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4th place, age group M30-34, Kona qualification

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Winner, age group M30-34

2013 IRONMAN Kalmar
2nd place, age group M30-34, Kona qualification

Finisher in 9 hours 30 minutes

5th place, Finnish Championship

Winner, age group M30-34

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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

360swim SaferSwimmer

As we all know, open water swimming, especially when done alone, has some notable risks to it. You never know when your leg starts cramping due to the awesome interval run you finished a couple of hours ago, suddenly turning your easy recovery swim into a fight for survival. Or it might be the guy blasting around with a jet ski and failing to see you because he's too busy spotting the bikinis at the nearby beach. 

Swimming in the pool under the watchful eyes of a lifeguard, however, only goes so far and it's a must for a triathlete to practice also his or her open water skills to perform well in a race. And it's not always so safe in the public pools either. You know what I'm talking about if you've tried the afterwork rush hour at your local pool. It makes for a great simulation of a mass start!

As a pilot and a father safety is always in my mind when I'm out there training and therefore I was glad when I got the opportunity to try and test 360swim's SaferSwimmer swim safety device. (Those guys at 360swim must have seen me swimming somewhere since they thought I would need one. Note to self: got to hire a swim coach!)

SaferSwimmer is basically an air filled bag made from sturdy plastic that you tie around your waist and pull behind you when swimming in the open water. It enables you to be better seen and provides a means to help you stay afloat in an emergency. Make no mistake, it's not a life saving device as such as a life jacket would be. But by hanging onto it, you may get the crucial moment of rest while you stretch out that cramp from your leg for example.

I've found the float very useful and it doesn't hinder my swimming by any means. I can hardly notice it's there. It also doubles as a watertight storage for your valuables and even flip-flops or light clothing so that you don't have to leave anything at the shore when you head out for your swim. The bright orange color can be seen from much farther than just your swimming cap, no matter how bright that cap is. Of course it's still a relatively small object that can hide between the waves and the swimmer has to always be alert whenever there is other traffic in the water.

Using the float is very simple. The design is very similar as in those watertight bags you see being used in sailing boats and kayaks. The other end of the float is open and once you've tucked your keys and phone in, you close it by folding the edge four times over itself and then clipping the buckle. Then you'll inflate the float by blowing into the nozzle and close the cap. Once this is done, the float is attached to your waist with an adjustable strap. Now you're ready! Just remember not to dive in head first as the float will give you a memorable yank and a few unnecessary battle scars for you to explain to your better half. 

I think that for such a small investment the SaferSwimmer offers a great additional safety layer that every triathlete should have in his or her gear bag. I know I wouldn't swim without one!

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