Tue, Jan 24, 2023Rick's Tricks! Advice from ROC Swimming & Zone3Sports, by Rick Hellard

Rick Hellard is the local legend behind ROC Swimming and Zone3Sports. He's one of the regions most accomplished athletes, and one of the most accomplished coaches for swimming and triathlon. For 2023, Somersault is lucky enough to have him as our Swim Cap Sponsor. Today, he's offering some advice about swim goggles. This article is part of a new series we're doing, called Rick's Tricks. Check in often to see what other tips and tricks Rick has for you!

If you have any more questions for Rick, or if you're looking for some coaching support, be sure to send him an email at zone3sports@gmail.com.

Rick's Tricks!

As a long-time triathlon and swim coach, one of the things I see the most in the pool is triathletes fidgeting with goggles, caps, and paddles, whereas the swimmers rarely have issues with any of their equipment.

Goggles and goggle fit are the biggest issues by far, and with this article, I hope to help you achieve the perfect symbiosis between you and your goggles.

It is important to realize a few things.

  1. Everyone is different, and your buddies' preferred goggles may not work for you, no matter how good they are.  
  2. Few people are so special that no goggles work.  It’s just a question of finding them.
  3. Goggles fog up.  Maybe not right away, but eventually, they will.  If this happens to a relatively new pair of goggles, just before you start swimming, simply put 2-3mm of water in the goggles, and leave it there.  As you swim, shake your head around to swish the water inside the goggles.  Repeat as necessary.
  4. Most companies make very similar models to each other.  Once you find the style that works for you, you can either stick with that one or try a different company that makes a similar model.  There may be slight differences that work or don’t work, for you.
  5. Once you find your favourite, it’s probably a good idea to buy a few pairs.  Just in case the next version of that goggle changes a bit that does not work for you.

Most goggles are oval in shape to fit in the eye socket.  They may be different versions of an oval, but they are still oval.

Some goggles have foam, others have silicone, while others have solid plastic as a seal.

  • Foam and silicone seal goggles have more give to them.  They fit more people and tend to be pretty comfortable.
  • Solid plastic seal goggles are lower profile, smaller, and either fit, or hurt like heck.  


As mentioned above, the goggles should fit in your eye socket.  Some fit deeper than others, but generally, they should fit snugly, and stay in place without the strap for a few seconds.  This allows you to wear them without cranking the tightness of the strap.

If they feel close to correct, but don’t stick, try one goggle at a time.  If that works, then it may be the width of the nose piece causing the issue.  If it is a replaceable nose piece, swap it out for a smaller or larger one and try again with both goggles.  If it is a solid nose piece, the goggles will likely not work for you.

If your eyesight is not great, most companies make prescription (or RX) goggles.  They are a bit more expensive, and they won’t be perfect as they go up .25 diopters, but they are pretty good.  The caveat is they tend to be made in only one style per manufacturer, so if that style works for you, you’re in luck.  If that style does not work for you, you will have to try a different manufacturer, or go the custom way ($$$).  

Dark, mirrored, or dark and mirrored goggles are wonderful for well-lit locations like outdoor pools, or pools with big sunny windows, but they are less useful for dark water or poorly lit conditions.  Clear or light blue or grey lenses work best in most indoor pools.

If you are going to be doing a lot of outdoor swimming, look for goggles that have UV protection as well as being tinted.

I hope this helps.

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