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by The Professionals at FINIS Inc

April 26, 2009

"With the Swimmer's Snorkel I accomplish in 20 minutes what used to take 3 full sessions." ----
-David Amato, Swim Coach, Triathlon Academy

How Do I Get Started?

Swimming with the snorkel is easy. However, even the most advanced swimmers will need to get used to swimming with and breathing through the snorkel prior to use during any challenging set. Breathing naturally, learning to inhale and exhale powerfully to clear the snorkel are the main functions the athlete will need to master and it may take a while to become accustomed to breathing in only through your mouth.

A popular program is to incorporate the snorkel into every practice's warm up and warm down sessions. Before every practice warm up for 500 yards using the snorkel. This will help to maintain proper alignment throughout the entire practice. After every practice, warm down for 500 yards using the snorkel. Using the snorkel when most fatigued will strengthen the athlete's muscle memory and improve his or her overall results.

The Swimmer's Snorkel can be worn during flip turns but is designed to alert the swimmer of improper form during execution (it will rotate or wiggle to let the athlete know that his or her streamline is not in line, providing instant feedback on what needs to be improved). The snorkel will remain steady if a quick and proper streamline from the turn is completed. When you near the surface of the water, blow out hard to clear the snorkel. Let any remaining water exit through the purge valve. To avoid water going up the nose, one should exhale mainly through the nose. If excess water does get into the snorkel, one will want to blow out hard until all water is clear. If water persists in going up the nose, you may find it helpful to use a nose clip.

For the benefit of preventing the spread of illness it is recommended that each swimmer use his or her own snorkel. If snorkels are to be shared, rinsing the snorkels in a bucket of pool water and rubbing alcohol is a fair disinfecting solution.

To learn more about the benefits of the FINIS Swimmer's Snorkel or to watch the technical training video, click here!


Favorite Drills

Practicing drills while using the front-end snorkel can help to enhance body balance and hip/hand timing.

"A center mounted snorkel eliminates the head turn in the breathing cycle so that the swimmer can devote full attention to body alignment, complete and symmetrical long axis rotation, and arm stroke pattern. An increased cardiovascular workout will also result when training with the snorkel. There are a few drills that emphasize these benefits."
     -Richard W. Quick
      Head Coach, Auburn Swimming

Balance Drill
Keep your arms at your sides and maintain a moderate, but steady kick. Adjust the head to a positive alignment, while pressing the chest and rotating the hips forward to get complete balance from the head down the spine and rest of body. Swim 25 yards, exaggerating your chin way up. Next, swim 25 yards, exaggerating your chin way down. Finally, swim 25 yards where your chin falls to its natural position. This should help you find the correct head and body position that provides the greatest sensation of forward motion.

Shark Drill
A great drill with the snorkel is called the shark drill. While maintaining a steady kick, begin to stroke with one arm and leave the other one in front. Recover slowly with a high elbow and delay in the shark fin position for six kicks on the side. Remember to keep a good balance and an aligned head position throughout the rotation and during the six- kick delay. To really get the feel for good body roll, try a simple kicking drill. With your arms at your side, let head rest in a neutral position. Maintain a steady kick, and slowly rotate the body all the way on its side while keeping arms stills and spine aligned. This drill helps exaggerate hip rotation, the most basic form of propulsion in the freestyle stroke. Resume stroke and repeat drill on opposite side.

Backstroke Head Position Drill
Rotate the tube 180 degrees and have athletes swim with a steady head position for 2 lengths of the pool. If head position is steady, coaches will see, and swimmer will feel the rigidity of the snorkel as they swim down the pool. If head position is not steady, coaches will see, and swimmers will feel the snorkel moving from side to side while swimming down the pool.

Head Lead Drill
Arms at sides, moderate but steady kick, rotating side to side with the head still. Maintain the positive alignment while rotating around the long axis. With the head positively aligned forward, rotation is complete when the hip and shoulder is out of the water.

Streamline Kicking without Board
With dolphin, flutter, or breaststroke kick. Work on streamline, body position, and alignment.


"In my opinion, the timing of the breath and the twisting of the body while taking a breath is both distracting and destructive when learning proper body balance and hip/hand timing. By using the front-end snorkel during this series of drills the swimmer is free to focus on specific rehearsal points. We use the front-end snorkel everyday, every workout. During our warm-up we include a sculling series that sets up body position and initial hold on the water; and rehearses the hip/hand connection to the water."
-Mike Bottom
Head Coach of World Sprint Team, Former Sprint Coach UC Berkeley Men's Swimming


Suggestion Sets

  • 50 kick / 5- swim, same stroke:
    8 x 100 - 50 kick (without board) & 50 Swim 50 Swim Choices: Flutter/Free, or Dolphin/Fly - all 8 the same way.
    Descend 1-3, 4-5, 7-8
  • Freestyle Set:
    8 x (1 x 100 Short Rest, 2 x 25 Sprint @ :40)
    100's: Easy to moderate effort concentrating on technique, head and body position and rotation
    25's: Sprint maintaining technique established in the 100's.
  • 25's / 50's Sprint Free from Middle of Pool:
    Approach the wall at race speed. As feet plant on wall, arms must be up and streamlined - with tube secured between and up through arms. Encourages early setting of streamlined arms and body position for direct push off the wall. If arms are not set in a good streamline following a turn, the snorkel tube will wiggle or turn to let you know streamline can be improved.
  • 9 x 100, 50 kick (without board) 50 swim (50 flutter/50 free or 50 dolphin / 50 fly, but all 9 the same way); descent 1-3, 4-6, 7-9.
  • 8 x {1 x 100 short rest, 2 x 25 sprint @ 40}; 100's easy to moderate effort, concentrating on technique, head and body position, and rotation; 25's sprint while maintaining technique established on 100's.

Get additional training tips or register to win a FREE Swimmer's Snorkel now at WWW.FINISINC.COM