- I enjoy swimming. Really I do, I like being in the water and the way it feels, sounds and looks.
- I get bored easily.
- Swim training (when it’s not open water) involves a lot of back and forth laps in the pool. That can get boring, even for people like me.
- I’m a tech-geek, and I probably wouldn’t get up to half the exercise and training that I do without toys to play with.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see why I’d invest in devices like those from H2O Audio. I started way back buying one of their earlier editions for the 2nd generation iPod.
|Exhibit A: The Accused
My first problem was having the wrong generation iPod Nano… I had a Black 1st edition which I lost after putting it in a jacket pocket in the spring, then not using the jacket again for an entire season. I bought a 2nd generation one and was off into the water. The problem with this ‘Waterproof’ Case was that it relied on a rubber gasket to maintain the seal, and this gasket was not fastened to the case with any kind of adhesive; it was up to the user to make sure there would be a seal every time you put the iPod into the case. You can guess what happened…
|Exhibit B: The Victim
Now normally, when burned by a poor quality product, I simply turn my back and walk away, but I guess my gear-head self wouldn’t give up on the concept when I saw later generations of the products.
I got what is now branded as the Amphibx Armband. What I liked about this piece was that different size devices could be fit into it; they kept in simple and it was easy and flexible to be able to connect the speaker/headphone jack.
Once the original iPod Nano had been recovered (it’s probably gone through at least another two cycles of long-term loss and recovery), it had been eclipsed by other devices as a prime music device. So it was a great candidate to be potentially sacrificed to the Water Gods in another experiment. No issues, the armband hasn’t leaked yet.
The problems weren’t over yet though. I still had the first generation earphones. These things looked like the speakers from a telephone, only somewhat miniaturized. They were hard to fit into my ears, and got uncomfortable after a while, but even worse, they’d let plenty water get between them and my ear canal.
|My hands are pretty average size, so you get an idea of how big the speaker is…
So I would typically start playing music at a given volume, then start swimming. As water got in my ear, the volume would seem to go down to the point where I couldn’t really hear the music (I would have thought I’d hear the music better due to water being a denser medium than air, but I’m telling you what I experienced). I’d turn up the volume to compensate, but the second the water cleared (if I took my head out of the water for sighting, or to take a break or anything), the music would be deafening.
Someone told me there was a newer better model out so finally this year, I got a pair from Amazon*. The Surge Sportwraps seem to be marketed for Boardsports more than swimming (probably because the band around the back doesn’t play well with a swim cap), but I like that they hug the head; it’s what I look for in running earphones too.
On my last Trifecta Tuesday, I went for a swim. I was a little tired from a 16km run plus the Kyle’s Krusade Virtual Race 5k (PR!), so I decided I simply wanted to crank out 1.5km in the pool without drill sets or anything complicated. The perfect setting for the new kit.
Though I ended up stopping a few times in the first few hundred meters to adjust the phones in my ears and make the Sportwrap play nice with my goggles and swim cap, I can tell you the audio experience was better than ever before and the volume stayed at a fairly even level so I was able to enjoy music throughout the swim. I’ll revisit what effects that had on my swim experience in Part 2 of this series.