No matter if you are a beginner or an experienced swimmer, what to bring to the pool for a workout is very similar. Here’s a checklist of what to bring for a pool workout:

The Essentials:

You may find this funny, but I can’t tell you how many times I walked out of my house without either my bathing suit or my towel. So here’s my list of essentials on what to bring to the pool for a workout:

  • Bathing suit (I like ROKA, TYR or SPEEDO)
  • Towel
  • Earplugs and nose plugs (if you use them)
  • Sable goggles (or whatever goggles you like to wear)
  • Headphones for the water (I love swimming with headphones.)
  • Zealios shampoo, conditioner, and body wash (I don’t like using what they have at the pool. Zealios leaves me feeling fresh and smelling amazing — like I was just in Hawaii on a vacation!)

At the Pool:

The pool is broken into different segments. There is a warm-up, a preset, main set, post set and then the cool down.

During the warm-up, I like to swim for between 300 and 500 yards before starting the workout. During the presets, I love using my swim toys. These include:

Fins –

I love the Aqua Sphere Fins. They are important because they hold your body up and enable you to focus on your kick. Take short quick strokes with your legs. Don’t bend your knees and kick from the hips.

Paddles –

Using paddles during the swim workout is important. They help you focus on the way your hand enters the water and then pulls the water. By doing this, you can feel the pull. When you stop using the paddles, you can really feel the pull. When your hand enters the water, make sure to enter with your middle finger. Then when you pull, make sure your elbow is high in the water to get a good catch to bring you forward in the water.

Pull Buoy –

You use the pull buoy to continue your focus on the pull, which for us triathletes is the most important part of the stroke. You also use it to practice buoyancy. When you are in the open water, you will be using a wet suit and the buoyancy is similar to that of a pull buoy. Another option is the Roka swim sim shorts. These are shorts that offer buoyancy and emulate a wetsuit in the pool.

Kickboard –

A kickboard is great because you can use it in front of or behind you. Extend your arms out while you use it and try to keep your head in the water. Take quick kicks keeping your legs straight.

The Main Set

During the main set, you can do speed drills or you can just work on endurance. And then after the main set, there’s the cooldown. Do an easy 100 to 300 yards. (In a follow-up blog post I’ll offer some swim sets that I love.)

There are lots of other tools that you can use to help improve your stroke. But, the most important thing to remember is, get in the water as often as you can. Take lessons. Join a masters swim program. And, don’t stress in the water. Pretend you are a fish and just enjoy each stroke. The more you get in the water, the better you will do.

Happy swimming!