Friday 10 July 2015

Swimfin review

A few months ago we were sent a SwimFin to review. If you don't know what I'm talking about (or just want to see photos of D pretending to be a shark and attacking Iz...) then click here.

So since then we've been very busy and putting our swimfin to work! A few months ago D changed swimming teachers and there was a very noticeable decline in his confidence in the water - he went from being able to do things like happily swimming half a width underwater and jumping in before turning 180 degrees to hold onto the side to suddenly not wanting to go underwater at all and not wanting to jump in. It was so sad to watch as he used to be such a confident swimmer (albeit still learning obviously!!). So the Swimfin came at the perfect time as it gave us a new focus and a "fun" way to encourage D to enjoy swimming again.

How does it work?

Unlike traditional buoyancy aids like armbands and noodles, the swimfin works inline with your body providing a more 'natural' form of support and so leads to a better swimming position as your child becomes increasingly confident in the water.

It's actually surprisingly hard to get a good picture of a toddler swimming whilst you're also bobbing up and down in a wave pool but here are a couple of shots that show D using his swimfin (to swim rather than play/pose! Lol). You can see he is still needing a lot of support from it (unsurprisingly as he's only 2!) as his body is still pretty vertical in the water. As he becomes better able to support himself the fin will naturally become increasingly horizontal, sit out of the water more, and so provide him with less buoyancy.

You can see his legs kicking though and it gives just the right amount of support - helping him keep his head out of the water but he still has to work his arms and legs to achieve that. And of course he still enjoys posing and playing in it!!

What do I think?

I think it is great. It is easier to put on/take off than armbands and doesn't interfere with any arm action like armbands do. I also love the way I can instantly see how much support D is needing and so any improvements will be easy to spot. The straps are easy to use with velcro fastenings and if you want to take the fin off mid-swim (e.g. to do some underwater work) then you can just loop one of the fin straps over your arm and then you have both arms free still - definitely not possible with any other buoyancy aids I can think of! It also dries quickly after use and you don't have to faff around inflating/deflating it.  

My 2 waterbabies - Iz having a helping hand to stay buoyant, D just using his swimfin (and his legs!)

More importantly what does D think?

D loves it. He doesn't see it as a swimming aid, more something fun to wear when swimming. And it's easy to get him to swim by himself when wearing it as the 'shark' always wants to chase us!

It gets a thumbs up from D :)
In summary...
We love our Swimfin and will definitely use it for Iz when she's a bit older. I think it's really clever that you can instantly tell how much support your child is needing by how the fin is sitting in the water and the whole look and design makes it super appealing to children. We often get asked about it when at the pool and even D's 8 year old brother (who can swim fine) often asks to wear it!

Sounds a bit too good? You might be wondering if there are any downsides? Well the only one we found is its size is obviously bigger than deflated armbands so it takes up more 'bag space'... BUT on the company's website you can buy a special rucksack with an external slot for the fin (here) - not only is it a bargain at £5.49, but it's also really practical and now D always wants to carry the swim bag! I'm not going to complain about that :)

Proud of his rucksack


You can read my original post, which also has top tips for swimming with babies and toddlers, by clicking here.

Have you seen anyone else using a swimfin? Or used one yourself? I'd love to hear how other people have got on :)

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