Friday, May 21, 2010

Swimming Paddles Review

Hi Folks,

Recently I bought some swimming toys since I got rewarded a gift card valued at about 200 bucks :) . Everyone thinks I am crazy. I could have spent it on an expensive dinner, some electronic gadgets or just buy some nice fashionable shirts. Instead I went to buy some worhtless piece of plastics ? :) Yeah I am crazy about swimming! After swimming and testing with all of the paddles, I decided to do a review. Note that these are just my personal opinion/views and I am not endorsed by any company.

So the test objects are:

From left to right :

Strokemaker, TYR Catalyst, Speedo Training Paddles and Finis finger paddles.

Test subject :)

Results :

StrokeMaker paddles:

Opinion : This paddles are extremely light , which I think it is good because during the recovery , it doesn't strain so much of your shoulders, and also I can have a better feel of my arms and better control. It is like using a thinner glove compare to a thicker glove during dishwashing ( sigh, i hate dishwashing) . The many tiny holes in the paddles also let you "feel" the water through the palms. The design(shape) of the paddles allows you to 'grab' the water for an early vertical forearm(EVF) catch. I can totally feel my forearm straining which is good!

Pros : Light weight, good feel of water , assist in vertical forearm , emphasize catch phase if properly done.

Cons : Tubes easily come off

Notes: Center tube holds 1 finger.

TYR Catalyst Paddles:

Opinion : Stylish looking paddles but this is a heavy paddles which in my opinion is not very good the recovery. Recovery phase of the freestlye is supposed to be relaxed but because of the weight of the paddles, i have to use a little bit more to lift the paddles. Since it is heavier, during the pull phase, it is harder to feel the water as well ( as if you are holding some paper weights ) One good thing is the tubes fits nicely to your hands and it doesn't come out.

Pros : Stylish looking , hands fits nicely and the tubes make sure your hands doesnt slip out of the paddles

Cons : Heavy , lack of water feel , the pinky finger out of the way when fitting to hands

Notes: Center tube holds 3 fingers.

Speedo Paddles

Opinions: These are classic Speedo paddles, probably the first paddles I have used since 20 years ago. They are light weight and the design is simple( A square shape). Feels a little bit rigid though during the catch and pull phase but I would recommend this for beginners who are first timers in trying paddles. It doesn't strain as much as the TYR and Strokemaker paddles cause the paddles is smaller and it is good for beginners to try out.

Pros : Right size for beginners. They are smaller Speedo paddles than this one shown in this blog

Cons : No holes in the paddles, water feel is less.

Notes: Center tube holds 1 finger

Finis Sculling Finger Paddles

Opinions : For a start , this is a different category of paddles, it is called finger paddles and for sculling purposes and also you can use it to swim in all four strokes ! It is one of the breakthrough me thinks. It heighten your senses/feel of the water when it comes to the catch and pull phase. It is extremely light so you won't feel like there are paddles sticking to your hands. Recommended for all levels of swimmers (from beginners to season swimmers )Try it with all of the strokes and you can really feel your arm 'catching' the water right at the beginning of the entry phase to the catch and pull phase. For me , this really improves my back stroke arm entry

Backstroke with Finis Finger Paddles

Butterfly with Finis Finger Paddles ( My fly is my worst stroke :( )

Breaststroke with Finis Finger Paddles
(Extremely good training for the underwater pull out ! )

Pros : Light weight, good for sculling and all strokes. Improves catch phase.

Cons : Easily come off , It came off during my breaststroke swim (in the video)

Notes: Center tubes holds two fingers. Also, Since this is a different category of paddles, this paddles does not improve your strength but rather improve your 'catch' phase of the water in all strokes.


- Best paddle for strength : StrokeMakers
- Best paddle for strokes : Finis Sculling Finger Paddles
- Best paddle for beginners : Speedo ( Strengh ) , Finger Paddles (Feel)

One last point, please note that one shall not solely train with paddles all the time, you will lose your natural water feel of your arms , I think one should only use it maximum 30% of the time during your workout. Same goes with pull buoy. I seen many swimmers who runs a lot uses pull buoy all the time and they completely lose their kicking . They become very slow once they take out their pull buoy and this is not good, not good :)

Finally, have a great swim !


  1. hey can swimming make you built? Not like body builder built, but at least some kind of muscle bulk?

  2. Comparatively speaking I wouldn't say your butterfly is worse technically than any of the others. Breaststroke actually looked the most promising, minor timing issue between the arms and kick. Just make the pull a bit quicker. And try bending your elbow more on entry with your backstroke.

    Swimming isn't a muscle builder sport. With a nice training regimen, I mean like 1 1/2-3 hours a day is my frame of reference from a competitive standpoint, you definitely will build muscle tone, but bulk will happen if you include dryland (core and weights). If you want bulk, try water polo. My training for polo always included more weights and abs and swimming more cardio, jumps, resistance bands. Basically speed, less muscle.

  3. To the author of the blog, The StrokeMakers straps can be reconfigured with another upward loop to stop the strap from falling out. (technically, you do not want any thing other than a flat surface on the bottom of the paddle) In addition, the mid finger straping can be reconfigured to the lower holes where it wraps closer to your knuckles instead on the tip of your fingers. , To the commenter above with regards to body building with swimming, it is definitely an activity that is most rounded in terms of fitness. It burns calories, build flexible muscles.. especially core muscles, it is cardio workout as well and if you breath properly, you will build up a large lung capacity and the cardio will ensure your body is in a good state of fitness.

  4. Hi - thank you for your review - you have seriously problem with freestyle arm technique - that mean paddles "strokemaker: doesn't work...:)))