Are you making the most of your swim snorkel? Here are 3 ways to get more from this powerful piece of swim gear.
Swim snorkels have become a universal piece of equipment for competitive (and recreational) swimmers over the past few years.
It’s main benefits are fairy well known—and described at length in our swim snorkel overview and buyer’s guide. Once you get used to using it, a snorkel can actually be a lot of fun.
You notice the higher hip placement, the better head position, and you can focus on your technique instead of counting strokes or worrying about breathing.
But here are three lesser known reasons and ways that you can unleash your snorkel for better swimming during practice, and eventually, faster swimming at race time.
1. Do it during drill work.
There are specific drills that swimmers struggle with doing correctly. Even though the drill is designed to help correct one thing, swimmers end up screwing up something else in order to try and work on it.
One of the most popular freestyle drills–single arm free–is one of the more blatant examples of this.
Watching some swimmers try to do this drill is simply painful, with the drill turning into a Franken-hybrid of one arm free and one arm butterfly due to dropped hips, an over-rotating head, and shoddy alignment.
Enter the snorkel.
It will help you slow things down and focus on doing the drill properly instead of having to over-rotate your face to get a breath of that mildly chlorinated air.
2. Kick with your snorkel on.
I am an unrelenting and unapologetic evangelist of the kickboard (except when the shoulders hurt). I use mine a lot, not only because I like doing kick sets, but I like that it gives me the opportunity to really focus on my legs, unlike kicking without a board.
If you ever watch swimmers kicking without a board—usually on their side—they end up with the same crappy hip and head positioning that comes from trying to breathe and maintain proper body alignment.
While they kick you can see the swimmer working out the proper body position, but then they have to turn their head to breathe, leading the hips to drop. Doing kick work with a snorkel, however, helps you stay in the desired body position all the way through.
Additionally, you can use a kickboard…or not, when kicking with a snorkel on. Either way, your head is down, and your hips are more likely to be nice and high.
3. Wear it backwards to promote a steady, straight head during backstroke.
Believe it or not, backstrokers can also benefit from the swimmer’s snorkel.
How, you may ask?
By turning the snorkel around so that it is sticking up straight in the air above your face. It acts as a sort of brightly colored dorsal fin, and will immediately tell you if your head is swaying, or if you are turning your head around.
Elite backstrokers are able to keep their head not only perfectly in line with their spine while they swim, but they also keep it straight.
Having your snorkel on backwards will give you a super clear indication of how straight your head really is during backstroke.
The 9 Top Freestyle Drills for Swimmers. Some of the top coaches on the planet stop by with their favorite free drills. Includes full instruction and video.
The Top Benefits of Using a Swim Snorkel (& Buyer’s Guide). We break down the research, the benefits, and the hottest swim snorkels on the market.
Image Credit: FINIS