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Swimming Training Tools

Swimming is one of the most complex sports to learn as requires the coordination of a range of upper and lower body movements, timing and breathing.

Good swimmers master the combination of these components faster than less good swimmers.

Using swimming training tools can help all levels of swimmers to improve their form, fitness and power, and ultimately become faster, more efficient swimmers.


Having been a swimmer for over 40 years, I can guarantee one thing:

In swimming, there is always room for improvement.

Table of Contents

What are swimming tools?

Swimming tools are buoyancy, resistance or breathing aids that are “illegal” in competition but help to isolate sections of the body or sectors of the stroke.

Why should you use swimming tools?

As swimming is so complex, it makes trying to learn and do everything all at once somewhat overwhelming. This is where training tools can play a huge role in helping make you a better swimmer.


While training tools are fantastic for helping you become a better swimmer, you should never feel that the only way you can swim well is with them. In other words, you should use them to build your swimming skills, so you can be a better swimmer.


Integrating the use of training tools into a program so that they are an asset and don’t become a crutch is essential for novice swimmers. Often, these swimmers take great confidence from training with the tools but are unable to translate the skills learned into improved times on race day.

How to improve using swimming tools

All training tools will require some getting used to. If you have a chance, try them out on your own outside of a structured session so you don’t have the added pressure of the set or the clock adding to the overwhelm.
Tools like Paddles and Snorkels should be adjusted to fit your body. Fins need to be the correct size for your feet. Make sure you have all the sizing done well in advance of your swimming session.


Largely, the type of swimmer you are is determined by your body position in the water. A coach on the pool deck would easily identify this for you, or you could do this by completing our CSS swim test.

Calculate your Swim Training Zones

What are YOUR optimal paces for each section of your swim training program?

Use our CSS swim pace calculator.
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The category of swimming training tools will largely be determined by the category of the swimmer.


  • Novice swimmers mostly need to correct their Form.
  • Intermediate swimmers mostly need to develop Fitness but will still work on their Form.
  • Advanced swimmers  will continue to work on improving their have good Form and Fitness.  They will benefit from increasing their Force.

Categories of Training Tools

There are 3 broad categories of swimming training tools.

They are Tools for Form, Tools for Fitness and Tools for Force.


  • Tools for Form are used to improve the body position
  • Tools for Fitness are used to improve aerobic, anaerobic or muscular “fitness”.
  • Tools for Force are used to improve power, torque or strength.

During a training session, each tool will be used to target a focus area. Some tools, however, will have a use, to a greater or lesser extent, across two or three of the broad categories.

Some tools can be used across the spectrum from Novice to Advanced swimmer, while others should only be used by certain swimmers.

Some tools can be used in combination, others are used exclusively.

List of Swimming Training Tools

Below is a list of swimming training tools. 

Click on each to go to a seperate blog post that deals specifically with each tool.


Pull Buoy




Ankle Band