This was the second Saturday in a row that I went down to Santa Maria for some fast swimming. It was just Mike and I this time, and just for fun I brought a big pile of fins to try out. Little did I know my timing was perfect and today’s sprint set was fin based! Score!
Early on in the warm up we had a set of 50′s that was on a way tighter interval than we normally chase after. It helped me realize staying up to 2am the night before and having candy for breakfast wasn’t the right plan for today :) Whoops.
6 x 50 @ :40
6 x 50 IM Switching @ :55
10 x 50 fly w/ fins on 2:00 FAST!
100 cool down
2100 Yards total
Once we got to the end of the warm up I devised a plan for an impromptu fin testing session. We had 10 50′s fly on 2:00, I decided to start with my Shooter Monofin and work my way down to my Foil Monofin and then finally my Z2 fins.
The main reason I started with the fastest stiffest fin was it’s also the hardest to put on! I started with a base layer of neoprene booties that I wear with my duckfeet fins to keep my feet from getting all chewed up by the fin. Then it was time to awkwardly contort myself on the deck to try and actually get my feet into the fin… man that part sucks… but it’s totally worth it once you start kicking! I think I wore it for the first 3 and kept myself down around 24-25 seconds per 50. I love the speed that comes with this thing! It’s hard to make turns with it, but once you’re off the wall you can really build up some major momentum with it!
4-8 were done with my Foil Monofin. I kept the neoprene booties on because they’re helpful in holding the fin down on my feet. I think mine might be a touch too big for me to wear just barefoot. On these 50′s it was really apparent the difference a big fiberglass blade makes. The motion and the muscles in action all feel largely the same, but the power you can generate just isn’t the same. The good news though is since the fin is dialed back a bit wearing it while swimming is a little more realistic. You’re not going to launch out of the water to your navel in this thing like you can with a conventional monofin. I averaged between 27 high and 29 low with the Foil monofin and felt pretty good swimming with it.
9 and 10 were supposed to be with my Z2 Zoomers that I wear all the time. I lost #9 to time though… I couldn’t get them on over the top of the neoprene booties I had on and I couldn’t get them off on time either so I ended up having to swim a round with them on and no fins. That 50 sucked! The booties turned into little drag pockets on my feet and I couldn’t dolphin kick in them. I ended up swimming freestyle and barely keeping it under 40 seconds. Yikes, shows you what a little drag can do! For round #10 I finally got the Zoomers on and swam around a 30 high, maybe 31 low. It felt very weird to shift to feet that weren’t stuck together.
So I realize fatigue and other things play a factor here, but roughly here’s my fin speed breakdown. Shooter is about 3-5 seconds faster than my Foil which is like 2-3 seconds faster than plain Z2 Zoomers. About what I expected overall. I knew the shooter would blow everything else out of the water. Downside with that is it’s tough on the feet and so powerful it can be hard to use for more than just kicking since your arms can’t really match what your feet are doing. The Foil is a good compromise in that it’s easy to get on and allows for more realistic swimming. Zoomers are still the everyday flutter kicking workhorse though. I have a decent fin collection but those are the ones I take with me every time I go to the pool.
After we were done swimming I stayed in the pool for a little bit. I swam a couple slow laps and spent some time sitting in the bottom of the deep end. I was hanging out with a friend last night who was talking about doing some free diving. The hard core “The Big Blue” style freediving scares the hell out of me, but a 20 foot dive to investigate some things in the ocean locally sounds pretty interesting to me. With that in mind I’m going to see if I can expand my lung capacity a bit so I can go out diving with him one of these days.
*Fully Bloggerly Disclosure: My real life job does business with Finis. I did this post because it seemed like a fun way to spend part of my Saturday not because anyone asked me to.