Katie Ledecky

They may be uncomfortable at times and not the most flattering – but good swimming goggles are essential in improving your swimming. Irrespective of your goals, to either improve your recreational swimming or beat your personal best in a competitive environment, good swimming goggles can give you the edge. Below we’ve compiled four great reasons as to how and why goggles can improve your swimming.

One size doesn’t fit all

Goggles are built with a variety of features to best accommodate your preferred activity in the water. Much like you wouldn’t wear smart shoes to go running in, you shouldn’t use the same goggles for all activity types.

Pool goggles, for example, are extremely sleek and build for racing. The lenses are very small around the eye and the band thin across your head. This reduces drag and maximising how aerodynamic you’re through the water. When the race is likely to come down to tenths of a second, this minor improvement suddenly becomes rather large.

Conversely, when swimming in open water, goggles are maximised to improve your range of vision. Your surroundings in open water could potentially be a hazard as a swimmer is forced to constantly scan above the surface. The wider lenses and more durable and soft material allow for greater comfort and protection against more harsh conditions.

Be it recreationally or competitively, wearing for example pool goggles in open water not only surrenders a competitive advantage but also would not be the safest option. To improve your swimming make sure you have the goggles suited to the activity.

Improves clarity

Simply put, better lenses help you see better. They don’t fog up and are more resistant to scratches and damages. In a competition, this increased depth perception allows for increased judgement on when to begin turns – shaving valuable time off your result. It also allows for greater understanding of where competitors are in the water, enabling you to have an increased race awareness giving you another edge.

For that 50% of the Australian population that struggle with some form of an eye condition – manufacturers now make swimming goggles with prescription lenses. These are essential for any swimmers looking to improve. You wouldn’t expect peak athletic performance without your appropriate eyewear on land – so why would you expect the same in the water?

Improves your stroke

When learning to swim, or perfecting an already advanced stroke – technique is everything. When swimming correctly your head (or at least eyes) are submerged and only come up above the surface when you breathe. Poor goggles that allow water in are not only an inconvenience but prevent novice swimmers from improving. Take front crawl for example, if you swim with your head above the water as you’re concerned about the quality of your goggles – your body becomes more vertical and you begin to sink. The same with backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke. It is imperative to have goggles you can trust, submerge your head and remain horizontal and afloat to improve your swimming. It also allows you to remove tension from your neck and increase the stretch in your stroke.

Safety

It is stating the obvious – but our eyes are not designed to allow good vision in water, particularly saltwater or chlorine. Constant exposure through wearing poor goggles is not only a nuisance when swimming but it is also dangerous and can prevent further training and therefore improvement. Infection, particularly in open water from bacteria and debris is a serious threat. Equally constant irritation from chlorine can lead to ongoing eye conditions. It cannot be communicated strongly enough how necessary good goggles are for regular swimmers when it comes to maintaining strong eye health.

Whether competing in national championships or playing with friends at the local pool – good goggles are so important. They not only increase the capacity for better performance, but they also provide more comfort, durability and most importantly keep your eyes safe against the threats in the water.