We’re not all natural swimmers, but the love of swimming supersedes any natural talent. The feeling of streaking through the water is something every swimmer strives to reach. It’s what swimming is all about...it's the feeling of it all!
You don’t have to be fast, or competitive to enjoy our sport. Swimming is a simple pleasure, it require only a suit...and, if you really want to see what's going on, a pair of goggles or a cap. However, there are other pieces of equipment out there that can be used to enhance our ‘feel’ for the water, and keep us going at a pretty good pace while we do it. Many coaches call these 'bandaids' for poor mechanics. But, they can also be called saviors for swimmers who need an extra boost to their swimming.
Finis has a ton of swimming products designed to support every swimmer’s needs. One of these products is a small fin that I like to call a mini fin. Wearing a pair of these mini fins is a great way to get that ‘streakin’ thru the water’ feeling. It might even help you discover what you have been missing all these years...yeah, a kick!
Oftentimes, swimmers plod along through the water, moving at one speed all of the time. It virtually takes years to learn proper mechanics and really get moving with some speed through the water. But we don’t always have that kind of time. So this is where the mini fins come into use. Unlike the larger blade fins, the patented design of the mini fin enables any swimmer the opportunity to swim like a fish and still maintain the connection between the arms and the legs.
Larger fins let the kick to the swimming for us, but HEY...we want the whole body feel of swimming when we're in the water, right? Put these little babies on and away you go. They don't propel you like the big fins, and you can engage your kick when you’re ready, but right away you realize that this is what you were missing when you were swimming before...the feel of really moving forwards when you are swimming. Ahhhh, this is what it's all about!
Stay competitive in your workouts with your peers and yourself. Pull on a pair of mini's, just for the thrill and speed of it! It's easy to see where the gaps in your training have been before. Remember hating those dreaded kicking sets? Well, now they become a real challenge...not just to finish the set, but to actually kick faster as you get into the 'meat' of the set. You’ll probably never want to take them off, but like any other piece of equipment, you just want to use them to get the dust out of your legs when you kick. Keeping them on all the time wouldn't actually work...like life, everything in moderation is valuable.
We all know that the best piece of equipment you have is right between your ears. Use it to encourage your swimming with better mechanics. Speed isn't everything. In fact, with too much speed in your swimming, you can't always feel how you are moving through the water. Yes it feels like you're really going fast, but at what cost? So, in every workout, toss all your equipment away for awhile and listen to what your body has to say about your swimming (but don't toss it too far away).
I like to wear my mini's for a part of every workout and I wouldn’t be without them! It’s a great tool to help teach a 6-beat kick to a) an over-kicking or b)an under-kicking swimmer. Pull them on at the end of a workout to get a little more speed out of you swimming when you're tired. Use them during your warm up, to engage your legs with your stroke. Try swimming a little breaststroke with them. They will actually help you feel the outward rotation of your feet. Feel them GRAB the water like hands, and push it back as you go through the motion of the whip kick.
Vertical kicking is another great way to use the ZOOMERS. If you're a little crazy, try holding a couple of kickboards over your head while you maintain your vertical kicking. Challenge yourself all the time during your workouts. Flutter, dolphin, whip...you can do them all with your ZOOMERS.
Okay, if you haven't figured it out by now, I'm talking about ZOOMERS. They have been around for a ton of years, and they're not going away anytime soon. I've had many pair through the years, mostly because I can't seem to hold onto them for more than a year or so without losing them, but I digress. They are the one fin I have returned to time after time. ZOOMERS are my fin of choice to recommend to all my swimmers. Whether they are having trouble finding their kick, or don't have one to find, these babies are the icing on the cake. Finis has a great website for all of their products (http://www.finisinc.com). Click on and see what they have for you and your swimming. My bet is you'll come away with a couple of very valuable products that will take you swimming to new heights. Swim till you can't swim anymore...then, come up and take a breath and swim some more. Yeh, can you tell I'm all about swimming? Swim on!
Ron ‘Sickie’ Marcikic
University of California, San Diego Master’s Swimming
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