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  • Rachel Rutherford

My Swimming Journey & Essential Kit List!

Early Days

Swimming has always been a bit of a love hate thing for me. I have swum since an early age, progressing from the sew on 25m badge & certificate, to winning gold in butterfly at interclub championships when swimming for the City of Southampton swim club.

I was recently reminiscing on my time at this swim club, particularly about the questionably ‘fashionable’ drag shorts we all used to wear, that in reality just slowed us down (something I don’t need help with these days).

At the age of 13 my swim career took a bit of a hiatus, when mum decided that 5am starts every morning were unachievable – or in other words: she wasn’t going to get out of bed to drop me there.. I must be honest I was also a bit relieved as swimming every single day was becoming quite repetitive, it was probably an age thing!

Rediscovering the Love

I raced several triathlons in 2017 without any real swim training - not something I would recommend! I started swimming regularly again in 2018, after signing up to IRONMAN Wales, which has been a real journey of discovery for me. While it is evident my technique has taken a backward step, my stamina in the pool has improved massively, which was demonstrated by my fastest non wetsuit swim at the IRONMAN World Championships in 2019.

I have well and truly rediscovered my love of being in the water, and swim at least 3 times a week, normally in the mornings before work. There is nothing quite like immersing the whole body in water first thing in the morning to wake you up. Swimming is special in the sense that it is completely impact free, so is great for cross training in a sport specific training plan.

I was lucky to have been able to spend a lot of time swimming in the sea and my local lake last year, including doing a 10k swim in London at the end of summer!

In doing so I have really been able to dial down on my open water swim technique, which is super important as all my triathlon races in 2021 are in a lake.

2021 Onwards

I have truly missed being able to swim consistently over the last year and have really loved being able to get back in the pool and begin to recoup some of the speed and fitness I have lost while the pools have been closed. When lockdown allows I plan to join a swimming club to really work on my technique going into 2021, as I feel this is an area I can make some real gains!

The pools opening have given me a great reason to expand my swimming wardrobe, and I have been even luckier in that I have been able to partner with my favourite swimming brand Speedo! I have recently made a video detailing my top tips for getting back in the pool after a long break, which I recommend you checking out!

To conclude this blog, I have pulled together my list of swimming essentials! Is there anything you would include that I have missed off?

Swim Kit Essentials:

1) A GOOD pair of GOGGLES! Now this is a place where people commonly confuse ‘good’ with ‘expensive’, which is absolutely is not the case. Having tried many different pairs of goggles (from various brands) I have realised it’s much more important to find some that fit your individual face shape well. So take the time to try a few different models. I love both the Futura Biofuse Flexiseal & the Fastskin Hyper Elite Mirror, which are also a great choice for outdoor swimming due to the tinted lenses!

2) A SWIMSUIT/ TRUNKS that you feel good in. I wholeheartedly believe that if you feel good, you feel stronger, and the stronger you feel the better you swim! A Jazzy swimsuit is also great for taking good #SpeedoSwimSelfie...

3) A SWIM CAP – especially important if you are a girl with long hair. I use the Speedo long hair swim cap (recommended to me by a lady on the beach in Lanzarote) I have very thick curly hair, and this is perfect for fitting it all in without squeezing my head (a problem I commonly have with ‘normal’ caps)

4) A spare microfibre TOWEL. If you have been following me for a while, you will know I seem to forget my towel a lot..

5) KICKBOARD & PULL BUOY. While not essential, these bits of kit are great for working on your technique. As you get more into the sport, you will find there are a plethora of other equipment you can buy, but these are the two basics that I couldn’t live without

6) A bottle of DRINK. Its easy to forget that you sweat while swimming, but your body still loses a lot of water, so make sure you are replenishing the stores!

7) A RUCKSACK with an incorporated DRY BAG – a game changer in keeping you wet stuff away from your dry bits!

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions please feel free to drop me a line!

Don’t forget to tag me in your #SpeedoSwimSelfie!

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