When you are at the pool you might see people in the water using a range of equipment, such as kickboards, pull buoys, paddles, and snorkels. If you’re wondering why, and what the advantages are, read on to discover the range of benefits associated with using swimming gear.


Kickboards are great for isolating the muscle groups you are using when swimming. By using a kickboard, you are putting more of a focus on your legs, hips, and core. Kick is one of the most important aspects in swimming as it generates a lot of drive and forward momentum. Taking away the arms means that you are having to use your core to maintain stability while you kick. You’ll usually find that when using a kickboard, you kick harder than when you have the option to use your arms. Kicking is also a good way get your heart rate up. Lastly, it can help with stabilising your stroke, as swimmers with the strongest kick tend to have a stable and consistent stroke.

Pull buoy:

Pull buoys, like the kickboard, are good for isolating a part of the stroke. By having the pull buoy restrict legs, you are able to solely focus on your arms. This can provide an easier alternative to swimming, and you will find that your heart rate will not go up as much. However, this still provides a good upper body workout. Pull buoys are often used in longer distance sets and you’ll find yourself clocking up the kilometres in no time. Not only does it give you a good upper body workout, but it also allows you to focus on the technique of your arms without having to worry about the technique of your legs.


Paddles… You either love them or hate them, but either way you look at them, they can help to increase the potential of your swim. Paddles are a great tool to use if you are wanting to enhance your technique, as they force you to improve the position of your arms in the catch phase of your stroke. Paddles are also a way to increase your strength, as they create a larger surface, which in turn creates more resistance. Paddles force you to use a lot of power, and through repetition, you will see your strength increase in no time.


A snorkel is one of the lesser used tools, but is a significant one. Swimming snorkels are used in order to allow you to focus your attention entirely on the stroke itself as you do not need to worry about the breathing aspect of your swimming. Snorkels also help with your head and body position to achieve streamline within the stroke. The use of a snorkel can help you swim faster as improved technique results in increased speed!

Above are a range of benefits from using swimming gear, and ultimately, the use of this gear can help to improve your stroke, whether that be through technique or speed.

If there are any technique tips you’d like us to tackle, let us know by emailing [email protected]

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Jacob Garrod works for AUT Millennium Swim School and the Schools Programme. He started back in February 2015 and teaches from Breather Level right through to Development Two. Whilst working part time, he is also in the home stretch of completing his Bachelor of Business Degree at Massey University in Albany. Jacob learned to swim aged three, and became a competitive swimmer at the age of 7. He continued right through until 22, clocking up 15 years in the sport. He specialised in breaststroke and has represented New Zealand on the international level, attending two Oceania Championships in 2014 and 2016, where he managed to get five medals - three gold, and two silver. Jacob also attended the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, in Nanjing, China, and the 2017 World University Games, in Taipei, Taiwan. Jacob attended multiple National Championships where he managed to get medals throughout the years, from junior level, to age group level, right through to open level.