A much overdue gear review. My new goggles.

Tyr Velocity Goggles.

If you swim in a swimming pool you're going to need a pair of goggles. Otherwise the chlorine and other chemicals pool managers put in pools to keep you from dying of stuff like cryptosporidium or brain eating organisms are going to make the whites of your eyes turn red, temporarily mess up your vision, and make you look like you just smoked a big bowl full of hash. From a competitive swimming point of view it's a hell of a lot easier to swim fast if you can see clearly where you are heading. Finally, the clear, underwater vision provided by goggles will probably keep you from having collisions with the other swimmers in your lane as you circle swim. 

For many swimmers goggles are something they use for more hours during a normal day than they do their cell phones! If you are competitive and doing two workouts a day you may be spending up to 4 hours each day in the water. You'll want to find goggles that are comfortable, optically non-distorting, and which don't leak. Some people have faces that make selecting goggles tougher than others. Just as I'm a 40 regular and can buy business suits off the rack, my face is pretty easy on goggles which means I have a wider range that work well for me than some of my buddies with deeper eye sockets or noses of a certain shape and proportion. 

My big issue is that I'll find a pair of goggles that I like only to have them be discontinued (like fashion) and replaced with something that's different enough to cause me some operational friction. I've been using several sets of Speedo goggles for the last few years; buying them in batches of three, but I can't find the ones I like anymore. And, no! Goggles don't last forever. The nose pieces break over time, the straps degrade with extended exposure to UV and pool chemicals, and sometimes they just get....misplaced. 

My last pair of Speedos was nearing end of life (always a bittersweet moment) when I ventured in to Austin Tricyclist to get another tranche. The ones I wanted were gone but I was drawn to this set of TYR goggles because they were a close variation of the Speedos. 

I bought a couple of pairs (big spender!!! Yeah, they cost $16.95 each....) and adjusted them to my face. The first step is to make sure you have the right interchangeable nose piece (the part holding the two eyepieces together) in place. The goggles come packaged with three nose piece variations. Once you've got that done your only other real task is to tension the strap so that it keeps the goggles in place when you are doing your most dramatic flipturns and racing dives. But you don't want them so tight that they create an uncomfortable pressure on your face. The little, soft rubber cups surround the eyepieces go a long way toward keeping the goggles comfortable but if you have them on too tight you'll have "raccoon" eyes for the rest of the morning....

A good fitting set of goggles will feel so comfortable that you'll forget you are wearing them after a few minutes. But a good performing goggle is also set you can wear for a couple of hours without any leakage. Low optical distortion is important to prevent eye fatigue and to not visually misrepresent where the wall is when you are coming in for a turn. 

I give these goggles top rating for everything but racing. If you are hellbent of going all out and doing a perfect racing dive at the beginning of the race, you'll probably want to pick a pair with a lower profile and a tighter fit. It's hell when, after your dive, your goggles slip down around your neck and you have to swim the rest of your race half blind....

I need to add one more pair to the mix but this time I'll look for a clear pair instead of a pair with a dark tint. The darker ones work great almost all the time but with the days getting shorter I sometimes get to Barton Springs well before sunrise. Even before first glow. And there are no lights underwater in Barton Springs. Clear goggles provide a bit of situational awareness and safety. You can see the ends of the pool and better see swimmers coming your way. By the same token you'll get a clearer picture in a pool that's not well lit. 

But at $16 bucks I think I can collect a variety of types for a variety of swim conditions. 

I also wear my goggles at my dermatologist's office when he decides he needs to use liquid nitrogen to burn some actinic keratosis (or some such thing) off my face. No sense taking a chance with one's eyes. Right?

If you have a favorite set of goggles please let us know so we can share that information with our entire blog readership who, I am sure, are anxious to get this information. 

on another note: The 7:30 a.m. swim practice was packed with people this morning. Apparently UT is having one of their mindless/gladitorial football games today and people have been "tailgating" since the middle of the week. The UT masters have figured out that on game days nobody is able to get to their pool so we seem to get the refugees from football in our master program. We were four or five people deep, per lane, for the full hour. Fortunately we all circle well together and sharing lanes with four people can be easy as pie. The trick is to distribute people with similar interval times in the same lanes. You don't want a mix of slow and fast in one lane. Everyone in lane seven (the fast lane) should be able to repeat 100's on 1:10 while everyone in lane one (the slowest lane) should be able to do their 100's on 1:50.  The pace clocks are our guides and we try to space a five second interval between each swimmer. 

Good luck to all the VSL swimmers. Crank out the yards. Stay skinny. Live long and prosper.