The joy of swimming with fins for the first time will never be forgotten by any swimmer. There’s the added surface area of the fines to supercharge kicking, and the speed granted by wearing fins that makes you feel a little bit more fish-like than you already do. If there’s anything that swimmers of all abilities love when wearing fins, it’s the ability to go really, really fast.
Basically, swimming with fins is the best – you can reach speeds you’d never reach normally with your regular feet, making the moment the coach writes ‘with fins’ on the whiteboard close to the happiest moments of your life!
But it’s more than speed – swimming with fins can improve ankle flexibility and improve a swimmer’s ability to perform the up kick. It’s actually good training for swimming without fins, too.
Flippers can also increase your strength in your legs due to resistance training and help ease the pounding your shoulders take during a swim. When suffering from swimmers’ shoulder, you may be recommended to use fins for a while!
Here are the best tips for swimmers training with fins, to maximize the benefits of our fake flippers!
1. Wait until you are in the water to don your flips
Swimmers aren’t known of as the most graceful of athletes, and nothing makes this more obvious than when they are staggering across the pool deck with their flippers on. Don’t be too eager – flippers should be put on when you are almost in the water. “They’re almost impossible to walk in (they are flippers, after all) and there’s no grip to them, so they’re actually a slip hazard. Besides saving your dignity, waiting until you are in the water or on the size of the pool might save you a bad fall!” exclaims Annie Jones, a health writer at Writinity.com and Lastminutewriting.com.
2. Size matters
You should be aiming for flippers that are proportionate to your body. It might be tempting to try and grab the biggest set you can find when the coach calls for fins – but the longer and bigger the fine, the slower you can kick. Choose a shorter pair of fins and you’ll find you have the same speed effects and strength-building benefits of fins, without compromising your kick tempo.
3. Be ready to Blister
One big drawback of rubber fins is that they will cause blisters. Silicone fins are much softer and will rub less on your skin. Another way to prevent blisters is to wear socks under your fins – an old pair will do, and they will really reduce the number of blisters you will get when swimming. And we all know how painful blisters can be!
4. Fins are not always appropriate
Although they are mega fun, fins are not actually always appropriate attire. For example, at some swim meet warm-ups fins are not allowed, and sometimes at lap swims they are discouraged, too. “This is only fair – when one swimmer is torpedoing across the pool, it can be irritating and even unsafe for other swimmers. Think of the massive waves swimming with fins can cause – and have a little sympathy for those poor swimmers, sans fins, struggling along in your wake!” Says Andrew James, a sports blogger at Draftbeyond.com and Researchpapersuk.com.
Always check with your pool whether fins are okay or not, and you can even ask other swimmers in the pool if they mind you donning your flippers. Chances are, they won’t mind if you ask!
5. Fins are not a remedy for a bad kick
Becoming a skilled swimmer is really hard – much harder than non-swimmers give swimmers credit for! Fins can become a crutch for a bad kick, and you should be aware of this happening. To develop superior kick fitness, you will most likely need to spend a lot of time and energy on the kickboard, and to build a really fast flutter kick or dolphin kick takes a whole lot of work.
It can be tempting to use fins to make up for a lack of kicking fitness, but don’t be tempted – using fins to avoid doing regular kicking will never see your kick fitness improve! Fins should be a tool for a specific purpose, and to develop yourself as a swimmer, but not as a way to avoid learning and improving your kick work.
Andrew J. Best is a marketing specialist, teacher at Luckyassignments.com and Gumessays.com. He enjoys reading and writing on different aspects of management, business, finance, and marketing. He helps clients optimize costs and increase the revenue of their business.