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Ocean swimmer Ben Lecomte was lucky to escape serious injury after a face-first collision with the propeller on his support boat during his Longest Swim challenge.

Lecomte suffered cuts and scratches to his face after hitting the propeller during the 92nd day of his bid to swim 5,500 miles across the Pacific from Japan to San Francisco.

Only his snorkel prevented more serious damage, but the presence of Lecomte's blood in the water raised a concern over sharks so the Frenchman was immediately removed from the water.

The incident occurred after around eight hours of swimming which had seen the 51-year-old cover around 24 nautical miles.

He was carried forward by a large wave at the same time as a manoeuvre by the support RHIB which left a painful collision unavoidable.

"It was too late when I saw the grey side of the RHIB, my head was already by the propeller," Lecomte wrote on his blog.

"I felt my forehead hitting a hard surface and immediately grabbed it. I was hurting but it wasn't an excruciating pain. When I removed my hands, blood started to drip."

Lecomte was checked over by his crew, and it was decided the cuts did not require stitches. He was cleaned up, and called time on his day's swimming.

"In the evening during our meeting, we spoke about what happened earlier and Paul showed me the snorkel I wore during the crash," Lecomte added.

"The propeller made a big cut in the snorkel, right in front of my nose. Had I not worn it, my nose would have been split in half."

The next day the team had a day off from swimming to do maintenance work on both the support boat and Lecomte's wetsuits. He has been rotating between four TYR wetsuits depending on which was the dryest, and took time to glue any small tears and put patches on larger ones.

This week, Lecomte is hoping to reach the milestone of swimming 1,000 nautical miles. His route following the Kuroshio current has not been a straight line however, so the crew estimate it will be another two weeks before they are 1,000 nautical miles from the Japanese coast.

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Ellie Faulkner (right) pictured with Siobhan Marie O'Connor, Freya Anderson and Anna Hopkin with their 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medals. Photo: Team Bath

Ellie Faulkner has announced her retirement from competitive swimming at the end of a year which saw crowned European champion.

Faulkner was part of the women's 4x200m freestyle relay team that won a gold medal at last month's European Championships in Glasgow.

She swam the first split in 1:59.25 which laid the foundation for her British team mates Kathryn Greenslade, Holly Hibbott and finally Freya Anderson to bring home the gold.

Earlier in the year, Faulkner returned from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as a triple bronze medallist in the 400m freestyle as well as the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays.

"After an amazing career, I have made the decision to retire from competitive swimming," the 25-year-old announced on Twitter.

"I can honestly say the sport has created many ups and downs but it has helped give me the drive and determination I have today and for the future.

"I am lucky to have travelled the world doing something I love. I have achieved so much more in swimming than I ever dreamed of, having competed in two Olympic Games, World Championships, becoming a Commonwealth medallist four times and then a European champion, I couldn't be prouder.

"I am now looking forward to the next chapter of my life and walk away with great pride and a love for the sport that will always remain."

Faulkner made her Commonwealth Games debut for England at Glasgow 2014, where she claimed her first international medal with a bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay.

She also represented Great Britain at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

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Sarah Sjöström made an emphatic start to the defence of her FINA Swimming World Cup crown in Russia over the weekend.

Sjöström set three new World Cup records on her way to five victories at Kazan's Aquatics Palace, which hosted the first of eight legs in the 2018 series.

The Swedish swimmer set new competition bests in the 50m freestyle (23.83), 50m butterfly (25.39) and 100m butterfly (57.42). Her two other wins came in the 100m and 200m free.

Her performances earned her 60 points to give her a commanding early lead over Russia's Yuliya Efimova and Hungary's Katinka Hosszu.

Hosszu, who won the World Cup for five years in a row between 2012 and 2016, claimed five event wins in the 400m freestyle, 200m backstroke, 200m butterfly, 200m IM and 400m IM. Efimova took gold in the 50m and 100m breaststroke.

Chad le Clos is the defending men's World Cup champion, and he picked up a win in the 200m butterfly.

However it was Russia's Vladimir Morozov who set the pace after the first round, winning the 50m and 100m freestyle, and 50m backstroke. His two 50m swims were both World Cup records, 21.49 in the free and 24.43 in the back.

Morozov, the runner-up behind le Clos last year, currently tops the standings with 54 points from fellow Russian Anton Chupkov, who won the 100m and 200m breaststroke. Chupkov's 200m winning time was a new World Cup record of 2:07.59.

Russia claimed another couple of wins through Iaroslav Potapov in the 400m and 1500m freestyle. Other countries with gold medallists were:

  • Brazil - Felipe Lima (men's 50m breaststroke)
  • China - Chanzhen Zhou (women's 800m freestyle)
  • Netherlands - Kira Toussaint (women’s 50m and 100m backstroke)
  • USA - Blake Pieronimen (200m freestyle); Michael Andrew (men’s 100m butterfly)

The second leg of the 2018 FINA Swimming World Cup will be held in Doha later this week, from Thursday to Saturday. Like in Kazan, it will be held in a 50m pool. After that, the World Cup heads to 25m pools in Eindhoven, Budapest, Beijing, Tokyo and Singapore.

2018 FINA World Cup Women's Standings

1. Sarah Sjöström (Sweden) 60pts
2. Yuliya Efimova (Russia) 42pts
=3. Katinka Hosszu (Hungary) 36pts
=3. Kira Toussaint (Netherlands) 36pts

2018 FINA World Cup Men's Standings

1. Vladimir Morozov (Russia) 54pts
2. Anton Chupkov (Russia) 48pts
3. Michael Andrew (USA) 42pts

2018 FINA Swimming World Cup #1 - Kazan - Results

RESULTS

2018 FINA Swimming World Cup Schedule

1. Kazan (RUS) – September 7-9
2. Doha (QAT) – September 13-15
3. Eindhoven (NED) – September 28-30
4. Budapest (HUN) – October 4-6
5. Beijing (CHN) – November 2-4
6. Tokyo (JPN) – November 9-11
7. Singapore (SGP) – November 15-17

CLICK HERE TO SHOP OUR RANGE OF ARENA RACING AND TRAINING SWIMWEAR WORN BY SARAH SJOSTROM!

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Olympic silver medallist Chris Walker-Hebborn has urged aspiring young swimmers to never lack self belief if they want to achieve their goals.

Walker-Hebborn has just announced his retirement from competitive swimming, calling time on a career that saw him play a hugely successful part in England and Great Britain medley relay teams over the past decade.

The 28-year-old was part of the men's 4x100m medley relay team that won a silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

He also won a World Championship gold medal in Britain's 4x100m mixed medley relay team triumph at Kazan 2015, setting a new world record along with Adam Peaty, Siobhan-Marie O'Connor and Fran Halsall.

Walker-Hebborn won four European relay golds, and claimed a Commonwealth Games gold medal at Glasgow 2014 in the 4x100m freestyle.

As a backstroke specialist, Walker-Hebborn's greatest individual achievements came in 2014 when he won Commonwealth and European golds in the 100m backstroke.

"I have achieved more in swimming than I could ever have dreamed of when I was a young kid starting out in the sport," Walker-Hebborn posted on social media.

"I have won an Olympic medal, competed in a home Olympic Games, became a World, European, Commonwealth and British champion, and broke a world record.

"But more important than that, I've been able to travel the world and have a great time doing what I love.

"Lots of people told me I'd never be able to do it and, if there's one piece of advice that I can pass on to young swimmers or kids with a dream, it's to never stop believing in yourself. Give it your everything, and you never know where it may take you."

Bath-based Walker-Hebborn made his international debut at the European Junior Championships in Antwerp in 2007, and became a mainstay of the international scene for the next decade.

Chris Spice, British Swimming's National Performance Director, added: "Chris has been an outstanding member of the GB swim team and leaves our sport as an Olympic medallist, World Champion, European Champion, Commonwealth Champion, and he was also World and European record holder which very few athletes in their careers achieve.

"Not only was Chris was a great individual swimmer but he has been an integral part of our multi-medal winning medley relay teams over the past four years and he made a great contribution across the board.

"We wish Chris well in his future endeavours and I know if he applies himself to the next chapter of his life as well as he has with swimming, then he will be a great success."

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Huge developments in waterproof electronic technology over the past decade has opened up a whole new dimension for swimming training.

Traditional swimming training aids such as snorkels, pullbuoys, fins and paddles are still just as effective in helping to improve technique, strength and stamina.

But today's swimmer can also benefit from an innovative range of swimming gadgets that can freshen up and rejuvenate their training plan.

Not only can these pool gadgets make a long and tough training session more fun and enjoyable, but they can also provide instant feedback on your performance.

All swimmers will have experienced moments midway through a hard practice session where you feel like you've just had enough and want to get out of the water.

It can be particularly challenging if you're swimming on your own, rather than at a club training session. There is no coach to instruct or motivate you, and no clubmates to empathise with you. It's just you and the water.

Thankfully, there are a range of swimming gadgets now available that can make your swim more exciting and interesting.

Whether you want to monitor your performance during your solo swims, or you just want to listen to your favourite music to make the time go quicker, there is a wide variety of pool gadgets that can help.

We've picked our five best swimming gadgets that will help you get more out of your swim training.

FINIS Duo Underwater MP3 Player

If fatigue or boredom is starting to creep in to your swim session, having some of your favourite music playing may just be the difference needed to push on and complete those extra few lengths.

Listening to music with a rhythm could also help your stroke technique and timing.

For years, land-based athletes such as runners and cyclists have had the luxury of listening to MP3 players during training in the gym or on the road.

Well, now swimmers can too! The FINIS Duo is among the best waterproof MP3 players on the market, and has been designed with the swimmer's needs in mind.

It doesn't use ear buds, which can easily fall out of your ears during swimming. Instead, FINIS have developed an MP3 player that will clip to your goggle strap and use 'bone conduction audio transmission' to deliver high-quality sound to the inner ear via the cheekbones.

The FINIS Duo has 4GB of storage, which is enough space for up to 1,000 songs. It supports unprotected MP3 and WMA audio files, and has a simple control panel with one-touch buttons to help you easily adjust volume or skip tracks.

Another feature we love is the 'random play' option. It works the same way as your iPod's shuffle feature, and is perfect if you want to your next song choice to be a surprise.

"(Listening to music) can help improve the quality of your workout by increasing your stamina and putting you in a better mood," says Jenny Markell at the National Center for Health Research.

"In particular, music that is motivational or synchronized with your exercise is shown to have physical and psychological effects. The lyrics or catchy rhythm of motivational music inspires you to exercise longer or work harder during your exercise routine."

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Swimovate Poolmate 2

If you're swimming on your own, gone are the days when the only ways to record your number of lengths were by manually counting or by pressing a clicker at the end of each length.

Swim tracker watches can now do this job for you, along with providing a range of other statistics from your performance.

The Swimovate Poolmate 2 swimming watch will count laps, strokes, distance, speed, efficiency, duration, sets, rest time and calories. It's a real all-rounder and, at less than £70, you're getting real value for money.

Having all this information at your fingertips immediately after your swim is extremely useful.

Sometimes, it's motivating to see the results of your swim in black and white. You know exactly how much you've done, or how many calories you've burned. You can also use these stats as a target to chase the next time you're in the pool.

Another great feature of the Swimovate Poolmate 2 is its open water pedometer setting.

It has a battery life of around two years, and has space to store data from more than 50 swim sessions.

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Swimovate Poolmate HR

If you're looking for a more advanced version of the Poolmate 2, then check out this Swimovate Poolmate HR.

This swimming watch will let you read your heart rate while you're in the pool, and also download it after your session for further analysis.

All other data such as laps, strokes, speed, distance, calories, stroke length, strokes per minute and efficiency are also fully downloadable.

This means you can view all your stats on your computer or tablet, and see easy-to-understand graphical analysis. You can even share your swims on Facebook, and take part in virtual swim challenges.

Weighing just 67g, this swimming watch will not feel uncomfortable on your wrist. It comes with a chest belt and downloading/charging pod. The battery can be fully charged in two hours, and can last up to 30 days.

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FINIS Tempo Trainer

The FINIS Tempo Trainer is a really handy little swimming gadget and, for less than £35, it's a cost-effective way of helping with your pace training.

This small and waterproof gadget can be fitted under your swim cap or to your goggles strap, and acts as your very own electronic swim coach to help you with pacing.

It transmits a single beep which can be set to repeat anywhere between 0.20 and 99.99 seconds. You can then use it to train your pace down to 1/100th of a second, or use one of three training modes.

Stroke Mode will help you shape how many strokes you use per lap. To start with, you would set the FINIS Tempo Trainer to beep at your preferred interval times and do a stroke cycle every time you hear the beep.

In Lap Pacing Mode, you would set the device to beep at your preferred 25m lap time, so you should hear the beep as you finish your lap (and should swim faster or slower to stay on pace).

There is also a mode for strokes per minute, so you programme it for a set number each minute and then increase or decrease it according to your training needs.

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FINIS Swimsense Live

The FINIS Swimsense Live waterproof swimming watch works with the FINIS Live app, available on the Apple App Store and also on Google Play.

It will provide you with detailed analysis on laps, time intervals, pace, distance per stroke and calories, which can also be viewed on your smartphone or tablet.

This bluetooth-compatible watch has built-in algorithms to identify freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke and backstroke, and will accurately record intervals and distance for all of them.

The inclusion of bluetooth and the FINIS Live app sync adds a whole new dimension to a swimming watch, so this really is a fantastic training aid. It can last up to seven hours on a full charge, and can store up to 14 workouts. The app can store all summary data.

The FINIS Swimsense Live is an ideal training tool for any swimmer who wants to find extra motivation and make the most of every swim.

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What about a swimming stopwatch?

They may not have featured in our list of swimming gadgets, but the traditional swimming stopwatch is as important now as it's always been.

While swimming smart watches are perfect for when you're swimming on your own, they're not so useful for a coach watching your performance from poolside.

A professional swimming stopwatch is very much an essential part of the coach's inventory, as well as swimmers who train together.

Check out the Fastime 500DM Stopwatch (pictured). It can store up to 500 splits in its memory, and has four different timing options. You can also browse our entire stopwatch range by clicking the button below.

SHOP OUR FULL RANGE OF SWIMMING STOPWATCHES - CLICK HERE

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Ross Edgley has pushed his body and mind to the limit as he bids to swim 2,000 miles around the coast of mainland Britain.

His Great British Swim challenge has been fraught with danger since setting off from Margate in early June.

From huge waves, currents and tides in the water to injury, pain and sickness out of it, Edgley's incredible journey has been far from smooth.

The challenge, and the perils he has been forced to face head on, has captured the imagination of open water swimmers and the wider marine community worldwide.

Edgley, who is swimming in HUUB wetsuits and accessories for the duration of the challenge, is now approaching 100 days in the water. He's just rounded the tip of Scotland and will now head south back to the finish line at Margate.

Edgley recently set a new world record for the Longest Contiguous Stage Sea Swim after reaching day 74 without setting foot on dry land. He's got around 600 miles remaining to complete the challenge.

Here, we look at eight of the biggest dangers and obstacles Edgley has faced, and find out how he's been able to overcome them to continue this gruelling swim around the British coastline.

Sharks

"I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about sharing a swimming pool with a basking shark," said Edgley on his Red Bull vlog.

Luckily, basking sharks are known to be placid and are not known for attacking humans. But it's certainly still an intimidating sight to see a 20ft shark heading towards you!

As Edgley swam around the tip of the Scottish coast, he revealed that his biggest worry was encountering a killer whale and being mistaken for a seal in his dark-coloured wetsuit.

Jellyfish stings

During training for the Great British Swim, Edgley joked that he would grow a bushy beard to protect his face from jellyfish stings.

Sadly, the jellyfish weren't willing to wait and he suffered multiple stings to the face during the opening weeks of his swim along the English Channel.

"The first one wasn't so bad," Edgley said at the time."But once I took the tenth one straight to the face, I popped my head up. I turned to Dom, who was on the rib at the time, and said 'I'm swimming in jellyfish'.

"He laughed and said I was being dramatic. Then they got the big light, we got some footage and it was just crazy.

"It started to get to the point where my face was numb. It was stinging so bad, it was just throbbing."

Edgley has tried several methods of avoiding jellyfish stings, some more radical than others. The most unique was a protective face mask moulded using cling film, but this was quickly dismissed when it obscured his vision too much.

Extreme chafing

Within days of starting the Great British Swim, the effects of spending so long in the cold water quickly took their toll in gruesome fashion.

Edgley suffered several chafing wounds as his body adjusted to spending more than six hours a day in the sea, and none were more horrific than the wound that appeared on the back of his neck.

He jokingly referred to it as his 'rhino neck', but the pain and discomfort was intense and he was forced to cover it up with duct tape for several weeks while it healed with the help of anti-chafing cream.

Thankfully, such extreme instances of chafing are extremely rare as most open water swimmers don't plan to spend 100+ days in the water!

But if you do suffer from chafing or cracked skin, try HUUB Sport Luub. It's a great anti-chafing balm specifically designed for open water swimmers, and it also helps a wetsuit or tri suit to slide on and off far more easily.

Body Glide (pictured) also have a range of effective anti-chafing and moisturising creams that really help with treating those minor discomforts that come with wearing a swimming wetsuit for a prolonged period of time.

Salt tongue

An equally gruesome side-effect of spending so long in the water was the damage to Edgley's tongue.

In the opening month of the Great British Swim, he woke up to find chunks of his own tongue on his pillow. This was due to the effects of 'salt mouth' which left him struggling to eat, swallow or talk.

Edgley was able tear out huge lumps of his disintegrating tongue with his bare hands, which he demonstrated here on his Red Bull vlog. He managed to treat the condition with coconut oil.

Injured feet

Edgley has recently shared a picture on social media showing the shocking damage that the Great British Swim has done to his feet.

After three months in the water, he fears his feet will need some intense rehabilitation when he finishes the swim so he can learn to walk and run properly again.

The graphic image was just another example of the determination needed to overcome such a physically intense challenge.

Edgley did follow this message with a tweet to reassure his followers that he's coping well. He tweeted: "Getting SO many messages of support (about my feet) but honestly I am fine. We’re regularly doing medical checks and I'm healthy as a (sea) horse! And YES, in 600 miles I finish. I can touch land and I can get a pedicure."

A three-month sea swim may be an extreme example of what can happen to your feet, but there are foot protection options available for open water swimmers.

Swim socks such as the HUUB Swim Sock are great for providing extra warmth and support when swimming in the sea. They also have a split-toe design which helps swimmers to avoid 'rolling' on the foot.

You can also browse our full range of swimming wetsuit accessories for further ideas of how to improve your comfort and warmth.

Ships

Edgley had to swim his way across the world's busiest shipping lane after just two days of the Great British Swim.

Navigating his way across the Strait of Dover was a daunting start to the challenge after leaving Margate the previous day, but Edgley was expertly guided safely past the tankers and ferries by his support crew.

Physical fatigue

Strongman Edgley is no stranger to tough challenges, but the constant grind on the body of spending so long swimming is bound to take its toll.

The 32-year-old expects to make around 3 million swim strokes during the Great British Swim, and he's had several spells of shoulder pain to contend with. When this happens, he's been swimming shorter distances to allow for more physio and recuperation time.

Mental fatigue

It's not just the toll on Edgley's body that has a big effect on this swim challenge. It can also play havoc with the mind, having to constantly find the motivation to return to the water in the face of extreme pain and discomfort.

Edgley believes it's important to swim with a smile, and has revealed his philosophy behind mental strength when taking on an open water swimming challenge.

"There are a lot of studies on how your psychology affects your immune system – your body’s defence mechanism – and if you’re swimming angry all the time, cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, is going to go through the roof," he said.

"All sorts of biomechanical reactions are going to happen that mean your immune system is suppressed, which makes you more susceptible to illness.

"The very fact that I’ve got over 100 days to survive means that I really can't afford to be ill. So when you see me being all smiley and enthusiastic, that is important for motivation, but it's also important for my physiology and the biomechanical reactions going on inside my body. Studies show that it is better to swim with a smile."

Horrific conditions

Both the weather and sea conditions have conspired to make the Great British Swim a far tougher challenge than originally expected.

Edgley's target was to complete the 2,000-mile swim in 100 days but, as that milestone approached, he was still swimming down the east coast of Scotland.

Parts of the route have been particularly challenging, particularly the northern tip of Scotland, the mouth of the Bristol Channel and also Lyme Bay in Dorset.

"Trying to swim around there (Lyme Bay) in complete darkness, the tides and currents were so bad it forced us into the bay," Edgley explained on his Red Bull vlog at the time.

"We could have come back out and tried again to cut across, but there was no guarantee it was going to work, and we could have just wasted so much time.

"We decided to suck it up, swim all the way around, hugging the coastline, which has added so many more miles to the overall journey. Also, we were just eating waves constantly.

"On our best day, in 24 hours we were able to swim 30 miles. If you do 30 miles and you average that out, it means you get done in about 60 to 70 days. But again, that's all theory.

"Around Lyme Bay, in a 24-hour period I only managed to swim five miles. I was eating currents, the wind was not in my favour, I was getting stung by jellyfish from every angle. If you average that out, it equates to 400 days."

Keeping warm when swimming in the sea for prolonged periods is vital, particularly in poorer weather conditions. Items such as the HUUB Thermal Balaclava provides full head and neck coverage for warmth and extra comfort.

SHOP OUR FULL RANGE OF WETSUITS & ACCESSORIES FOR OPEN WATER SWIMMING, TRIATHLON & SWIMRUN - CLICK HERE

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Looking for a swim with a view? Then these pools are sure to be on your bucket list!

From spectacular alpine and forest scenery to stunning city skylines, our choice of the world's most amazing swimming pools offer unrivalled backdrops.

We've trawled Instagram to find pictures the most awesome swimming pools the world has to offer. They are sure to take your breath away.

We all love to swim, and we all put countless hours and hard work into producing our best swimming performances.

But how cool would it be to reward ourselves with a chilled session in one of these pools?

If our list below has you reaching for your passport and suitcase, you may want to consider a holiday in Bali, Greece or Switzerland. Each of these countries feature twice, and offer the most incredible backdrops from snowy mountain peaks to vast open lakes.

Or you could check out the San Alfonso del Mar resort pool in Chile if you're still planning on putting the work in. Be prepared to test your endurance — it is the world's largest swimming pool, and one length is more than 1,000 yards!


10 Most Awesome Swimming Pools in the World

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It might appear bulky and uncomfortable to wear at first, but using a training snorkel in the pool can help you make dramatic improvements to your swimming performance.

The swimming snorkel is an extremely versatile training aid that can be used to develop a variety of skills in the pool, benefiting everyone from beginners to advanced swimmers.

By providing a constant supply of oxygen while in the water, the snorkel allows swimmers to concentrate fully on what their body needs to do next, and not about how or when they're going to take their next breath.

When asked about essential training aids they would advise any swimmer to have in their swim bag, many top swim coaches from Bob Bowman to Dave Scott have spoken about the benefits of the swim snorkel.

They can be easily and effectively used to develop your body positioning and alignment, stroke technique and kicking, which will in turn increase your strength, stamina and speed.

So don't be put off by the fear of a swimming snorkel being uncomfortable or intrusive during your swim.

Sure, if you've never worn one before it will take a little while to get used to the feeling of swimming with it. But they are not as uncomfortable as you think, and you'll be surprised how quickly you get used to it.

The newest training snorkels on the market have been developed to consider comfort as much as performance, both in terms of how they fit on the head and how the mouthpiece feels on the gums.

Also, you'll soon feel the sensation of how your improved technique or position can help you glide through the water at an even greater and more efficient pace. That alone makes the snorkel a must-have training aid!

Here, we look at the five main areas you can improve on when using a training snorkel in the swimming pool.

5 Ways a Training Snorkel Will Help You Swim Faster

Fine tuning for your stroke technique

If you need to make improvements to your stroke technique, a training snorkel will give you the time and freedom to do so thoroughly.

The constant supply of air elimates the need to incorporate your breathing technique into your training, which allows full focus to be placed on your arm movements.

If your coach has given you some pointers to work on, you can get in the water with a snorkel knowing you'll have the time to address those issues properly.

You can also slow your swim down during this work, which also helps when fine tuning technique, and bring up your stroke rate gradually.

Improved head position and body alignment

Wearing a training snorkel is a really useful way of helping to keep your head in the correct 'neutral' position when swimming.

It can help you get comfortable in that neutral face-down position and iron out those bad habits of looking ahead or sideways.

"A lot of the swimmers I work with, their heads are up too high," said Dave Scott of FINIS. "They look like a periscope, and it drops their hips down and puts a lot of stress on their lower back. If they have a weak kick, they end up swimming like a mermaid."

It's particularly true of freestyle, and specialist products such as the FINIS Freestyle Snorkel have been designed specifically for this purpose.

They have a curved shape to assist with freestyle technique, and they empasise proper head alignment (if you're out of alignment, they will dip below the water level).

Training snorkels can be easily and effectively used for drills for any of the four main swimming strokes, even backstroke!

By encouraging a neutral head position and a horizontal body position, you'll soon get the feeling for this correct position and can teach your body and mind that this is the normal shape for swimming.

Stronger kicking technique

A training snorkel can be a very useful alternative to a kickboard when working on your kicks during a training session.

By using a snorkel instead of a kickboard, you'll be able to combine your kicking practice with the arm and shoulder movements of your usual swim stroke.

You can kick in a streamlined position for maximum focus on speed, or swim with your arms by your sides while simulating your shoulders and hips' rolling motions.

Bob Bowman, the long-time coach of Michael Phelps, said he's started using training snorkels for kick work. He explained: "I've recently got into using snorkels quite a bit when they're kicking, because that allows their head, neck and spine to be in a more natural swimming position.

"We'll use it with arms by their sides they can do rotational kicking. We also use it during pulling, because it keeps their head in line and they can really focus on technique."

Additional stability for your swim

One of the common bad habits swimmers can pick up is the tendency to move their head at the same time as their core, which usually should only be done when breathing.

Wearing a snorkel will force you to keep a straight head. If you continue to move your head from side to side, the tip of your snorkel will submerge in the water.

Both Bob Bowman and Dave Scott highlighted this issue as one of the instant benefits they spot when seeing a swimmer use a training snorkel.

"The thing that I think is best about it is the stability," said Bowman. "There's no side to side movement from when the athlete is swimming."

Scott added: "The advantage is that it keeps your head down and keeps it calm. If your head is nice and still, it also negates some of the wiggle that you get on the back end."

Improved lung capacity and cardiovascular strength

Many coaches will introduce what's known as a 'cardio cap' to snorkel training. This fixes onto the top of the snorkel's tube and limits the amount of air that is let in.

The purpose of this is to give the lungs an increased workout. It's known as hypoxic training, forcing stronger inhaling and exhaling to develop a deeper and more efficient breathing technique.

For the same reason, some swimmers have even been known to wear a training snorkel during their dry-land workouts!

FINIS Dave Scott's Swim Tips Why do I have a Swimmer's Snorkel in my gear bag - YouTube


5 of the Best Training Snorkels for Swimmers

FINIS Swimmer's Snorkel

The original centre snorkel from FINIS is still going strong as one of the best and most popular on the market.

FINIS were the first company to create and patent a centre-mount snorkel, and have continually developed the product to combine performance and comfort.

The FINIS Swimmer's Snorkel has a comfortable and quick-adjust head bracket, which delivers stability and stays firmly in place during all drills and flip turns. It is available in two sizes, for adults or juniors.

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FINIS Freestyle Snorkel

The FINIS Freestyle Snorkel has been developed for swimmers who want to focus on improving their freestyle or front crawl.

It features a new curved design to promote a lower head position and correct body alignment. Not only does this allow the swimmer to focus entirely on technique, it also eliminates any strain on the neck, back and shoulders.

Much like the FINIS Swimmer's Snorkel, this freestyle snorkel has a soft and comfortable silicone mouthpiece along with quick-adjust head straps.

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MP Michael Phelps Focus Snorkel

The MP Michael Phelps Focus Snorkel is the latest snorkel to come from the collaboration between Phelps and coach Bob Bowman.

It has been designed to reduce drag and offer easy breathing, while increasing cardiovascular strength and lung capacity.

The lightweight Focus features tough but easy-to-adjust straps, and a new 'comfo-bite' mouthpiece design which helps to prevent jaw fatigue by reducing the need to bite down heavily on it.

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Arena Swim Snorkel Pro

The most advanced product in the Arena training snorkel range is the Arena Swim Snorkel Pro, which continues the success of their original snorkel.

Designed with the intermediate or advanced swimmer's needs in mind, this professional version delivers exceptional stability even at high speeds.

To assist with comfort and performance, the Swim Snorkel Pro comes with two sizes of silicone mouthpieces along with two different resistance tops so you can vary your cardiovascular workout.

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Jaked Frontal Snorkel

The Jaked Frontal Snorkel is another really popular choice due to its performance and comfort.

It is easy to wear and helps to lower the position of the swimmer's head naturally while providing a full range of motion and perfect stability.

If you're not at an official swimming club training session, we'd always recommend checking with your local pool before taking your snorkel in with you. Many swimming pools forbid the use of snorkels during public swim sessions.

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Swim Tips with Bob Bowman - Training with Snorkels - YouTube

FIND GREAT DEALS ON ALL SWIMMING TRAINING SNORKELS - CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL RANGE

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Photo: Kelvin Trautman

It's taken half a million strokes and he's burned nearly 100,000 calories, but Lewis Pugh is poised to complete his astonishing 350-mile English Channel swim challenge today.

Pugh is due to reach his destination at Dover's Shakespeare Beach at around 1.30pm this afternoon.

When he arrives, he'll become the first person to swim the entire length of the English Channel wearing nothing but Speedo trunks, goggles and a swimming cap.

Pugh set off from Land's End in Cornwall 49 days ago. He's spent more than 100 hours in the water and suffered countless jellyfish stings along the way.

Bad weather off the Kent coast threatened to delay his finish, but the 48-year-old scheduled a gruelling three swim sessions within a 36-hour period to get back on track. That included a 10km swim in the middle of the night.

"When I said that I would work night and day to finish this swim, I wasn't exaggerating," Pugh wrote in his daily blog. "We left the harbour at 9.30pm last night, for a 1am swim this morning.

"It was a special swim, everyone in the team each held a torch to light my way. There were no jellyfish. The sea was happy, with small waves pushing me forward in the right direction.

"There was a real sense of togetherness onboard, with a palpable sense of an ending and one of achievement.

"We have been on an adventure full of the most extreme highs and lows, and now that the end was in sight, it was spurring on every member of the team.

"Whenever I paused to catch my breath, the team would belt out 'it's coming home' at the tops of their voices and dance along the port deck, waving torches and glow sticks wildly.

"It made the night's swim go by so much quicker than any of the others have done. Two hours felt more like 20 minutes. Without really noticing it, I had covered 6.86 miles (11km)."

Photo: Kelvin Trautman

Pugh was joined on Tuesday morning's final long swim by Keith Oiller and Michael Jennings of the Channel Swimming Association (CSA).

Pugh has followed all CSA regulations for the duration of the swim. This includes the requirement to wear nothing but trunks, goggles and a cap, as well as rules on support swimmers and writing logs for each swim.

When he arrives at Shakespeare Beach, the traditional starting point for cross-Channel swims to France, he'll reveal his motivations behind the swim.

"There's another reason I don't swim in a wetsuit, whether it's in the Antarctic or the English Channel – I'm delivering a message about the vulnerability of our seas," he said before setting off from Cornwall.

"If I'm going to urge politicians to take the hard decisions and be courageous, I have to be courageous too. And I am urging them to be courageous now, by getting serious about ocean protection.

"Our world needs clean and healthy seas. And we are the only ones who can make that happen.

Lewis Pugh completes The Long Swim - Interactive Map

Lewis Pugh's Longest Swim in Numbers
  • 500,000 swim strokes
  • 98,000 calories burned
  • 350 miles covered
  • 14°C to 18°C average water temperature
  • 49 days duration
  • 3 items of swimwear
  • 30% of world's oceans to be fully protected by 2030, which is Pugh's aim

SHOP THE FULL SPEEDO SWIMWEAR RANGE HERE

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Adam Peaty. Photo: British Swimming

Adam Peaty has hit back at FINA's use of his image to promote the upcoming Swimming World Cup in Kazan – because he has no plans to compete in the series.

There has been a lot of criticism that the social media post shared by FINA on Instagram was misleading people into thinking breaststroke superstar Peaty would be appearing.

The post shows a picture of Peaty accompanied by the quote: "Do you think you've seen it all? Then wait until I get back to the pool at the FINA Swimming World Cup! So excited to race!"

The post then goes on to say: "@adam_peaty could be saying something like that, don't you think? 7 September we would love to see you all in Kazan! First leg of the SWC is around the corner!"

Many fans had not noticed the follow-up message, and assumed Peaty was scheduled to compete at the meeting. Peaty himself was forced to reply to the Instagram post, confirming that he would not be there.

The five-time world champion and reigning 100m breaststroke Olympic champion has long been a critic of the FINA Swimming World Cup, and has regularly said he wouldn't compete in it unless there were major changes made.

The short course series begins just a few weeks after the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow, where Peaty set a new world record in the 100m breaststroke on his way to four gold medals.

In response to the news about his image appearing, Peaty this week tweeted: "Maybe they need to put them (the World Cup rounds) at a time of year when people want to race as well as 50/50 SC (25m pool) and LC (50m pool)."

This week, he was quoted in The Times as saying: "The World Cup isn't working. It is ridiculous and embarrassing.

"They should put that money to good use anywhere else in the sport. It's completely the wrong time of the season for me and for most swimmers. No one turns up to it and that's why they put so much money into thinking that people will have to come to make a living. But they don't."

Prize money at the FINA World Cup sees series winners receive $150,000 (about £116,000). Winnings have the potential to increase to to $500,000 (£388,000) with other prizes and record bonuses on offer.

The first leg in Kazan will be held on September 7-9. After that, the series has rounds in Doha, Eindhoven, Budapest, Beijing and Tokyo before coming to a conclusion in Singapore on November 15-17.

SHOP THE FULL RANGE OF ARENA RACING SWIMWEAR AS WORN BY ADAM PEATY - CLICK HERE

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