I'm so glad I made the choice to sign up for a real swim class even if I wont be finishing it.
I've learned so much in the last two weeks that I'd never even thought of before. I also realized how important it is to learn the basics! One of the first things my teacher had me do was buy a few text books to read as references. Nothing expensive, I found them all on Amazon and ebay for less that $15 each.
She also made sure I had a list of equipment I needed to keep on hand to practice some drills. Some of this equipment I already owned but there were some pieces that I hadn't purchased because I didn't think I needed them.
Those pieces turned out to be the most important.
I wanted to share my "essentials" for any of you beginner swimmers out there who may be like me.....dead in the water ;)
So we all know the bare essentials swimsuit, goggles, swim cap (if you prefer). These items should go without saying. One thing I never knew before was that goggles actually come in different sizes and different fits! I may be revealing how much of newbie I truly am, but I don't care! If I can save someone from wearing kiddie goggles like I did for about a year, then so be it! I never understood why mine always leaked and practically sucked my eyeballs out of their sockets. If your shopping for goggles, ask a sales rep at your local sporting goods store. They can help find a pair that fit you best.
I have since upgraded to a pretty pink pair of tinted TYR goggles that I just adore. I may be purchasing a second pair that fit around the outer eye rather than the inner eye like these. They tend to hurt a bit around the bone when I do my longer workouts.
(Feel free to click links below any of the pictures for pricing and specs)
I also purchased one of these nifty mesh bags to carry all my goodies in. (Not an essential) but I was carrying them in a large pool tote previously and after a while, I started to notice a little odor coming from the bag. Eeeeek! I can easily toss this one in the wash any time I need and it air dries quickly.
This is one of my favorite pieces of equipment mainly because I can work on my kick drills without drowning. I actually purchased a children's kickboard (on purpose) because my torso is a little short and the adult kickboards got in my way when I did drills on my back.
.....or in the supine position for you fancy folks!
Pull Buoy...get one! When I first started working on my form I found this little guy the MOST helpful. You hold it between your thighs and it keeps your legs together for a better kick. I also love it because.....I'm a sinker. I have very little float from the waste down and it's a constant battle to stay level in the water. On days that I really wanted to work on my stroke technique I could use this buoy to keep me up and really focus on my form.
This is a recent purchase for me and I'm still getting the feel for paddles. First impression, love them! When I first heard, you want to "pull" the water with your hand I was like....errrr huh?! I never understood the "feeling" of the water. What I love about these paddles is that I can FEEL myself pulling back on the water. Meaning there is pressure on my hand. The more pressure I feel, the faster I go. When I do drills with the paddles I have much higher sense of feel for the water after I take them off. I'm looking for the pressure on my hands.
Who-da-thunk you could pull water? ha!
Below are a few pieces of equipment I have not yet purchased but used in my swim class and now consider "essential". I will be purchasing these items STAT. ;)
Fins are great for us lower body sinkers! I find that if I add fins to my warm ups not only do get a better warm up but they actually improve my body position later in my workout. Again, this goes back to "feeling" the water and body position. If I warm up with fins I can find my proper position and will later be able to tell when I'm sinking or when I'm not level. also, I have a really weak kick. (something I never knew!) My form is ok but I really need to work on my strength, fins to the rescue!
My brother-in-law made the suggestion that I buy a snorkel way back when I first started swimming. I couldn't figure out why I was swallowing massive amounts of water when trying to breathe. There was so much going on and so much I was trying to focus on all at once that breathing was impossible! I have since mastered breathing and, here recently, bi-lateral breathing. Yay me! I never did buy a snorkel but I got the chance to try one in my swim class....kinda gross I know! but they used replaceable mouth pieces so I felt it was safe to say I was only swallowing my own spit ;)
The #1 reason I'm suggesting this...heart rate. I'm still building strength in my arms and legs. My goal is distance and when I get tired in the water, I need to BREATHE! My heart rate spikes, I'm breathing every stroke and before I know it I'm hanging off the edge of the pool panting. I hate it. Using a snorkel helps me work on my endurance and strength without the worry of suffocation. I don't use it all the time but If I really want to put in the laps, it sure does help.
So there you have it! My swim essentials. I'm sure there are more I still have not heard of but for now, this is what I need and they all serve me well. I think I have finally graduated from sinking rock to tadpole. Woo Hoo!