This guide is aimed for anyone who is interested in finding out what artistic swimmers use in their training sessions,
for anyone thinking of diving into this beautiful sport without knowing where to start and for all beginner coaches and swimmers that are looking for some guidance regarding the equipment used in synchro training. From my experience, some more advanced athletes would also benefit from this guide to be fully prepared for their training.
The first section will be dedicated to artistic swimming attire needed for training sessions in the water. Then I will describe different types of equipment that synchro beginners will need for their land and water training.
"A winning effort begins with preparation." - Joe Gibbs
Artistic Swimming Attire
In this section you will find my recommendations on the best swimming hats, googles, swimming suits and nose clips for artistic swimming training.
Generally, I would not recommend suits that have many strings and need constant adjustments. This will disrupt the flow of your training and may affect your performance, since you will be worrying about the strings coming off when you swim.
The most popular choice in the artistic swimming community is a one piece swimming suit that is comfortable and suitable for the demands of the sport. That means it is best if it's made of a chlorine resistant material and its design offers flexibility and freedom of movement.
For training in outdoor pools during the summer artistic swimmers use a sport bikini.
It should maintain the same principles and standards as a one piece swimsuit.
Men should wear trunks that will not limit their leg movement. This means that I would generally recommend swimming briefs instead of long trunks. Trunks that are too long may be uncomfortable when going upside down and will limit swimmer's range of motion.
The most commonly used suits by male and female artistic swimmers are from brands like Speedo, Arena or Funkita.
When choosing your swimming cap you should pay attention to its material and the comfort of wearing. You don't want your cap to keep slipping and falling off during your artistic swimming practice.
The best caps for your training would be made of silicon, which, allows elasticity and comfort of use. They usually do not slip off the athletes' head when they go upside down and are comfortable enough to wear for an extended period of time. The best part is that they come in various colors and designs. So have some fun and pick your favorite one.
Some men training artistic swimming would also require to wear a swimming cap. In general it is mostly advisable for men with long hair, so they can train comfortably without their hair getting in the way of their practice. That being said, I've also seen male artistic swimmers with short hair using swimming caps during their practice. Therefore, the choice is yours to make!
Swimming goggles come in various shapes and colors. The main point you should be paying attention to when picking your pair is their comfort and visibility.
I would highly recommend a clear pair of googles instead of dark lenses. This will improve the visibility under the water, so you never miss your spot in the pattern. Additionally, it is a good practice to adjust the straps of your new goggles before your training in the water. You do not want to waste your training time for this task!
If your goggles get foggy quickly, don't hesitate to use an anti fog spray before your practice.
This is an essential piece in an artistic swimmers' equipment. The best nose clips are fairly comfortable to use (although it takes some time to get used to them) and they prevent water from entering your nose or air from escaping when upside down.
I would highly recommend a light pink, stainless steel and rubber nose clips. You can adjust them by applying pressure to make them smaller or pull from both sides to make them bigger. They also come in different sizes from small to large to fit all kind of nose. In my opinion these nose clips are the best during the competitions as they are not as visible to the judges as the blue or black ones.
Some artistic swimmers are able to swim without their nose clips!
This skill is highly practical when your nose clip falls off your nose during your routine.
It is generally not recommended to swim without one (especially under the water) for long periods of time, as some amounts of water will get into your breathing system and may cause pain in your sinuses and lead to extensive coughing.
If you are interested in learning artistic swimming basics check my online course out!
Equipment for land training
Here I will describe in more depth three pieces of equipment that all beginners need for every session. I will talk about yoga mats, yoga blocks and different types of elastic bands recommended for artistic swimmers.
This piece of equipment is essential for any type of training ranging from flexibility to strength workouts. The purpose of the mat is to make your workouts more comfortable, especially when performing the exercises on the ground. So you do not have to lie on a hard surface but have a little bit of cushioning instead.
There is a vast amount of different types of yoga/workout mats that you can pick from. They usually vary in their thickness, design, colors and the material they are made of. When purchasing yours pay attention to the slipperiness level for your own safety during the workouts. The mat should stick to the ground and should allow for free movement even when you get sweaty.
It is important to mention that many artistic swimmers have to travel to different pools every week or even change their workout place at least twice a day. That's why I would recommend to pick a yoga mat that is not too bulky and uncomfortable to carry around.
Some of you may be surprised here but I view yoga blocks as equipment that is essential for any land training. They are especially valuable when it comes to flexibility sessions but I also like to get creative and use them for some of the strengthening and balance exercises.
The variety of yoga blocks you could purchase is extremely varied from the ones made of cork to just regular synthetic ones. My main recommendation would be to pick the ones that are quite durable and light. The reason for that is that most of the swimmers have to carry a lot of equipment for each practice and heavy objects become a burden when added up in their backpack.
Many novice swimmers get very confused when it comes to purchasing the correct elastic bands for artistic swimming practice. Since there is a lot of different types of elastic bands on the market varying in length, thickness, shape and resistance, the task of finding the one that would suit your synchro needs can be overwhelming.
When it comes to choosing a correct band for the land training it all depends on the exercises you are planning to do.
The most commonly used elastic bands in the artistic swimming community are the long, silicon ones as they allow you to stand on top of them and hold their ends with your hands. They come in various colors that indicate different resistance levels. In general I would recommend to choose medium resistance to start with and upgrade the resistance of your band once you progress.
It is worth pointing out that the main mistake a lot of athletes make is: buying a band that is too short and too stiff, so it limits greatly their range of motion.
*This is not a promotional recommendation. I am not associated with this company in any way. I just really like their products.
Equipment for water training
This chapter will cover all basic equipment needed for synchro training in the water. I will mention equipment like swimming noodles, pull buoys, kicking boards and water canisters.
This type of equipment is usually freely available at all public pools and most synchro clubs own some as well. Nevertheless, it is usually a good idea to own one if you train by your own and if you are just starting your synchro journey. This equipment will accompany you further in your development as a swimmer!
Swimming noodles come in different colors and lengths. When it comes to synchro training, longer noodles are much better than the shorter ones in my opinion. It is simply because they can also serve you as a floating belt when needed and support you in skills like eggbeater or help you train your vertical alignment. This is especially important as it takes away the need to focus and worry on what your arms should do in that moment .
This photo illustrates how to make a floating belt out of the noodle.
Another piece of equipment that is widely available for everyone to use at many pool facilities. They usually come in different colors and some of them are designed differently than others. That's why it is always good to have your own in case your swimming pool does not have the particular design that you need.
That being said I always recommend pull buoys that are equally shaped on both sides. You may have encountered pull buoys that are significantly bigger on one side. This would not suit artistic swimmers too well as many exercises require a more even surface and shape for this swimming equipment.
You may have seen this equipment at your local pool and now you are propably wondering how this swimming apparatus can be helpful in artistic swimming training. Well, it is a floating device, therefore, it is extremely helpful in some of the synchro drills. For some exercises you will even require two kicking boards!
They usually come in different colors and some of them have a hole at the top of the board. This allows the swimmers to place their hands in the hole and rest their elbows during some of the swimming exercises. For artistic swimming training this feature in not necessary and I prefer to use the boards that are fully covered. This gives more resistance when the pressure is applied as water has no way to enter the top of the board.
This essential piece of beginner equipment may come as a surprise. You do not need fancy canisters. The five liters canisters that are used to store some cleaning liquids or soap would be perfect for the job! Just make sure they are completely empty and cleaned before you use them in the water. You do not want any cleaning detergents getting to the pool's water by mistake.
This floating device is perfect if you wish to practice your body position and alignment without worrying of what your arms should do in that moment.
Make sure that the top of the canister is well covered so no water gets in.
I would also recommend covering the handles with some soft tape, as the plastic that the bottles are made of will be rubbing against your skin, which may feel very unpleasant and uncomfortable.
Choosing correct equipment for your artistic swimming lessons is a very important task. Nevertheless, it may be very difficult to firstly know what you need to buy and to then choose the best equipment that will serve you best. I hope that this short guide made this daunting task a little bit easier so you can focus on what is the most important - your synchro lessons!
If you are looking for a knowledgeable coach with many years of experience to guide you through exercises that you can do with your new equipment, feel free to book a trail session with me. It is a free 40 minutes land session, where we can focus on particular skills that you struggle with. For this session I can design a unique workout tailored to your needs and I can answer all your synchro related questions.
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About the author
My name is Agata and I have been an artistic swimming coach for over seven years. I have coached athletes from various countries from all age categories and levels of proficiency in the sport. Before sharing my knowledge online I have gained experience as a coach and a judge in various countries in Europe. I was a head coach for master swimmers in one of the clubs in London, leading the team to 6th place at the World Championships. I also worked as an assistant coach for the Youth and Junior National Teams in Switzerland and participated in the first Youth World Championship as an Icelandic soloist's coach. In 2021 I have been a head coach for the U10 category and dominated at all competitions throughout the season in all categories. I have obtained my masters degree in psychology at the University of Derby in the UK.
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