Swimming goggles are an essential part of any swimmer’s kit. Whether a novice swimmer or an Olympic athlete, the importance of goggles cannot be overstated. They offer the swimmer a clear vision under water, protect the eyes from harmful chemicals in the pool, and reduce drag. In this article, we delve into the specifics of what goggles do Olympic swimmers use, factors influencing their choice, and some popular brands among Olympians.
Why are Goggles so Important?
Swimming pools are usually treated with chlorine and other chemicals to maintain hygiene and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. These chemicals, though essential for sanitation, can be harsh on the eyes, causing irritation and discomfort. Goggles protect the eyes from these chemicals, making it easier and more comfortable for swimmers to spend extended periods in the water.
Clear Vision Underwater
Without goggles, human vision is blurry underwater. The refractive index of water is different from air, which interferes with our eyes’ ability to focus. Goggles create an air space in front of the eyes, allowing swimmers to see clearly underwater. This clarity is crucial during competitive swimming, where precise vision can make the difference between winning and losing.
Swimming goggles also contribute to better hydrodynamics. They provide a smooth contour around the eyes, reducing drag as the swimmer moves through the water. This can have a significant impact on speed during a race.
What Influences the Choice of Goggles for Olympians?
When choosing goggles, the most important factor for Olympic swimmers is comfort. Given that these athletes spend hours each day in the water, their goggles must feel like a natural extension of their face. They look for models that provide a comfortable fit without causing excessive pressure on the eyes or nose bridge.
Field of View
A broad field of view is vital for swimmers, especially during races. The goggles must allow the swimmers to see as wide an area as possible, helping them navigate the lanes, avoid colliding with other swimmers, and gauge their distance from the pool walls.
Anti-Fogging and UV Protection
Competitive swimmers often prefer goggles with anti-fogging properties. Foggy goggles can hinder the vision and performance of swimmers. UV protection is another important feature, especially for outdoor swimming, as it shields the eyes from harmful UV rays.
Despite the universal factors listed above, the choice of goggles largely boils down to personal preference. Some swimmers may prioritize certain aspects over others. For example, a swimmer with sensitive eyes might place more emphasis on the softness of the goggle seals, while another may focus on the goggle’s strap design for a secure fit.
Popular Goggle Brands Among Olympians
Speedo is a dominant brand in the world of professional swimming, with many Olympic athletes swearing by their products. The Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 is a popular model among Olympians due to its low-profile design, wide peripheral vision, and anti-fog technology.
Arena is another brand favored by Olympic swimmers. Their Cobra Ultra Goggles are known for their hydrodynamic design, providing minimal drag. These goggles also have five interchangeable nose bridges for a customizable fit.
TYR is a well-known brand among professional swimmers, and its products have been used in numerous Olympic games. The TYR Tracer Racing Goggles offer a sleek, low-profile design, making them a great choice for competitive swimmers.
Swedish goggles are a unique and popular choice among many Olympic swimmers. These goggles are sold as parts that swimmers assemble themselves, allowing a customizable fit. Although they do not have a cushioning gasket like other brands, many swimmers find them surprisingly comfortable and effective at reducing drag.
In conclusion, the choice of goggles for Olympic swimmers varies based on a range of factors. While brands like Speedo, Arena, and TYR are often seen at the Olympics, the ultimate choice boils down to individual comfort, fit, and personal preference. Regardless of the brand, all these goggles serve a common goal: to enhance the athlete’s performance and protect their eyes during their pursuit of excellence.