best snorkels for lap swimming

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The Athlete Approved Guide to Using a Snorkel for Lap Swimming

Athlete Approved agrees: the best piece of equipment to use for swimming is a snorkel.

If you are looking to improve your training, then read on for our buyer’s guide for the top 6 best snorkels for lap swimming, plus why and how to use one.

Our Athlete Approved guide to using a snorkel for lap swimming includes:

  • Best Overall Snorkel
  • Best Competitive Swimmer Snorkel
  • Best Simplistic Snorkel
  • Best Looking Snorkel
  • Best Kid’s Snorkel
  • Best Budget Snorkel
  • Who Should Use a Snorkel
  • Why Use a Snorkel
  • How to Use A Snorkel
  • Snorkel Pro Tips

Created and patented by Finis in 1995, the modern center mounted snorkel is a staple for swimmers looking to improve their stroke technique. They consist of a plastic pipe, rubber mouthpiece, purge valve (on some models) and an adjustable padded head strap to accommodate all head shapes.

Lap swimmers should use a “center-mounted” snorkel. A center-mounted snorkel goes from your mouth to your forehead. The best center-mounted snorkel fits comfortably, creates little drag, and is stable for lap swimming.

Finis Snorkel Swim
Center-Mounted Snorkel for Lap Swimming

A traditional snorkel goes from your mouth to the side of your head. It creates a lot of drag and is not conducive for lap swimming.

Snorkels help swimmers improve their technique, exercise without worry of missing a breath, and increase lung capacity. Fins and paddles are super helpful tools for lap swimming, but snorkels are the best training tool.

THE BEST OVERALL SNORKEL: Finis Original Swimmer’s Snorkel

Our top overall pick for the best snorkel for lap swimming is the Finis Original Swimmer’s Snorkel. Swimmers associate Finis with snorkels, just like they associate pools with water. The team at Finis invented the center-mounted snorkel and have been perfecting it since 1995. The Original Swimmer’s Snorkel is a Finis best seller.

The Original Swimmer’s Snorkel has a one-way purge valve which allows water to flow out of it. The head bracket is adjustable to fit comfortably on your head.

It has two color options: yellow and pink. There is also a specific children’s size snorkel called the Jr Swimmer’s Snorkel (listed as our top pick for kids).

You can add additional toys to this snorkel, such as the snorkel Cardio Cap and Dry Top. The Cardio Cap helps increase lung capacity by increasing your workload by 40%. The Dry Top assists you in keeping the inner tube dry.

THE BEST COMPETITIVE SWIMMER SNORKEL: Finis Stability Snorkel

The Finis Stability Snorkel is our top pick for competitive swimmers. It is perfect for experienced swimmers looking for a snorkel that they can use for both drills and tough training.

This newest Finis edition of the snorkel is designed without a head bracket and purge valve. This gives it an extremely comfortable fit. It curves just right around the head, helping you cut through the water at high speeds with correct body position.

It has 5 adjustable lengths that make it super comfortable. When we tested it swimming at full speed with fins and paddles, this snorkel lives up to its name: “Stability Snorkel”!

It comes in black, white, teal, and yellow.

THE BEST SIMPLISTIC SNORKEL: Speedo Bullet Head Snorkel

The Speedo Bullet Head Snorkel has a simple design. It features a padded headband with an adjustable strap for comfort. This snorkel gives you stability when swimming at any speed. The low profile shape also maximizes visibility.

It has a removable mouth piece, which makes it easy to clean. It does not have a purge valve, which is great for intermediate and advanced swimmers. Beginner swimmers should be sure to have enough air in their lungs to clear it should it fill with water.

This snorkel comes in solid colors of charcoal, shocking lime, and white. You can also find it in floral and red/white/navy, but expect to pay a few extra dollars for those designs.

THE BEST LOOKING SNORKEL: MP Michael Phelps Focus Swim Snorkel

Our pick for the best looking snorkel for lap swimming is the MP Michael Phelps Focus Swim Snorkel. Some say, when you look good you feel good! This snorkel is endorsed by the greatest swimmer of all-time himself, Michael Phelps.

The Focus Swim Snorkel is not all great looks. It is also a solid pick for beginners to advanced swimmers.

The difference of color in tube and strap give it a uniquely and beautiful contrast. It comes in black, blue, coral, neon, and purple.

THE BEST KID’S SNORKEL: Finis Original Swimmer’s Snorkel Junior

It is no surprise Finis populates 3 of the best snorkels for lap swimming on our list! The Finis Original Swimmer’s Snorkel is our top overall pick. Unlike many other snorkels, it also comes in this specific junior size for children.

The Junior Finis Swimmer’s Snorkel for kids delivers all of the features of the adult size. It is time tested and proven to be a great fit for children.

The junior size is suitable for kids up to a young teen. It comes in the Finis’ patented yellow and black color.

THE BEST BUDGET SNORKEL: ylon-a Swimmer’s Snorkel

The ylon-a Swimmer’s Snorkel is our snorkel on a budget pick. It is slick, light weight, and easily fits into your swim bag.

It may not have all the bells and whistles of other snorkels on the market, but it gets the job done. The smaller design of this snorkel keeps it in place. Our favorite feature is the removable mouthpiece. It is easy to detach, which makes it simple to clean.

It comes in three unique solid colors of aqua, pink, blue, navy, and red.

Let us know if you agree with our best snorkels for lap swimming picks in our comments and on social media! View all of our Athlete Approved gear here!

Who Should Use a Snorkel for Lap Swimming

The answer is all swimmers. Over the past two decades, snorkels for lap swimming are commonplace at the pool. Everyone from beginner to advanced swimmers should be use a snorkel. They are also helpful for swimmers with injuries.

Freestyle side breathing can be tough for a brand new swimmer! Beginner swimmers who have yet to master breathing find comfort in knowing they can breathe freely with a snorkel.

Beginner swimmers should use it to learn their optimal body line and work on elevating their hips. This piece of equipment is awesome for drills, because you can clearly see your arms’ entry point, catch, and finish uninterrupted. 

Hundredths of a second can decide if you will win or lose a swim race. Advanced swimmers use snorkels to eliminate the breathing motion and perfect other areas of their technique.

Advanced swimmers should place additional emphasis on their body rotation. For hip-driven freestyle, swimmers should focus on extending with their catch arm while rotating from their core. Sprinters looking to develop shoulder-driven and body-driven freestyle should use this equipment in conjunction with fins and paddles to accentuate hip elevation and explosive shoulder connectivity. Using a snorkel allows you to keep your head still while working on these finer technical points.

Snorkels are also a great tool for lap swimmers who have neck and back injuries. They allow you to keep your head and neck still. The good news is there is no shame in using a snorkel 100% of the time when lap swimming.

Why Use a Snorkel for Lap Swimming

The top 3 Athlete Approved reasons you should use a snorkel to improve your swimming:

  1. Uninterrupted technique for added focus.
  2. Improves body positioning.
  3. Builds aerobic capacity.

A snorkel allows swimmers to focus on their technique uninterrupted by breathing motions. That is one less thing to worry about! 

Primarily used during freestyle training, snorkels help in correcting head position while heightening hand awareness on the entry and catch phases of the stroke. In addition, its center construction allows swimmers to maintain a full range of motion across a variety of different strokes and drills. 

The restrictive airflow is beneficial for building lung capacity, and building VO2 Max, a crucial component of swimming efficiently. VO2 Max is an individual’s maximum oxygen capacity during exercises of increasing intensity.

Snorkels can also be used to increase lung capacity. Combining training sessions with other breathing equipment such as the PowerBreathe Plus will further push swimmers’ hypoxic limits.

How to Use A Snorkel for Lap Swimming

Place the snorkel over your head. Secure it by pulling on the ends of the rubber straps to ensure a snug fit around your head with the head padding centered on your forehead and the snorkel mounted center.

Insert the mouthpiece into your mouth and make a closed seal around the rubber gasket. Breathe through your mouth, and refrain from breathing through your nostrils! Start by practicing using the snorkel on land, then in the water without submerging the entire snorkel.

Snorkel Pro Tips

When a snorkel fills with water, expel the water by blowing out in a rapid burst. This will clear it and allow you to breath through it again.

Beginners should begin with a snorkel with a purge valve like the Finis Original Swimmer’s Snorkel for easier water clearance. Once you master the technique, you can build up to one without, such as the Finis Stability Snorkel or MP Michael Phelps Focus Swim Snorkel

Mastering a flipturn with a snorkel takes practice. Beginner swimmers can start with a nose clip to plug their nose when using a snorkel during a flipturn. This will help save enough air in your lungs to purge the water.

More competitive swimmers can make snorkel training more challenging by restricting airflow further with a snorkel cardio cap.

Athlete Approved Tip: Be mindful of how many inches of the snorkel extend out of the water. Olympic Coach Mike Bottom teaches that 2+ inches of snorkel showing above water is too high when using a snorkel. When only a couple of inches break the surface of the water, your head is in the correct down position.

Snorkels for Lap Swimming Conclusion

Snorkels can be used by any swimmer for a variety of applications and purposes. Whether you are training for fitness or competition, it is essential to have in your swim bag. Combine it with other Athlete Approved equipment for maximum results!

Use a snorkel in your current training sessions to push yourself towards more efficient and speedy swimming! 

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