If you are training for a triathlon, it's worth taking a look at some of the swim training aids that are available to help with your training regime. Each of these items have been especially designed to help with specific areas of swim training, working different parts of the body to help improve your strength and technique. Used as part of your regular swim training, they can help make a significant difference to your performance.
Hand paddles or gloves
Paddles are a flat or slightly curved piece of plastic that you attach to your hands via silicone or elastic straps. Hand paddles are available in a variety of sizes and by increasing the surface area of the hand it increases the water resistance as you are swimming meaning you have to work harder as you pull your arm through the water. This not only increases your upper body power, but it also causes you to focus on your technique, making you a more efficient swimmer. If you find the plastic hand paddles uncomfortable, webbed gloves also increase resistance through the water and can be a useful alternative.
Swim Fins are similar to flippers, only shorter. When you use fins, you are propelled faster through the water and your legs have to work harder to keep that speed. The extra work required when wearing fins has the overall benefit of increasing the power and strength in your legs. Fins also help to improve your body position as they increase your buoyancy, meaning your legs and overall body position is higher in the water.
There are a range of floats and kickboards available to assist with your training. Kickboards are gripped in extended arms above the head, letting you focus all your efforts on your kick. For arm-specific training, pull buoys are a specially shaped float that is placed between your legs, enabling you to focus purely on your arm stroke. A pull kick is a combination of a kickboard and pull buoy resulting in only having to buy and carry one float.
You will find a great range of Triathlon training aids from leading brands such as Speedo, Zoggs and Maru at Simply Swim.