Ahh, the sound of water rushing past your ears, the whoosh of breath in and out. Maybe coaches’ or lifeguards’ whistles blowing in the distance, shouts, snatches of conversation, children screaming (joy or anguish, you never know). The usual auditory background to swimming… Sometimes that’s enough. Sometimes you want something else. Something different. Something that runners are used to having: music. Purists can stop reading right now. Actually I wasn’t sure I’d like to swim to music when I first heard about Finis’ SwiMP3, but came around pretty quickly. I don’t like it all the time, but sometimes it’s just the thing.
There are some options if you want to listen to music while swimming. I like the SwiMP3 because it doesn’t block my ears like other waterproof players. I can still hear everything that’s going on around me (depending on how loud I have the unit set). Rather than earbuds, the SwiMP3 has small, flat paddles that rest on your cheeks and conduct the sound through your bones. Check out the site for technical details.
The sounds is good – better under water than out of the water – but that’s the idea, right? In my experience it works better with music than with spoken word or lectures. It’s easy to miss words and then lose track of what’s being said, whereas I think we fill in any breaks in music, especially if we’re familiar with the song.
Problems: I’ve had to return quite a few of them over the years for various problems. The wires on the first one I had weren’t very strong – they seem to have fixed that, and the unit has been redesigned since then. Another time the unit wouldn’t hold a charge. And on occasion, there’s a software issue. It’s kind of a pain, but the customer service is so responsive and it IS a fairly new product, so I can’t really complain.