If you're looking to treat the triathlete in your life - or yourself - this Christmas, check out our pick of superlative swim essentials
Blueseventy Sprint wetsuit
The Sprint has been specifically designed for those starting out in triathlon who want a comfortable suit that will perform well. It focuses on warmth, comfort and buoyancy, each of which is important for first-time open-water swimmers. It's available in a wide range of sizes. Voted best for value in Triathlete's World, June 2011.
How much? £130
Aqua Sphere Kayenne
These goggles, favoured by 2011 Texas Ironman winner Catriona Morrison, have a huge field of vision, thanks in part to the diamond-shaped lens. If you're looking for a pair of goggles to take you from the pool to open water, they're a smart option.
How much: £18.99
Swimovate Poolmate Pro
The Pool-Mate was launched in 2009 and was an instant hit. secret behind great swimming is great technique. The Pro version not only records your laps, speed, distance and efficiency in the water, it also downloads your PC, allowing detailed analysis of your progress.
How much? £129.99
Orca Swim Jammer Classic
25 swimming world records were broken at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, thanks in part to the new body-suit technology adopted by the majority of competitors. We're not suggesting you dress head to toe in Lycra, but what you wear in the pool will affect your aquadynamics. These swim shorts will let you slip through the water with ease.
How much? £39
Zoggs Jewel Reef swimsuit
A great swimsuit will provide ample support without restricting movement. This offering from Zoggs did just that and was voted Triathlete's World best on test earlier this year. It's racy yet comfortable cut and supportive, quick-drying fabric impressed our tester and ensured quick times in the pool.
How much? £39.99
You Tube swim technique videos
It's not easy honing your swim technique using diagrams from a book. Instead look to learn from the greatest swimmers and coaches of all time using the videos on You Tube. Take lessons from world-class freestyler Alexander Popov to Swim for Tri's head coach Dan Bullock and you should see rapid improvements.
How much? Free
DEFOGit antifog cloths
Fog-free vision is useful when you're trying to aim for a distant buoy in a churning mass of flailing arms. With these handy wipes you can ensure clear vision whether you're in the swim or on the bike or run. The wipes are safe to use on all lenses and the anti-fog protection worked well even when we worked up a sweat.
How much? £5.95
When you're weary of the solitude and silence of ploughing up and down the pool, music can be a great motivator. This waterproof MP3 attaches to your goggle straps and is Mac and PC compatible. You're unlikely to need its 500 track capacity and nine hours of playing time unless you're training to swim the Channel - although we'd recommend you never listen to music in open water.
How much? £75
Zoggs Matrix Hand Paddles
Technique is key when it comes to faster swimming. These small paddles are ideal for working on stroke mechanics. They sit comfortably in the hand to ensure smooth and efficient movement to ensure you develop feel for the water. They're good value and will suit swim newbies as well as more experienced triathletes looking to fine-tune their strokes.
How much? £9.99
Speedo Aqua-V hat
If you're serious about your swim times, the smooth form of this multi-density silicone hat offers a five per cent reduction in drag compared to regular latex caps. Michael Phelps wears this hat, and it seems to work for him.
How much? £13.99
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