Posts Tagged ‘underwater MP3 players’

For fear of this turning into a ‘Monster’ blog I thought I would post about other things for a change. Namely, what happened to my swim watch and the last, final, complete end to the series Reign.

About a month ago I realised that my Swimovate Poolmate watch had gone missing. Normally I am very organised and if I can’t find something then I usually retrace my steps. However, since having Monster (there they are again), I have been experiencing bad memory issues and as I continued to search for my lost watch with no avail, I went from slightly irriated to anxious.

I have owned this watch for over 6 years and it has been there for me helping me train for every event, so I have a sentimental attachment to it.

After checking with my local haunts, Eltham Leisure Centre and Charlton Lido, I had nearly given up hope and so I purchased a new watch because it felt strange swimming without one. I purchased the next model up, but went for the same look as I have skinny wrists and I knew it would fit, only this time it had a black face instead of blue. Luckily as I was part of the Channel swimmers for Heart Research UK last year Swimovate were, opportunly, running a discount for the charity’s swimmers.

Needless to say, the new watch arrived and there was still no sign of the old watch.

Then at the weekend, I was manoeuvring Monster’s trike out of the shed to pack the top section with some snacks for a trip to the park, because when going out with a toddler you can never pack too much, I checked the top storage compartment of the trike and oddly enough (mainly because I don’t remember putting it in there), there was my watch.

I was jumping up and down with joy which surprised‎ me as I didn’t know I could still jump for joy, nor could I be that lively considering I had been up since 5:00am.

So where this blog was supposed to say goodbye swim watch, it now says goodbye and hello. I was convinced it had been thrown out in a plastic bag I use in my swim kit to store wet items.‎ Needless to say, I now need to keep a close watch (excuse the pun) on where I put it.

In additional to swimming technology, I recently purchased a new underwater MP3 player. I have used several over the years and my favourite has been by far the Speedo Aquabeat (first generation), however we now have a very close rival.

It has flexible innovative memory wire on the headphones also they bend to the shape of your ear for a great fit under your swim cap (if you wear one that is). The sound quality is really good, I can’t complain (and I am the type to, trust me), clear large and easy to press buttons (particularly good under water), MP3/WMA/WAVformats, 8GB Memory, built in Rechargeable Battery with up to 12 hours of listening time. It is lightweight as one would expect, the dimensions are 36 x 51 x 19mm and the weight is 20.2g.

The only downfall, I must have missed the section where it says that it does not support Windows 10. Overall though, a nice bit of swimmers kit.

 Those who watch the series Reign on Netflix will have learnt that the ‎final final episode aired last Saturday. I didn’t actually realise it was the last one even though I know the story of the two Queens very well.

We, the audience, were approaching the point where King Darnley was about to meet his maker, but I was unsure where the Reign writers would take the series following Mary Stuart’s arrest. We know other things happened during Mary’s incarceration but the writers decided to end it and it was a very tear-jerking but also happy ending – contradictory I know.

I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it and if you haven’t watched the series at all, I strongly recommend it. If you liked The Tudors then you will like this series too. It is filled with exceptional actors, it keeps to the story we have in records (with a little creative writing in places of course), but if you want to watch an entertaining series that will invoke every emotion and will leave you wanting more then watch Reign. It will not only captivate you, but it will also remind you how far women and society in general have come, both in the British Monarchy and overall.

Since the last entry, the little human (known as Monster) is moving around a lot more, and is contributing to a lot of conversations, in fact monster tries and ‘over talks’ most people and you can see people’s faces cringe when this happens – yes I am now the woman with ‘that child’. However there is a difference between ‘talking’ and whinging and I think that most people recognise this. In recent days one side of the line still holds the 0-3 month clothes, while the other side now has 3-6 month clothing. Where did that time go?

Speaking of baby clothes, I am astounded by the price of baby swimwear. For a normal 3-6 month swimsuit this can set you back £16.99. My swimwear costs slightly more and that is designed for sports and endurance training – have babies starting swimming marathons now? Also, like with most babies clothing, it is hard to know how much is too much. For example, do you just keep it to normal swimwear such as a swimsuit, or add a warmer over the top. Given that I will only be taking Monster to indoor swimming venues for the time being, I think we will just stick to a normal swimsuit for now.

With regards to my kit, for those that don’t know, I have swum for over 30 years, this of course is most of my life, but in the last decade I have incorporated more events and worked on my endurance swimming. Swimming has always come naturally to me, so it only makes sense that I take advantage of my ability to swim long distance, both for the fitness and wellbeing aspects, but also it fuels my competitive side and the need for personal goalsetting – Urg corporate phrasing much!

As one can imagine, swimming for long distances can be both time-consuming and it can make your mind wander. An example of this was last year when I did a 12 hour overnight swim. For the first time in an event, I actually suffered boredom with the swimming. As time went on through the night, it became more challenging due to fatigue, seeing where one was going, and the other drawbacks that can come with such an event, such as chaffing and if in salt water, the salt will irritate even the smallest of wounds you have.

To relieve any monotony when training I use aids such as an underwater MP3 player. I have used several makes and models over the years, all of which will have their pros and cons, and all will have an element of endurance themselves. My favourite was the Speedo Aquabeat, which unfortunately is no longer in production. I had one of the first models and as soon as the upgrades began for Windows 7 the Aquabeat would no longer connect to a computer as it would only run on XP. While the device was still useable, this meant that I could not change the music which soon became boring – thus the circle was complete. So it was time for a new device.

My latest device took a while to get to grips with, I couldn’t get it to work in the pool, the earphones were unsuitable (for some reason since pregnancy I have only been able to use particular earphones), and when I managed to get the thing working (which in the end took several weeks), I then accidently wore it into the showers after the swim and got shampoo in it. Oops. Anyway it still works so all is right with the world.

Over the years when using devices such as this and my Swimovate Poolmate watch (which I love), it has got me thinking do these devices hinder the swim more as opposed to their original purpose which is to aid motivation and performance? In which case would it not be more productive using the time to swim and train rather than, for all intense purposes, faff around with reinserting headphones, changing the track on said MP3 player, adjusting state of the art goggles, realising your watch which was supposed to start counting five lengths ago isn’t switched on and so on….

Most of the time, given the distances I swim, I feel like I need an aid as even though most of the time my mind is going a mile a minute, if on the rare occasion my mind is blank, or I am not having a great swim, or I experienced road rage on the way to the lido, then I need something to either distract or destress me while the swim works itself out.

All in all, I would really like a new and improved Speedo Aquabeat or alternative given that they are no longer in production. For now my new one will do the job, but I feel the search will continue for as long as I swim.

Following my debut into parenthood I am currently swimming 22 miles over a maximum of 12 weeks for Helping Hearts. If you would like to donate, please visit my JustGiving page.

Those who are in the know know that I use underwater MP3 players as training aids. These devices can be contentious in the swimming community but for the long distance folk among us I think they are great. There are a few things I have learnt though:

1) If you play catchy music you may start to add a type of jig to your swimming form, you will also begin to sing when swimming… This inevitably results in you coughing and spluttering and looking like and idiot in front of everyone in the pool.

2) The earplugs stop water going in your ears which means no infection – result. BUT don’t ram them into your ears too far otherwise you will deafen yourself for 2 days

3) Fit the earplugs before you get in the water otherwise you will loose them as soon as you kick off and spend every other length readjusting them, which again can result in frustration, ramming them in your ears and deafening yourself for 2 days.

4) Be aware of your surroundings, people may want to get your attention so if you hear someone faintly calling take a bit of time to find out who it is, or use the opportunity to ignore them if you choose – they won’t know any different.

5) Your balance may be affected.

So what prompted this post was the loss of my beloved Speedo Aquabeat. Then my backup malfunctioned. My Speedo Aquabeat was three years old and still going strong. While I am not bothered about sound quality under water the Speedo was superior in every way.

It is a bad habit to get into but now, when I don’t have music to train to I get a little lost. I start thinking about work, the house we are buying, will I have enough money raised for the charity Channel swim…

So I managed to get a new MP3 player very quickly, and raised some money towards Aspire charity through my Easyfundraising toolbar (basically when you shop online the retailer donates to your chosen charity) – again result!

The device is an Xenta and will do for the time being until I can gather some money together for a new Speedo Aquabeat. On its maiden voyage I also found that this one tends to be an escape artist. While this does have a clip, the 35mm plug is loose and the clip does not stay attached to your swimsuit so I have reverted back to putting it down my swimsuit, but even so it still tries to travel around my body and out the back. It has been retrieved by two swimmers already.

Oh well, at least I am not left to my thoughts. Long live the beat.



The Speedo Aquabeat can be purchased from many places such as Speedo online, Argos, Amazon and many more, but please remember if you are going to purchase this device, please go to my easyfundraising page and select the retailer from there, that way the retailer will donate to my Channel swim without costing you a penny.