbow’ where the elbow on the affected side cannot be lifted to the normal height out of the water.
Preventing and Managing Swimmer’s Shoulder
There are numerous exercises you can search online for all of the following:
Treating Swimmer’s Shoulder
Competitive swimmers are estimated to take well over a million arm strokes in just one year, and this repetitive motion puts swimmers higher at risk of developing shoulder pain. With a high likelihood of injury if you swim many hours per month, it is important to be aware of the ways to prevent this injury from occurring and what to do if it does happen to you. The easiest and possibly most effective treatment is rest. Take time off from swimming to allow the inflammation to reduce before returning to the pool. While resting, it is important to use ice to aid in decreasing inflammation of the tendons in the shoulder. And anti-inflammatory pain killers. You can also decrease the amount of overhead movements of the arm and stop any movement that brings on the pain. It is also vital to modify your stroke mechanics in the swimming pool to emphasize correct technique with each stroke to eliminate the element that is causing the pain. Our Strictly Swimming London coaches can show you all of the above in our private or group lessons and take a proper assessment of your problematic swimming stroke.
There are a variety of reasons that one to one swimming lessons work better than group lessons. As an adult, the biggest benefit is that one to one lessons will be tailored to your needs, goals and starting point. Strictly Swimming Lessons London will design your one to one lessons to bring the best results. Whether you are an adult looking for an introduction to swimming or an adult looking to improve your stroke or fitness, our swimming lessons will meet your needs and personal goals.
Beginner Level Adults
Adult’s wanting to learn to swim usually have a different starting point. Some adults have an absolute fear of getting into the swimming pool. Other adults can easily enter the swimming pool and swim with a few swimming strokes but have absolutely no balance in the water and need to then put their feet on the pool floor. Within Strictly Swimming Lessons London, our aim is to work on all problems in a clients’ stroke, breathing and balance in the water, amongst many other elements. Our tailor-made lessons will work on your problems during your private time with your coach (rather than working on the problems that the group may have). Many adults whom have never learned to swim often have a fear of the water. Splashing and movement of the water in the pool can often exacerbate this fear during a group lessons, whereas a quieter, more peaceful private swimming lessons is often a better option for people with a fear of water and wanting to develop their confidence in the water.
Improver Level Adults
Equally for adult ‘improver’ one to one swimming lessons, the biggest benefit is that clients will often progress much faster than in a group lesson. Strictly Swimming Coaches London will focus in more detail on your problems within your swimming strokes and correct your individual problems. One to one interaction with your coach will allow clients to excel to a higher level, as you discuss your problems in your swimming strokes in more detail. Our coaches will devise both a short term and long term plan for every one of our private clients, which only adds to the experience of taking private lessons. We also will arrange all of your one to one lessons at a time that is convenient to you. Many of our clients are unable to commit or make every week of our group lessons, so our one to one private lessons can be scheduled around your commitments
Are you finding it difficult to increase your speed in the water? Are you looking to combine some speed swimming training with your current endurance workouts? Do you find that you are not moving any faster in the pool or in your triathlon no matter how hard you try? Then let’s look at some tips on speed and sprint training that we can show you during our lessons.
How to train for sprint swimming?
Sprint swim training can be gruelling and exhausting, but having a good coach taking you through the best way to develop these steps will lead to you increasing your power and speed in the water (even over longer distances). Developing your stroke and technique are obviously vital in improving performance and overall speed in the water, but what are the main elements that you should be looking for when aiming at ‘speed work’ in the pool?
Breathing during sprint swimming
Breath-holding (otherwise known as hypoxic work) is part of swimming at top speed. This method includes limiting the number of breaths per length or over a given distance. Some swimmers hold their breath for the entire length of the pool, whilst others breathe once per length, or equally novice swimmers may start with taking a breath every five arm strokes. All these techniques will develop your breath holding ability.
During sprinting, it is imperative that a swimmer acclimatises to swimming at maximum effort and the breathing demands that such effort entails.
The ability to hold your breath during speed swim training can be developed more and more over time. When performing sprint freestyle or butterfly swimming, a single breath will interrupt the power, acceleration and flow of the stroke, hence why we see Olympic 50 metre sprinters not turning for a breath at all when racing.
Stroke rate and length
When performing sprint and speed sets, always try and increase your stroke rate (number of strokes per length) but maintain your stroke length at the same time. If you can increase your stroke rate without shortening your stroke length, you will inevitably swim faster.
Develop a strong kick
Swimming faster not only requires the arms to increase in speed but also the leg kick at the same to time (on any of the four strokes). The timing of the legs to the arms also needs to be maintained no matter if you are swimming at 60% effort or maximum effort. Using fins during sprint training can also benefit a fast and powerful leg kick.
Recruiting fast twitch fibres
Performing short, sharp sprints in the water over very short distances will develop fast twitch fibres in the muscle. Such fibres are needed for better sprinting and you can change your physiology and biochemistry with speed work in the pool. As a distance swimmer or triathlete, this recruitment of fast twitch fibres can be developed over time and you will see a difference in your sprinting ability in both training and in racing.
When to perform sprinting and speed work
Learning how it feels to swim fast is important, however, this does not mean that sprint swimming should be done during every workout. Depending on experience of this kind of training, we would not recommend sprint training every day but limit it to 3 times per week (please talk with your coach and we can advise you more).
On the whole, sprint training is performed at a higher intensity than distance training. Swimming at race pace can quickly lead to a spike in your heart rate and the build up of lactic acid in your muscles. The ability to delay the onset of lactic acid can be achieved with regular sprint (speed) work in the pool. With practice, you will see yourself your sprint training move to entirely different level.
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.