At the beginning of October, Speedo sent me one of their brilliant swim kits. Of course the kit arrived on the very same day my physio told me to stop swimming for a while – incredibly bad timing as it meant I had to just stare at my swim kit for weeks. Luckily, in mid-November I got the all clear to start swimming again and having signed up to a lovely new pool, it was finally time to start using my swim kit to its full capacity and see what it could do. Amongst the kit was the Team Rucksack III Max, Women’s Futura Biofuse Goggles, Biofuse Power Paddle, Elite Pullkick, Aquacoach Watch, a towel and the world’s largest water bottle. All in all a really great kit to have.
The rucksack is one of my most loved pieces of the kit – I’m the type of person who likes to overpack for any situation, including a swim, and so the 40L capacity suits me perfectly. It has separate compartments for wet and dry kit, a handy zip compartment on the front and open side pockets (which I usually use for flip flops and water). Even when I have filled this rucksack with every possible item known to mankind, it still sits comfortably on my back and can fit easily into any standard locker. It also feels incredibly sturdy and will definitely last for years to come. I really do adore this rucksack and would highly recommend it to any swimmer out there who is struggling with a non-swimming rucksack to take to the pool.
The Speedo training aids are completely new to me. I’ve always been a very complacent swimmer who thought that all you really needed to do was get into a pool and just keep swimming back and forth, occasionally varying your stroke. As it turns out, I was wrong. I guess, much like running, you need to vary your sessions in order to improve sufficiently – which is where these aids come in really handy. It takes a while to get used to training aids as it isn’t something that feels natural, so it was a bit of a challenge using these at first. The power paddles really tire you out…just when you think you’ve nailed your swim technique they kick in and guide you into what should be your correct position. They are brutal but you feel brilliant afterwards knowing that you’ve come some way in improving your stroke. The pullkick is great too – you can either use it as a standard float to hold whilst you focus on your kick, or place it between your thighs to make your muscles work harder. You will feel the burn, but you’ll also feel like you’ve had the best workout of your life.
The women’s biofuse goggles are another firm favourite of mine. They’re specially designed to fit the female face and are remarkably comfortable. I usually suffer from the dreaded goggle imprint on my face after a swim, no matter how short the session, yet with these the goggle marks have disappeared within half an hour (perfect for when you swim before work!). I also haven’t had any problems with these leaking, which is something I usually struggle with as I have a ridiculously tiny face and nothing ever usually fits me. So, I’m really pleased with these so far.
The Aquacoach is something I’m still undecided on. I like the concept, and yes, it has served as a really good piece of equipment for counting my laps, speed, calories etc…and so far it has been incredibly accurate in recording my sessions. However I find the interface a little bit confusing at times and often press the wrong button and then can’t figure out how to get back to the main screen. There also doesn’t appear to be the functionality to sync this with another tracking site, ie. Strava, so I have to then input the details manually (when I can be bothered). Perhaps I’ve overlooked something – and if so, do tell me, but I just feel that with the speed in which technology is advancing, there must be a better watch out there to track your stats. That being said I am still really pleased with the watch and I wear it in almost every swim session, it also feels quite comfortable on my wrist and doesn’t interfere with my swim at all (apart my own curiosity wanting to check my stats every few laps…).
Overall, this is a superb swim kit and I am incredibly thankful to Speedo for sending it my way. Since I got back in the pool in November I have had some really great sessions and can definitely see that this has the potential to become my preferred sport in 2016.