I’ve spent the better part of the last decade walking out my back door to do majority of my swim training. I’m lucky enough to have a lake over my fence in the backyard on the Gold Coast, Australia – watch this.

But this year in my return bid to qualify for a third Olympic Games early competition taught me I would need to make some specific adjustments. Main objective was to increase pure start speed to improve my position towards the first turning buoy. Imagine 70 of the world’s best male triathletes jumping in together trying to get around a single buoy within 2-3mins of swimming. It often makes water polo look clean under water.

Coincidence or not? The coach and squad of arguably the current fastest swimmer on the planet moved their training mid year to Bond University’s Pool a few minutes away. That’s now where you find me most mornings at 5am. First step was to acquire the right gear to complete the sessions. Here’s what’s currently being used in my swim gear bag.

Swim Paddles

Swimming Paddles - Grant Hackett

A.K.A ‘Dinner Plates’ these were one of the smaller sizes used in Denis Cotterell’s distance squad on the the Gold Coast back in the late 90’s with some pretty decent swimmers like Grant Hackett. This off coloured pair are one of the original. Home made cut and drilled out of large sheets of plastic from a simple template. Nothing fancy here but great value as these are close to 20 years old!!!

Swans Goggles

Swans Googles and RedBull Swimming Cap

Nothing beats Japanese quality. My good friend Yasu Hirai, Japan’s ichiban 10km open water Olympian introduced me to Swans goggles. I race in the asian mould which are super slim, but train in these european style model above.


DMC Warrior Swim Fins

DMC Warrior Swim Fins

I hadn’t used swim fins in over 15 years. But since recently joining Richard Scarce’s squad at Bond University have reaped the benefits of variation in my swim workouts. Why the gold DMC? nearly ever swimmer in the squad wears them & was told the GOLD version would be softest on my runners feet. So I went and bought the them. SOLD.

Bond Uni Swimming Kick Board

Bond Swimming - Kick Board

Same goes for kicking. I didn’t have a kick board until mid year. But have seen how regular kick throughout sessions has helped not only balance my stroke up, but also improved my core stability which transfers over to running. I technically don’t own this kick board. Property of Bond Swimming! But I’m told if you want to buy 50. On alibaba.com they cost you around 2 bucks a piece.

Pull Buoy & Band

Pull Buoy and Band - Swimming

Unlike the kickboard and fins, the pull buoy and band have been my go to equipment to maintain my triathlon swimming at a level where I could come out of the water close to the lead of the front pack in any race around the globe. Basically I relied on strength and didn’t log that many kms. But just like all swim aids, each have their place to help but are no substitute for quality stroke and smart consistent work. Not even sure where this pool buoy came from? But again you don’t need the latest to get the job done. This shape was comfortable so I’ve never needed to change even though my dog has reduced the amount of buoyancy over time taking some chunks off it.



Candidate for best hotel lap pool around the globe #SchlossLebenberg @kitzbuehel_tirol #triathlon

A photo posted by Courtney Atkinson Triathlon (@courtney_akco) on

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