- Nice warm, soft and fluffy towel. Although I do carry a huge kit bag, space in there is still prime real estate. So as far as my towel is concerned I opted for the most obvious solution; I carry the largest and heaviest towel known to man. Seriously, there are sports cars out there that weigh less than this towel, and you could probably cover a couple of them with it on a frosty night to keep it all warm and snug. But at the end of the day, or training session, I don’t care. I love it.
- Thermos drinks bottle (grey) and John Lewis ergonomic drinks bottle (green) – the thermos bottle is pretty standard, but it does have one of those inner bits that you can fill with water and freeze if you want to, so your drink stays cold for longer. I have no idea if this actually works; I somehow managed to lose the inner bit before ever using it; it’s probably frozen to the back of my freezer or something. Now the John Lewis bottle is the best drinks bottle ever made. I don’t think I have ever managed to take a sip from it either without anyone, stranger or not, making a comment. Mostly rude, granted, but I’ll suffer all sorts of torment for this bottle. There is no thread in the lid; it seals itself with a vacuum so you can drop it, kick it, drop-kick at the rude person’s head, it will not leak, ever! Another good thing, so long as you have no self respect, is that it is so ugly it will never be stolen. I managed to leave one of these bottles at the pool one night, and it was still there a week later.
- Speedo Endurance breifs – I’ve been through loads of these and keep coming back to them. They are comfortable and cheap. I think I managed to get the pair in the middle for something like £3. They do look ridiculous, but at least you don’t look any worse than the bloke wearing a matching pair in the next lane. Strength in numbers I say.
- Speedo Endurance aquashort speedo – these are very comfortable in more sense than one. They really do help one feel less self conscious.
- Diana drag shorts – I sometimes wear these over a pair of briefs to increase drag. Who would have thought? They can turn a fairly straight forward training set into a real struggle, and make your workout much more demanding. The best thing about training in a pair of drag shorts has to be taking them off again. You feel like you are slipping effortlessly through the water. I can only describe the feeling as the opposite feeling you get when you take off a pair of fins and try to swim.
- Aqua Sphere micro fins – these fins are supposed to help increase the strength of your legs, through resistance, as well as improve your overall body position in the water, by keeping your feet on the surface. Be that as it may, I find that they hurt my ankles and I will be replacing them soon. Any suggestions?
- Deodorant and 2 in 1 shower gel and shampoo – you probably need help if you need these to be explained. Moving on.
- Speedo Swedish Goggles – these are my favourite goggles. They fit perfectly, never leak and are really cheap; £5.99 if you get the blue ones, £10.99 if you go for the mirror ones. I prefer the blue ones, but have had to use the mirror ones for a while because when I last needed a new pair I looked everywhere and couldn’t find any. I also tend to stick to Speedo Swedish goggles as I have tried a couple of other brands and found they were either uncomfortable; rough and sharp edges around the lenses, or they constantly mist up. They come in a box and you have to assemble them yourself, which is fairly easy as the instructions are quite clear.
- Speedo kickboard with handles – kickboards are great for building a stronger, more efficient stroke with greater endurance, making this a standard training aid that I could not do without. It took me quite some time before I finally got around to getting my own kickboard, rather than using the ones available at the pool. The handles on this board do make using it more comfortable, for your arms and shoulders that is, your legs will burn as bad as ever I’m afraid. But that is the point of doing kick sets, I guess.
- Speedo Elite pull buoy – pull buoys are an invaluable training aid when it comes to building shoulder strength and improving technique. The Speedo elite pull buoy is very comfortable to use and easy to keep hold of while doing tumble turns. As with the kickboard it took me a while to get a pull buoy of my own, but having my own does save on running around in a panic trying to find one when the kick set begins.
- Speedo Aqua V silicone cap – I never used to wear a swim cap, but got this one in an attempt to prevent water getting in my right ear. On that front I failed, but found that I really enjoy wearing a swim cap. I now almost always wear it, when swimming that is, not while cycling to work or doing the grocery shopping. This cap fits well, doesn’t feel like it’s going to pull my ears off and as an added bonus, my hair no longer feels like wire after training.
- Swimmers Ear Drops – another weapon in my arsenal in may war against swimmers ear. I tried all sorts of ear plugs to stop the water getting in my ears but nothing worked. I tried various brands of moulded ear plugs and the silicone putty, but they all let the water in, plus I had to start wearing a swim cap to hold them in properly, but nothing worked. Then someone in my lane told me about Swimmers Ear Drops. I ordered a bottle online and have been using them since. They work. That’s all there is to it. They work by coating the ear, dislodging any water and evaporating it. Simply brilliant.
- Speedo Aquabeat 2GB MP3 player – I love swimming, I really do, but let’s face it; staring at those little white tiles for hours on end can get a little dull from time to time. Enter the Speedo Aquabeat MP3 player. While this is by no means the best MP3 player out there, it does work in the pool. When I bought this there were only about two others that did, and I have no idea why I chose this one over the others; I just did. It does what it’s suposed to and that’s great. I can’t say I like the software package it comes with but you don’t have to use it to load your music onto it. I tend to listen to books more often than not, as music messes with my rhythm. Unfortunately I hardly ever use this player anymore, as I mainly train with a club these days and need to have my wits about me. I constantly need to defend my inability to read the pace clock. But that’s another post.
- Speedo Ergo Ear Plugs – these are still unused and in their original packaging as I never got around to opening them before I tried Swimmers Ear Drops and found I did not need them. I will try them out soon and replace this with something more useful.
Wow that post turned out quite a bit longer than I thought it would. I just hope you weren’t bored to tears, and hopefully found something useful in it.
So, what’s in your swimming kit bag? What’s missing from mine? Is there anything that I should be using, or at least trying? If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to use the comment box below.