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View Full Version : How do you know what fin is right for you?



cathlaur
September 25th, 2007, 02:55 PM
Hey everyone

I started swimming this Sept. I bought a pair of Kiefer silicone training fins and I think I like them ( they are very comfortable). Most of the people at the pool I swim with are using the speedo optimus training fins. So what ones are better? Or does it matter?

I have trouble with just plain old kicking so I thought the shorter ones might help me as I would still have to do some work.

I am confused. Can someone help me?

Katie

SwimStud
September 25th, 2007, 03:20 PM
Hey everyone

I started swimming this Sept. I bought a pair of Kiefer silicone training fins and I think I like them ( they are very comfortable). Most of the people at the pool I swim with are using the speedo optimus training fins. So what ones are better? Or does it matter?

I have trouble with just plain old kicking so I thought the shorter ones might help me as I would still have to do some work.

I am confused. Can someone help me?

Katie

I like my Alpha Fins...:woot:
http://www.zura.com/alphafins.html

Even if they do make me look like a member of ther Keebler Elf Swim Team...

I find they hit my legs in the quads...but they are very flexible. Just don't become reliant on them. use them for specific reasons...not all the time.

swimshark
September 25th, 2007, 03:41 PM
When I started swimming I used some long fins like these http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/3471.htm When I got to the point where I was able to kick a 50 under 1 min, I'd cut them. I did that until they were the length of zoomers. Then I bought zoomers. I've had those for a few years now and I still get a workout with them.

I recently tried the breaststroke fins and like them.

Alison

david.margrave
September 25th, 2007, 04:04 PM
I got to try out zura foam fins at the oak harbor meet warmups yesterday, I'm not sure if those are the same as the alpha fins (my flash player isn't working at the moment, so I can't visit that site).

I like them but $40 seems like a lot for foam fins when you can get real rubber fins for less. Maybe the fins' bouyancy has some benefit in training for a different body position.

Slowswim
September 25th, 2007, 04:21 PM
was able to kick a 50 under 1 min, I'd cut them.

Alison:

Do you mean, kicked under 1 min with fins on? How much did you cut off each time?

Bill

SwimStud
September 25th, 2007, 05:12 PM
I got to try out zura foam fins at the oak harbor meet warmups yesterday, I'm not sure if those are the same as the alpha fins (my flash player isn't working at the moment, so I can't visit that site).

I like them but $40 seems like a lot for foam fins when you can get real rubber fins for less. Maybe the fins' bouyancy has some benefit in training for a different body position.

They are incredibly flexible, easy going on the feet, and according to the "complicated words" on the web page, they work your muscles differently to regular fins.

david.margrave
September 25th, 2007, 05:20 PM
Yes, they're the same ones (I checked that page from my mac). Karen Pipes-Neilsen was demoing them yesterday, they seem to have her seal of approval.

How durable are yours? Foam objects aren't usually known for their durability.

gull
September 25th, 2007, 07:07 PM
I like the Kiefer silicone training fins also. Very comfortable and just the right length. Over time, my kick did improve to the point that I could make 50's on 1:00 without fins. Our current coach rarely allows fins, so now they stay in my bag most of the time.

cathlaur
September 26th, 2007, 08:11 AM
Thanks everyone

It is so interesting to hear what everyone likes to use as training fins. I guess the bottom line is you use what is best for you. One thing about the keifer training fins ( other than mine are bright yellow :lmao:) is they are very comfortable. I need help with my kich as I am much stronger in the top half of my body so I thought ( not sure if it is true) but the shorter ones would help my kick better.

Anyway I love hearing about peoples different training techniques and equipment.

Cheers. NO swimming today but I get to be the parent volunteer at my daughters touch football game. It is pouring so I can pretend I am at the pool.

Katie

islandsox
September 26th, 2007, 08:25 AM
I like the Kiefer silicone training fins also. Very comfortable and just the right length. Over time, my kick did improve to the point that I could make 50's on 1:00 without fins. Our current coach rarely allows fins, so now they stay in my bag most of the time.

Wow, "rarely ALLOWS?" That wouldn't stop me because my zoomers have helped my leg strength/ankle flexibility tremendously. Coaching and dictating are two different things.

SwimStud
September 26th, 2007, 08:29 AM
Yes, they're the same ones (I checked that page from my mac). Karen Pipes-Neilsen was demoing them yesterday, they seem to have her seal of approval.

How durable are yours? Foam objects aren't usually known for their durability.

Well, I only got them in June but other guys that use them at the pool have been using them since I started swimming in earnest back in Sept. 06.
I treat them well, heep them in the mesh bag, and rinse them after the swim. At the moment I leave them in the trunk of my car but with cold weather approaching I'll have to bring them in.

The Fortress
September 26th, 2007, 09:14 AM
They are incredibly flexible, easy going on the feet, and according to the "complicated words" on the web page, they work your muscles differently to regular fins.

How do they work your muscles differently? They do look like they might be easier on the ankles.

I might try them. I'm just using the regular cheapo speed training fin. I have no idea if they're the "optimus" or not.

Gull:

My coach doesn't like fins much either. In workouts, we seem to use them mostly for UW shooters. (But I don't need them for that. :thhbbb:) I do see people kicking with fins sometimes. We do seem to be assigned a fair bit of pulling though, which I always skip. As Donna says, masters swimmers can make their own decisions about equipment.

SwimStud
September 26th, 2007, 09:17 AM
How do they work your muscles differently? They do look like they might be easier on the ankles.



Read the "complicated words" on the web page. You're a lawyer...

The Fortress
September 26th, 2007, 09:18 AM
Read the "complicated words" on the web page. You're a lawyer...

Too lazy today. You bought them. You must have read the directions?

SwimStud
September 26th, 2007, 09:23 AM
Too lazy today. You bought them. You must have read the directions?

Yeah but I never used the other style so I can't be sure. Best you check it out...

gull
September 26th, 2007, 09:26 AM
Wow, "rarely ALLOWS?" That wouldn't stop me because my zoomers have helped my leg strength/ankle flexibility tremendously. Coaching and dictating are two different things.

Why have a coach if you're not going to listen to him or her? If I just did my own thing in practice, I'd be a........tri.

The Fortress
September 26th, 2007, 09:31 AM
Why have a coach if you're not going to listen to him or her? If I just did my own thing in practice, I'd be a........tri.

Horrors.

Avoiding this fate seems more linked to swimming intervals and practicing more than one stroke.

Can't you listen to your coach, but use your own judgment on equipment? Coaches have to accomodate diverse swimmers. Not everyone can follow the workout plan to the letter. So, I'm sending you my paddles in the mail, Gull. I'll send my pull buoy to StValentine. ;)

The Fortress
September 26th, 2007, 11:36 AM
Here's another way to use alpha zura fins:

http://www.goswim.tv/drilloftheweek_comments.php?id=4639_0_20_0_C

islandsox
September 26th, 2007, 12:03 PM
Why have a coach if you're not going to listen to him or her? If I just did my own thing in practice, I'd be a........tri.

Ah, I guess I don't believe everything I am told because I know what may be best for me, short of technique. Here's an example: A coach only has their swimmers swimming freestyle because he sees no point to the other strokes. Common sense dictates that using other muscle groups that other strokes provide are beneficial to freestyle swimming. If your coach is true about the fin issue, then he must also be against pull buoys. I guess the only fin that if I, as a coach, didn't advocate would be the monofin but that would be because of its size if the pool was crowded.

I guess I believe in using water aids as long as they provide a benefit for me. Except water-wings.

SwimStud
September 26th, 2007, 12:10 PM
I guess the only fin that if I, as a coach, didn't advocate would be the monofin but that would be because of its size if the pool was crowded.



Donna monofins come in varying sizes...it's not how big it is; it's how well you undulate that counts!

:lmao:

OK obvious but someone had to...

The Fortress
September 26th, 2007, 12:50 PM
If your coach is true about the fin issue, then he must also be against pull buoys.

No! Everyone has to keep their pull buoys. I have to be able to rag on people about their pull buoy addiction since I get ragged on for fin addiction. :cool:

MFs can be a bit dangerous. I usually just use them solo. SwimmieAvsFan and I were working out the other day with MFs and we did have a little collision. No blood though.

marksman
September 26th, 2007, 02:31 PM
When I was a junior I benefited a lot doing faster-than-race-pace training with fins. But the only way I could get enough speed was by using a fairly long skin-diving fin...lightweight, silicone boot, stiff plastic blade.

No matter the fin, you shouldn't be using them to swim the same sets you normally would. Try and use them to really push yourself. You should adjust your sets accordingly and be at least as tired at the end of your sets as you would if you hadn't used fins, if not more tired.

swimshark
September 26th, 2007, 02:52 PM
Alison:

Do you mean, kicked under 1 min with fins on? How much did you cut off each time?

Bill

Yes, under a 1 min with the fins on (I'm not a fast kicker). When I hit the under 1 min mark, I'd cut off about an inch. After cutting off several inches, I bought the zoomers.

Our coach rarely allows fins as well. And since I'm paying him dearly to train me well, if he says no fins, it's no fins. Right now we're working on doing 5x100 kick, no fins under 1:30. Ack.

Alison

Blackbeard's Peg
September 26th, 2007, 03:59 PM
I can't make a 50 kick on a minute right now, no fins. Fins would probably put me under the knife. :dedhorse:
Our coaches don't give us sets that require fins all that often, but for most kick sets, about half of us choose to go as is. Personally, I'd rather work my butt off w/o fins to make the fin-people's interval. I am a glutton for punishment, but also lazy enough times to put the fins on.

Generally, our coaches will specify when and where they'd prefer that we use them. One such example is when we're doing 90 degree arm kicking, where we kick on our backs with our arms in a streamline pointed straight to the roof of the pool. LCM, we get to use fins more often than not, so we can do more (ouch) and not take up the whole practice. SCY it is a crapshoot for fins/nofins. Either way, doing 3-500 of this in a workout will put some hair on your chest.

Slowswim
September 26th, 2007, 04:02 PM
I started with zoomers and was told to get fins for ankle flexibility. I can easily go under 1 minute with fins, but am nowhere near 1:30 without fins. I think you have a good idea in cutting them.

My coach has me kicking with sneakers on. She is pure evil for that one!:bitching:
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hofffam
September 26th, 2007, 05:32 PM
I have huge respect for my coach, but he knows we Masters swimmers are picky and sometimes grumpy. So he doesn't care if we use fins or not. He recommends stuff. He knows we have jobs to get to and it doesn't always line up with practice times. So he tries to accomodate us. He gets paid whether we listen to him or not.

I have to say though - some of the coaches I read about here - I'm not sure I'd listen to them too much. Some here are sprinters and it sounds like their coaches are SOOOOO old school - pounding 5000 yds per workout 5X per week for people who never race over a 100.

The Fortress
September 26th, 2007, 05:50 PM
I have huge respect for my coach, but he knows we Masters swimmers are picky and sometimes grumpy. So he doesn't care if we use fins or not. He recommends stuff. He knows we have jobs to get to and it doesn't always line up with practice times. So he tries to accomodate us. He gets paid whether we listen to him or not.

I have to say though - some of the coaches I read about here - I'm not sure I'd listen to them too much. Some here are sprinters and it sounds like their coaches are SOOOOO old school - pounding 5000 yds per workout 5X per week for people who never race over a 100.

As to the first paragraph, how reasonable!

As to the second, have to say I agree, Hoffam. That's why I often only hit the team practice only on Sunday.

Muppet:

If you can't make a 50 under 1:00, a sprinter you ain't. I rarely use fins to kick unless I'm using my MF. But if my team is using them to kick, also pretty rare, I know I can kick a 100 in 1:00. So get your butt moving, boy. Otherwise the 50 fly is mine forever. (Oh, don't mean to antagonize you if you're suffering from knee-related endorphin withdrawl.)

Bill:

(S)he-Man and FlyQueen spend their life swimming in sneakers too. Are they cyber coaching you, Bill?

Blackbeard's Peg
September 26th, 2007, 11:11 PM
Muppet:

If you can't make a 50 under 1:00, a sprinter you ain't. I rarely use fins to kick unless I'm using my MF. But if my team is using them to kick, also pretty rare, I know I can kick a 100 in 1:00. So get your butt moving, boy. Otherwise the 50 fly is mine forever. (Oh, don't mean to antagonize you if you're suffering from knee-related endorphin withdrawl.)

Yeah, this is MCL sprain 50 kick. Not trying to hurt myself here!! :cane:
Pre-injury, I was averaging ~47-8 per 50.
I tend to use some almost-zoomer fins when i do wear fins. Those 50s were closer to 40.

geochuck
September 26th, 2007, 11:18 PM
Best fin aroud is here http://www.4wfs.com/index.php?p=news

Slowswim
September 27th, 2007, 10:17 AM
The first time I tried to start swimming, the USMS coach said that if I wasn't willing to spend two hours 5 days a week I was wasting his time and mine. So I left. I went back a couple years later when I heard that he had been replaced.

The new coach worked around our schedules and let us (me mostly) use fins so I could get the yardage in. Since the group was mostly Tri's and didn't have much background in swimming we pretty much did exactly (not using the "obey" word) what the coach said. Our biggest deviation was socializing to extend the rest interval.:party2:

Fort:
(S)he-Man and FlyQueen live so close I wish they'd coach me for real, but alas no, its my evil coach from FL.

SwimStud
September 27th, 2007, 10:23 AM
The first time I tried to start swimming, the USMS coach said that if I wasn't willing to spend two hours 5 days a week I was wasting his time and mine

Where do these IDIOTS come from, and I frankly don't care if he/she is reading this...that's just like at school when the good kids wouldn't pick you for teams in gym.

aquageek
September 27th, 2007, 10:28 AM
that's just like at school when the good kids wouldn't pick you for teams in gym.

You never got picked I bet - let it out, it's ok.

As to fins, I personally see no value in them, any style, any configuration. I've been on a lot of USMS teams and without exception the more talented swimmers/lanes are devoid of them. I'm a rotten kicker and used fins to keep up (as many do) and was just as rotten after using fins for a while as I was pre-fin. Save the money and work on kicking more.

SwimStud
September 27th, 2007, 10:35 AM
You never got picked I bet - let it out, it's ok.



Depends on the sport...


But it's exactly the reason why I won't listen to stupid elitist CRAP from an adult. Negativity doesn't always improve someone's game.

The best athlete's/coaches I ever got on a team with were the ones who took 2 mins to give a tip or helped throughout the game--not just yell about bad things. I used to play 5 a side and there was an ex-pro who made me look like a champ...because he would talk to you positively for the whole game.

Slowswim
September 27th, 2007, 10:45 AM
Where do these IDIOTS come from, and I frankly don't care if he/she is reading this...that's just like at school when the good kids wouldn't pick you for teams in gym.

Funny, the pool is near a retirement community; the older (I'm being very polite) swimmers loved him and wanted him back. They gave the new coach (a mid 30's female) a real hard time and reduced her to tears on occassions.

I guess its a generational thing.

SwimStud
September 27th, 2007, 10:58 AM
Funny, the pool is near a retirement community; the older (I'm being very polite) swimmers loved him and wanted him back. They gave the new coach (a mid 30's female) a real hard time and reduced her to tears on occassions.

I guess its a generational thing.

Well, yeah all those old folks had it really rough as kids...walking in the snow to school in July...uphill in both directions...
I would think many retireees have 2 hours x 5 laying around spare to spend swimming...

david.margrave
September 27th, 2007, 11:17 AM
One thing I haven't heard discussed yet is foot cramps. I used to get them from the full size fins one of my USS coaches had us use back when Reagan was in the White House. Zoomers are much better in this respect for me at least.

david.margrave
September 27th, 2007, 11:19 AM
As to fins, I personally see no value in them, any style, any configuration.

I'm also a very slow kicker. I get lapped by the merely slow kickers without fins, and with fins, just the fast kickers lap me.

Slowswim
September 27th, 2007, 11:43 AM
One thing I haven't heard discussed yet is foot cramps.

I used to get them in my old pool. It had cold water low 70's and I worn Zoomers. Since coming way up here, the pools are warmer and I have long fins; I've had no cramps (foot or calf).

aquageek
September 27th, 2007, 01:55 PM
5 a side...

This explains why you are/were picked last, Costanza.

hofffam
September 27th, 2007, 02:05 PM
What disappoints me about so many coaches, including age group coaches, is that they have little or no formal training at all. They rely almost exclusively on they way they were trained (probably decades ago).

A lot has been learned since Mark Spitz!

Read Maglischo's book Swimming Fastest and you'll see that he acknowledges things that he learned since his first book Swimming Faster. Well you may not want to read the whole thing since it is huge. His book credits a huge amount of research on every aspect of swimming and physiology.

Although I can't cite any specifics, I bet Cesar Cielo (18.76 US Open 50 SCY free record) doesn't train like sprinters did 10-20 years ago.

The Fortress
September 27th, 2007, 02:30 PM
As to fins, I personally see no value in them, any style, any configuration.

Well, as you knew I'd say, this is just narrow minded clap trap. There are a zillion uses for fins. But perhaps not for distance swimmers and would-be tris.

I bet Cielo uses fins on occasion. Pretty damn good for speedwork.

aquageek
September 27th, 2007, 02:38 PM
Well, as you knew I'd say, this is just narrow minded clap trap.

Apologies for disagreeing with you. Please note I said "personally." However, I don't want to upset you so I will change my opinion to agree with whatever you say. I'm all about fins from now on.

The Fortress
September 27th, 2007, 03:00 PM
Apologies for disagreeing with you. Please note I said "personally." However, I don't want to upset you so I will change my opinion to agree with whatever you say. I'm all about fins from now on.

Fabulous! I'm sure they'll help you out when you get around to doing some sprints.

And no need for insincere apologies. Agreement is quite dull. And I know that's not your forte. So don't strain yourself.

aquageek
September 27th, 2007, 03:05 PM
Fabulous! I'm sure they'll help you out when you get around to doing some sprints.

Our team does sprints at least once weekly, time trials quarterly. From now on, will do only with fins.

The Fortress
September 27th, 2007, 03:55 PM
Our team does sprints at least once weekly, time trials quarterly. From now on, will do only with fins.

Go forth and conquer.

geochuck
September 27th, 2007, 04:03 PM
Does this mean there will be mutual cooperation here???

Geek and Fort agreeing.:bouncing::bouncing::bouncing:

The Fortress
September 27th, 2007, 04:04 PM
George, I believe that was sarcasm.

But I do sincerely agree with Geek's post regarding alcohol & swimming.

geochuck
September 27th, 2007, 04:13 PM
I like reading geeks posts and of course enjoy reading yours. I don't mean to be sarcastic.

swimshark
September 27th, 2007, 04:17 PM
Funny, the pool is near a retirement community; the older (I'm being very polite) swimmers loved him and wanted him back. They gave the new coach (a mid 30's female) a real hard time and reduced her to tears on occassions.

I guess its a generational thing.

Bill where do you swim now? My sister isn't too far from you.

Alison

Slowswim
September 27th, 2007, 04:53 PM
Bill where do you swim now? My sister isn't too far from you.

Alison

Two places (both La Fitness) East-west connector and Akers Mill. For a coach I did join a new gym. I love it if she could help me!!:notworthy:
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swimshark
September 28th, 2007, 02:55 PM
Two places (both La Fitness) East-west connector and Akers Mill. For a coach I did join a new gym. I love it if she could help me!!:notworthy:
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Bill, have you checked out the Killer Whales? They practice at Westminster School at 5:45-7:15am. Good workout and good coach. I was visiting my sister and she took me there. I was really impressed. If you want more info, let me know.

Alison

Slowswim
September 28th, 2007, 03:09 PM
Bill, have you checked out the Killer Whales? They practice at Westminster School at 5:45-7:15am. Good workout and good coach. I was visiting my sister and she took me there. I was really impressed. If you want more info, let me know.

Alison
Yes, please! I haven't heard about this club/team on any of the sites.

Slowswim
September 28th, 2007, 03:57 PM
Alison:

I looked for the site but it has been taken down. I called the number the was listed in an old USMS news letter. The team is full and has a wait list! They swim at a 10 lane pool and this morning there were 55 swimmers.
:frustrated:

I'm going to go check it out after I talk to the Coach. I spoke with his wife on the phone. She agreed with me that this just shows there are so few teams/coaches on me side (obviously the wrong side) of Atlanta.:notworking:

Even if I can't get on this team any time soon, maybe the coach can point me to another team take has openings. :sad:

Thank you for trying!!!
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swimshark
September 28th, 2007, 04:30 PM
Alison:

I looked for the site but it has been taken down. I called the number the was listed in an old USMS news letter. The team is full and has a wait list! They swim at a 10 lane pool and this morning there were 55 swimmers.
:frustrated:

I'm going to go check it out after I talk to the Coach. I spoke with his wife on the phone. She agreed with me that this just shows there are so few teams/coaches on me side (obviously the wrong side) of Atlanta.:notworking:

Even if I can't get on this team any time soon, maybe the coach can point me to another team take has openings. :sad:

Thank you for trying!!!
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Darn! They would have been good for you. Wow, 55. When I was there I think there were 35 swimmers. We had 3 in our lane (my sister included). I know Jenn really likes the coach and the team. My sister lives on the east side and drives to the Whales since they are so good for what she needs (she's a tri but started swimming first). I hope they can work something out for you - and if they do, next time I'm down there we can meet. Keep me posted.

Alison

PS she left Dynamo for the Whales. My dad swims at Dynamo