This innovative swimming snorkel offers a great way to work on your technique in improve your fitness in the water.
January 12, 2017 | TRAINING|
You've no-doubt seen swim teams training with snorkels and, possibly, wondered if it might be a worthwhile tool to add to your training repertoire. Swim snorkels are a great tool to work on your technique – when you don’t have to take a breath and move your head, you’re able to focus on your body position, your rotation, your arm entry and many other components of a good swim stroke.
The snorkels you’ve likely seen at the pool being used by a competitive swim group are ones where the tube goes in front of their heads. They work like regular snorkels – you breath in and out through the tube and, if you get water in it during a flip turn, you blow it out and continue on.
The folks at Ameo figured the whole snorkel thing could be done much better. The Powerbreather has two tubes that wrap around your head and has a membrane in the mouthpiece. The two tubes provide fresh air as you breath in and the membrane allows you to exhale out through your mouth. This “Fresh Air System” ensures you’re not rebreathing any air (which can happen using a regular snorkel) – so you can use the snorkel for even the longest swim’s quite comfortably.
The Powerbreather is extremely well made and comes with a number of accessories so you can adjust your experience depending on where you are swimming and what your goals are. There are different tubes and vents that you can put at the end of the tubes for open water swimming, pool swimming and flip turns. It is also really easy to get on and is very comfortable to work with. Once you put the mouthpiece in you pull the strap down behind your head and tighten the dial to get the perfect fit. Then all you have to do is start swimming.
Within a length you’ll realize why the Powerbreather is much more than just a snorkel. Yes, you don’t have to turn your head to breath. Yes, you can focus on your position, how your hands are entering the water, your rotation and pull. You’ll also realize that the Powerbreather offers a bit of resistance as you breath. The idea is to help you build up your lung capacity. It’s a bit disconcerting at first, but as you get used to it you can feel the benefits.
I loaned my test unit to my son, a member of the Canadian national swim team, last year as he prepared for a big international meet. He used the Powerbreather for about a month. A bunch of personal best times convinced him that the Powerbreather is an impressive and worthwhile piece of equipment.
If you want to use the Powerbreather for longer sets in the pool you’ll need to spend some time perfecting your flip turns. The system doesn’t work when you’re on your side, so you need to exhale as you are entering the turn and then wait until you are flat in the water again before you start to breath. It takes a bit of time to get figured out, so you’ll want to practice a few times before you try doing flip turns as part of a set. Turning ended up being my son’s one issue with the Powerbreather – unlike his dad, who’s turns are not very good, he’ll spend a lot of time under water and on his side coming out of a turn – he had to wait a long time before he was finally squared off in the water and able to take a breath.
I would imagine that most of us triathletes won’t have that issue, though, and will likely find the Ameo Powerbreather to be an excellent way to work on both your technique and fitness. We’re really looking forward to putting the Powerbreather through its paces in an open water environment, which is where a device like this has even more potential. Stay tuned for an update here on TriathlonWorld.com.