As much as all the gear excited me, it came with the requirement to go forth and swim. I really like to swim but I cannot abide all the faff associated with swimming – changing, drying and of course the discarded plasters and hair accumulating in the communal showers.
Streatham re-opened their new swimming pool last month, after the original was sacrificed for a mammoth Tesco store. Being less than a month old I thought it would be lovely clean place to reintroduce myself to public swimming.
I was wrong. The changing rooms were smelly and hairballs skittered across the tiles like tumbleweed. I wished my speedo accessory pack included sandals but alas, I had to hop from one clean-ish spot to another until I reached the relative tranquility of the pool.
The pool at least was a joy, light bright and delightfully empty, which meant I was free to play with my embarrassing arsenal of swim gear without feeling like too much of a wally.
I took the fins, which are mini flippers that strap over the toes and a set of paddles which are plastic plates that sit in your hands and enable you to apply greater resistance as you cut through the water. The fins were amazing and I would nominate fused toes for our next evolutionary development, although they may not help with running.
I timed a few laps with and without the gadgets and despite being a bit useless with the tumbleturn as the flippers slid down the tiled walls I was significantly faster with the fins and paddles than without.
The speedo website looks to have been improved recently. As well as showcasing some fab products it now includes a whole section on technique, with videos and tips to help you improve your strokes. I used it to fathom out how to use the finger paddles.
Speedo have also released a great swimming app, called Get Speedo Fit. I’ve been really impressed with the app. I’ve tried swimming gadgets before, moving through the swimsense watch to the Garmin 910XT, both of which count laps in a “relatively” accurate fashion but don’t offer much else in terms of swim specific interest. The Get Speedo Fit app adds an additional level of graphical feedback and motivation by setting map based challenges. The app is able to identify your local swimming pool and determine the pool length, although you do have to count your own laps.
I appreciated the visual challenge and would be interested in a running app that would plot my journey across a suitably inspiring expanse but for now I’ll settle for swimming along the Thames.
I selected the Thames River challenge as its a manageable distance, requiring me to swim 3,945m from Westminster to Tower Bridge, but I could have been more ambitious and opted for the Suez Canal or English Channel challenge. I managed about half a kilometre before braving the changing rooms again. I’ve got another 3.5k to go so I’m either going to have buy a pair of flip flops or find another pool to complete my challenge in.