Swim Snorkeling Vs. Recreational Snorkeling

December 01, 2017

What comes to mind when you think of snorkeling? If you grew up in the competitive swimming world, your first thought might not be of clear, shallow ocean water bursting with sea life. Snorkeling actually comes in two forms: recreational and swim snorkeling. Recreational snorkeling takes place in calm, warm waters typically abundant with sea life. Swim snorkeling occurs solely in the pool. While recreational snorkeling requires little energy, swim snorkeling is a training tool that aims to improve stroke technique and body position in the water. Both feature a tube that allows you to breathe with your face submerged, but recreational snorkeling and swim snorkeling differ in their purposes.

Swim Snorkeling

Swimmers use snorkels in the pool as a training aid. The snorkel helps them focus on body alignment while improving stroke technique and efficiency without the disruption of breathing. Swim snorkels are designed to increase aerobic capacity without hindering swim strokes. They fit on the head in addition to goggles--not as an attachment. Key features of their designs include:

  • Curved tubes with an aerodynamic cut centrally-mounted on the face to allow for a full range of motion in freestyle, butterfly and breaststroke.
  • Soft and flexible, silicone or rubber mouthpieces.
  • Purge seats to rid the snorkel of excess water without entering the mouthpiece.
  • Adjustable head brackets or straps for an individualized fit.
  • Variations in tube size and the inclusion of different-sized exhaust caps allow for regulating aerobic conditioning.

Check out some great swim snorkels from top-tier brands:

  • The FINIS Swimmer’s Swim Snorkel offers a classic design ideal for swimmers beginning their snorkel training. It provides VO2max capabilities to help with breathing strength on top of body positioning.
  • The Arena Swim Snorkel Pro comes with two exhaust caps (placed on the top of the tube) for monitoring aerobic conditioning.
  • For a low-profile design, the MP Michael Phelps FOCUS Swim Snorkel provides a lightweight, durable and comfortable fit.
  • Designed for sprinters or high-speed workouts, the Speedo Bullet Head Swim Snorkel features a padded headband and a removable and easy-to-clean mouthpiece.

Recreational Snorkeling

Snorkeling for fun typically takes place in warm, shallow bodies of water with a clear view of all beneath the surface. A very relaxed activity, recreational snorkeling only requires basic swimming skills as well as a mask, snorkel and often fins. The snorkel usually clips onto the side of the mask for access to air with an unobstructed view. Common characteristics of recreational snorkels include:

  • Wider tubes (for more access to air) that attach to the side of masks using a clip or strap device.
  • Occasional dry-top designs to seal out water when tube is submerged--this as a “cap” on top of the tube.
  • Purge valves for instantly clearing water from mouthpiece area.
  • Flexible and soft rubber or silicone mouthpiece angled for ideal comfort.

We offer several quality snorkels from top snorkeling brands:

  • The Cressi Supernova Dry Snorkel has a reliable float-activated top-valve that instantly seals off the tube when the wearer is submerged and a lower purge valve for clearing water as needed.
  • For easy breathing, the Intex Easy-Flo Snorkel’s tube features a wide diameter as well as a splash-proof guard for keeping out surface water.
  • The U.S. Divers Island Dry Snorkel comes with a fully flexible section near the mouth for ideal comfort as well as a purge valve.
  • Get a more ergonomic fit around the head and water-free breathing with the Mares Ergo Dry Snorkel.

Choose Your Snorkeling Activity!

Both swim snorkeling and recreational snorkeling allow you to breathe with your face in the water. Their designs differ based on activity--each tailored to its specific function. You can track a line down the length of a pool, focusing on your stroke uninterrupted by breathing, or drift along the surface of the sea, observing the aquatic life beneath the waves.  Whether you’re looking to improve swimming technique or follow the fishes, SwimOutlet.com has a snorkel for you.

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