Train with Comfort and Convenience in Open Water
A new product designed by a Canadian Olympian Sharon Donnelly, is intended to make your open-water swims safer and easier.
“The popularity of Iron- distance triathlons means more people want to enjoy open-water swimming,” explains Donnelly, “but safety has to be paramount.”
Donnelly, triathlon gold medallist in the 1999 Pan American Games and one of the top swimmers when she competed on the itu circuit, has worked with several partners, including an engineer, to develop a bright yellow swim aid called ifloat. The waterproof bag makes swimmers more visible, allows them to swim with their cycling and running gear and is easily carried on the bike or run.
ifloat works empty or full. If you are doing a bike-to-swim workout, once you’ve packed the bag with your gear – your bike helmet, bike shoes, clothes and wallet, for example – it takes less than a minute to seal up, inf late and secure around your waist. The adjustable length of strap between the bag and the waist strap leaves the bag f loating near the back of the knees so it doesn’t make contact with your hands or feet while swimming.
Donnelly, who has coached national teams on both sides of the border, says there are many dry bags on the market but they’re not inf latable or streamlined for swimming. She tested a number of prototypes before settling on the current design, and says the ifloat is a sturdy, high- quality, all-in- one product that enhances training and gives her peace of mind as a swimmer and a coach. “Even if I have a lifeguard on duty, I never feel comfortable coaching a big group. At an open-water practice, triathletes often fall into smaller training groups based on ability, so I now get one or two swimmers in each group to wear an ifloat.”
“We use it at Meech Lake in Gatineau Park, Que. a lot. You start at one beach, swim a few kilometres on a straight course, get out of the water at another beach, and run back to where you started.”– TW