Gear Review

In Uncategorized by Charlotte OBeirne

There is a world of ‘stuff’ out there, out in the big world of shops and on-line stores. Stuff for your body in the ocean, body in the pool, body in cold water, stuff for your eyes, your head, your feet and a whole myriad of gear to improve your swimming, or confuse you completely. Swimming Women aim to review gear as they come across it in the hope it will help you snap up a goodie and leave a baddie way behind.

Zoggs predator flex.


After a change from vanquisher to opal by speedo my favourite goggles no longer cut the mark. I felt the shape had changed ever so slightly and the antifog property was not quite as good. Speedo reckon they are still the same and they do now come in some amazing colours but they no longer filled me with the security I wanted for a 6 hour ocean swim.

So I followed the crowds and gave the Zoggs predator flex a go. I ordered them in the polarised finish and my first ocean swim in them was mind blowing. It felt like I was swimming in our crystal clear Gnarabup bay with a pair or polarised sunnies on that didn’t leak! They fitted me perfectly, had amazing suction and the visibility was beyond anything I have ever seen.

I wore them for my Rottnest Channel swim and they did not leak or fog for 5 ½ hours of solid use and nor did I have any soreness associated from such lengthy wear. Gives them a pretty good rating if you ask me.

On the down side the lenses are quite large so when I do my usual spit and dip to anti fog sometimes a little water doesn’t shake out fully but that did not prove to be a problem and the additional visibility that comes with the larger lens is amazing.

They have a really flexible nose piece which enables them to be worn by many different face shapes and do come in a female version, (which we haven’t liked as much at Swimming Women as the unisex ones),as well as varying types of lens (polarised, reactor, clear, mirrored). I have the unisex ones and both my husband and 9 year old fight for them.

They are my current goggle of choice and brilliant for both open water and pool swimming. I think if I was racing a quick 50 I would still stick with the opals though!


Finis Tempo Trainer

Finis Tempo Trainer

Finis Tempo Trainer

This  little yellow bippy thing that bip bips at you whilst you swim is rather marvellous. As much as the bips can do your head in when they push you to a place you find rather challenging they do have a brilliant impact on your swimming. I confess I have not tried any other type of equipment similar to this so in terms of reviewing its ability to do the job this piece of equipment is in a category of its own for me.

It has opened my mind to the power of pacing and kept me on the straight and narrow when my brain wandered and my will to continue wained! The Finnis tempo trainer can be used for several things:

 1               Playing with your stroke rate. – It can be set to bip a number of times per minute with the idea that upon each bip your hand must enter the water. In this instance it is a great tool to compare the impact of changing your stroke rate and observing the result on your swim times. If someone said increase your stroke rate without the tempo trainer I would probably focus on swimming faster, or to reduce it I would swim slower. With the tempo trainer your body doesn’t have to think about speed, just keeping up with the beeps and it can be really surprising what results it has in store. By increasing my stroke rate by 6 strokes per minute I was able to reduce my swim time by 5 seconds per 100 over a set of 10 x 100 than swimming without the beeper, for no extra perceived effort. It helped me eliminate the over-glide I had and as a result of years of this type of swimming the constant reminder of the bips helps bring about the stroke change much quicker.

 2               Setting your training pace:- I am a self confessed sprinter. I love to go out hard and try to hold on and as I am also stubborn I believe I can and will hold on and therefore this way will get me the best results. It got me to Rottnest Island solo after all in not a bad time. I picked up a Tempo Trainer 6 months before my second Rottnest solo crossing and used it for at least 1 session a week. The results were mind blowing for me taking 20 seconds off my average time per 100m for 20km. I know I went out faster for the first 10k during my first 20k swim but having worked on my diesel engine this time around I was really able to hold a much stronger average pace.

3               Swimming on your own. Sadly we can’t all swim with mates and when you have a tough set to do it is easy to listen to your left brain and find a reason to stop or back off. With the bips in your brain they keep you going and make the rather difficult somewhat manageable. It can also help you when you swim in a lane with others to follow your pace not the person infront or to the side!! (as perhaps we all have a little element of competitor in us!).

Quite simply they are amazing and if you have one please bring it to training as we can use it, especially on a Friday.

Tangle Teezer

Not swimming gear per se, yet this little piece of equipment is now an essential part of my swimming bag. All to often, I forget my conditioner at the pool and my hair is a dreaded mess that requires time and patience later in the day as I pull half of it out in a quest to remove the knots. I am quite confident I am not alone with this one!

Introduced to my by a friend, with an equally substantial wig, The Tangle Teezer really does untangle my locks be they wet, dry conditioned or otherwise. A 5 star wonder brush and one for the Christmas wish list for any swimmer with hair past your ears.

I have seen it in the UK for less than $20 but in Australia for $30 or more online. Might be time for a bulk order Swimming Women!

No more of this:

Thanks to this

Thanks to this


Speedo Opal

The box states these goggles are for ‘competition racing’, as opposed to a competition or a race on its own?! They replace the vanquisher goggles  which were around for several years and according to speedo have a stronger nose piece  Seeing as my kids broke 2 pairs of vanquishers at the nose, I am sure these will get a good toughness testing.

I love these goggles as they fit my eyes perfectly and I can lift them from the box without alteration. They fit within the eye socket and the soft silicone seal is comfortable. The blue colour of the lens really pops making the pool brighter and offers good visibility  The moulding on the side of the goggle does however obscure  peripheral vision slightly, but that doesn’t bother me.

They say they are antifog but if you don’t spit and swirl before every use they do fog quickly. The spit and swirl has sufficed for an hour of mist free swimming just nicely

Good points: comfort, choice of nose piece, easy to adjust, good visibility, leak free as they stay away from hair lines, swim hats and eyebrows.

Not so great: Mist up quickly without a spit & swirl first. Peripheral vision masked by moulding.

All in all: 4 1/2 stars