As I had indicated in one of my previous posts, many swimmers do not desire a conventional life vest while swimming. Moreover, life vests are not permitted in competitive sport. How about a way to ‘tuck’ the life jacket away to minimize interference with your swimming? SwimIT does exactly that for you. Even though this personal floatation device (PFD) was conceived in 2012 to provide security to the triathlon swimmers, it can serve a purpose in other open water (and indoor pool) sports and activities.
SwimIT primarily consists of a life jacket and a CO2 cartridge tucked in a ‘pouch’ that inflates with the pull of a tab. To better serve its purpose, the life jacket is tethered to the pouch with a 5 ft. chord and the pouch is strapped to the upper leg.
Some might argue about SwimIT’s size, but its simple and ingenious design lends itself to the ease of repacking of the life jacket and replacement of the CO2 cartridge. Allowing the non-propriety cartridges reduces the dependency on one source (in this case, manufacturer of SwimIT). Once the life jacket is deployed, a swimmer can strap it around his or her neck and easily swim to the shore. SwimIT is legal for most of the competitive swim races, including Triathlons and Ironman races. Of course, if deployed during the race, one would be disqualified. In my opinion, it is an easy choice between being disqualified or drowned. What would you choose?
During the swim portion of the triathlon, a number of swimmers have admitted to experiencing panic. Crowded waters, water current, and the adrenaline rush (and sometimes cold temperature) do not help either. Panic attacks can lead to undesired consequences. Having a PFD like SwimIT allows you to focus on the race and a peace of mind that security is within your arms reach.
If I were to use SwimIT, I would:
- Ensure the ‘pouch’ and the straps fit well
- Ensure the tab to inflate the life jack is easily reachable
- Practice inflating the life jacket under different conditions until I feel comfortable
- Learn to fold and pack the life jacket in the pouch and replace the CO2 cartridge
- Advise the user to try it out under varying swim conditions, even though the company states that the device is protected against unintended deployment
- Know the maintenance routine and ensure it always stays deployable
If I had to race in a triathlon or compete in any open water swimming, SwimIT would be my choice of safety device.
I like the simplicity of the design and ease of its use (and reuse).
– Meghna Sil