Swimsuits and goggles are required. Everything else is optional.
It can be difficult to find swimming equipment locally. Here are
some reliable online from the sources:
| Swim Outlet
Usually has the best prices
||Kiefer Large online
Swim Shop Online with a retail store in
North Reading, MA
(check website for store hours)
Sphere Online Store - Alpha Fins Alpha Fins are usually less expensive
elsewhere, but sometimes it's difficult to find the right size
Required for all programs. There are hundreds of models,
so one of them will fit you comfortably. Have a pair before your
If you wear glasses, note that there are many inexpensive (under
$20) prescription goggles available online. See the resources above.
Here is a link to a pretty good video on goggle fitting (not an
Goggle Fitting Video (on Facebook)
Optional but highly recommended. Fins will teach
you to kick stronger, better, sooner. Also, when working on technique,
fins allow you to focus on almost any aspect of the stroke without
having to worry about stalling
For freestyle and backstroke, I highly recommend Alpha Fins from
Aqua Sphere (top). Because they float, these fins keep your feet
and legs closer to the surface, which really helps newer swimmers
experience and adapt to proper body position. The second choice
is the BLUE (not red) Zoomers from Finis (bottom).
For butterfly you should use longer fins like the Alpha Fins. If
you want to learn all strokes, and only want to invest in one pair
of fins, go for the Alpha Fins.
Several odd-looking fins have been made for breaststroke, but currently
none are recommended.
Do not use scuba or snorkeling fins, which are too long and heavy
to use with the standard strokes.
Front Mount Swimmer's Snorkel
Optional. Using a front-mount snorkel removes breathing
as an issue when mastering other essential skills. It allows you
to perform virtually all of the basic posture and stroking drills
without worrying about how to get that next breath of air. The Freestyle
Snorkel and the Swimmer's Snorkel (both from Finis) are
the only front-mount snorkels we have used. For triathletes, other
endurance swimmers, and freestylers, the Freestyle Snorkel is OK,
but if you want to do butterfly, you need the (more expensive) Swimmer's
Snorkel, as it allows a deeper head position. (More
Freestyler Hand Paddles
Optional. These help to burn in good hand placement,
movement and anchoring. Do not ever use paddles to pull hard
and yank your shoulders out of their sockets! The Freestyler hand
paddles from Finis have a nice feature not found in most other paddles:
a skeg that helps to keep your hand moving forward, which can help
you to overcome or avoid altogether the slipping and sliding about
of the hands that often happens when working on freestyle technique.
Optional. This is a waterproof metronome that you put in
your cap or under your goggles strap. It helps you to perform the
right movements at the right time. As the Duke
used to say, "It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing."
You can also use the Tempo Trainer to monitor your running cadence
(so don't throw away that clip-on holder).