Coffee and Oatmeal stout Dungarvan Brewing Company IMG_0861.resized

Review: Is this the ultimate open water swimmer’s beer?

Craft beers are the thing, right? Local, interesting, more flavour, more fun. One of humanity’s oldest craft’s giving the blandness of the global industrial homogenisation of food and taste a hopeful poke in the eye. One of the better things of living in Ireland, because of the country’s still large agricultural sector, is our access to local fresh food…

TempoTrainerPro

Review: Finis Tempo Trainer Pro

The Finis Tempo Trainer, the original (and still available  in some outlets) model, was another interesting idea from Finis that, as usual with said company’s electronics, wasn’t particularly well executed. I first bought one back in 2008 or ’09. It’s most obvious flaw was that you couldn’t replace the battery. So it was random luck…

Big bag o' paddles

Review: Swimming paddles (Yet another update)

My pool bag now includes the silly total of five four five six five different types of paddles! (Update 2013: I added another paddle and removed one, so I’m refreshing this review). (Update March 2014: Added another paddle, subsequently removed yet another paddle. See below for comparison of PT Paddle and Complete Fitness Coaching Palm Paddle) Warning:…

I did all this just so I add this as new banner pic

Review: Battle of the Jelly Babies

It was a genius idea by Dee. Jelly babies are notorious favourites of open water distance and Channel swimmers. Tiny parcels of coloured and flavoured glucose perfectly anthropomorphised, that sate a craving. Relatively waterproof and easy to pass to a swimmer, or for crew to snarf a few themselves, they provide an instant hit of…

How To: Swedish goggles (fit and review)

I’ve written a couple of previous annual posts reviewing various goggles, (one, two) that I’ve used, of which it seems there have been quite a few. (There are few greater swimming pleasures than wearing brand new goggles!) I am a relatively recent user to Swedish googles (aka Swedes), I’ve been wearing them for less than…

Swimovate watch review

This is an update to my original review from a couple of years ago. I always place reliability at the forefront of product requirements, and too many reviews are based on initial experience. – When I started putting in big metres some years back, because I swim by myself and am slightly OCD about many things,…

Fitocracy; a swimmer’s review

What is it? Fitocracy is a “social media fitness website”. It is intended as a fitness goals and tracking site integrated with an online community. I received an invitation for the beta (test) version in 2011 but didn’t avail of it for about a year afterwards. I signed up on a whim in January of…

Review: SwimSmooth.com One Day Swim Clinic

In late Channel season 2011 I was in Varne Ridge to crew a solo. Present for that tide were a bunch of Channel Aspirants from Western Australia, advised by seven-times world open water champion Shelley Taylor-Smith. They had had a long wait with bad weather. One of the swimmers was UK-born but WA resident Paul Newsome, the…

Review: Amphibia Sports Ring

The simple ideas are often the best ones. I’ve previously reviewed Irish Company Amphibia Sport‘s excellent Evo Sports Bag and I recently received in the post one of the company’s long-awaited (for me) silicon Sports Ring. I forgot to test swim it the weekend after I received it, so it had to wait until this…

Review: Kodak PlaySport Camera

Soon after starting to write this blog, I realised I really wanted to share some of the great sights of Ireland’s Copper Coast where I mostly swim. I actually remember the first day I wanted a waterproof camera was when I came across a YouTube video of Sandycove Island by Ray Terry with Finbarr Hedderman, Danny…

Review: Amphibia Sport X-Bag

I have an overwhelming aversion to so-called Reality TV which extends to any program that could remotely be considered related so I had never seen nor knew about Irish Sport’s Company Amphibia Sport and its founder Adrian McCreevy appearing on (and winning, I think or is that the relevant term?) Dragon’s Den for new businesses,…

Second (updated) goggle review

I’ve previously reviewed Aquasphere Kaiman and Kayennes for open water swimming and that I hadn’t previously been successful with using low profile goggs. I had settled into my Aquasphere use over years. After I wrote that article Paul Ellercamp of oceanswims.com in Australia sent me a pair of his favourite goggles, low-profile competition/racing View Visio aka…

Review: The “god bottle” & other bottles

Rob Dumouchel does a great series of high-tech reviews for open water swimming, so, never being too proud to steal an idea, I’m concentrating on the low tech stuff, like lights, goggles, ear-plugs and more to come. I read a question online: “I need a water bottle. Not just any water bottle – the King of Bottles“.…

Review: Ocean Giants

It is a fact widely acknowledged that the BBC makes the best television nature and science documentaries. David Attenborough’s name has become a global watch phrase for excellence. But it is always the whole BBC team bringing in the best nature writing and filming and locations, in this series using the Planet Earth Polar camera-man,…

The life span of an ear plug

Silicone ear plugs. Ear plugs. Made out of silicone. Little balls of silicone. That you squish into your ear. To block and protect your ears. From cold water. Got that? In the box: On left, two new and unused plugs. Next two from top second left, plugs used during winter. Next two, bottom centre and…

Spring in the Ocean

Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring in the 1960’s, one of the most important and influential books of the 20th century. But ten years previously she wrote another best-seller, The Sea Around Us. Carson was a biologist and in The Sea Around Us she stepped out of her familiar world and into the marine world. Amongst…

Review: The Crossing by Kathy Watson

The story of Capt. Matthew Webb is the starting point for modern Open Water swimming. While there are other famous open water swims from before this time, Byron & Hellespont being the most famous, the dream of swimming the English channel was alive and well in the late 19th century, with other attempts before Webb’s…

Championship Swim Training.

by Bill Sweetenham & John Atkinson. Sweetenham is the coach behind the Australian swimming success and the recent edition of this book has a foreword by Ian Thorpe. I bought an older edition but it’s a very good competitive swimming book. The book is in 2 parts, I Techniques & Drills, and II Workouts &…