Interesting facts about swimming

Swimming goggles – yesterday and today

It is difficult to say when swimming goggles were invented. Swimming itself has a very long history and tradition. As a result, a variety of swimming equipment has been around for many centuries. But the first written documentation of swimming goggles dates back to the 14th century:

Divers from Persia wore eye protection, a kind of tortoiseshell goggles that helped them to see more clearly under water. From the 16th century there are pictures of Polynesian divers wearing eye protection made of bamboo or wood. Air bubbles held in a special device served as a lens.

Modern swimming goggles make their debut in the 20th century

The first swimming goggles as we know them were only developed at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time competitive swimmers who swam across the English Channel used simple motorcycle goggles. Although these protected them from the waves, they were neither airtight nor improved visibility. Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim across the English Channel, uses paraffin to make her goggles waterproof.

In 1916, Charles J. Troppman presented protective goggles for water, which he patented as diving goggles. According to the drawings, they were more like swimming goggles because they did not cover the nose. At the time, however, this patent received little attention from competitive swimmers. The first swimming goggles were still relatively uncomfortable, so that most athletes preferred to endure burning and irritated eyes from the chlorinated water. The international swimming association was also against the use of any swimming aids.

It was only in the second half of the 20th century when athletes started asking in earnest, that swimming goggles were allowed to be used in competitive swimming. But the early prototypes were not very sophisticated. They looked like small, transparent plastic cups that were attached to the head with rubber bands. The swimming association initially viewed the goggles as a training aid, so they were not allowed in competitions.

In 1916, Charles J. Troppman presented protective goggles for water, which he patented as diving goggles.

At the 1970 Commonwealth Games, Briton David Wilkie was probably the first to wear swimming goggles which had been approved by the international committee.

In the following years, swimming goggles became more and more refined. Well-known sporting goods manufacturers invested a lot of money in their development. Today, the invention and use of swimming goggles is considered to be one of the greatest technological advances in swimming. Finally, swimming goggles found their way into leisure sports and are now indispensable swimming equipment.

High-tech for all purposes

Today there are countless different models, and some are more ergonomic and aerodynamic than others. They are available for young and old in all shapes and sizes. Since every person’s head is unique, swimming goggles that are optimal for one person may not be for someone else.

Overview of the different types of swimming goggles

Swedish goggles

are the original competition goggles and are mainly used in competitive swimming. The goggles are reduced to the bare minimum, the two plastic lenses have a hard rim without a seal and thus sit directly in the eye sockets. As a result, they do not fall off as quickly when diving into the water and offer less resistance when swimming. The Swedish goggles are completely customizable, nose bridge and headband can be adjusted separately. The are also very cheap to buy because the original Swedish googles are neither mirrored nor have an anti-fog layer. Of course there are also “luxury swimming goggles” with soft edges and special tints. In addition, many manufacturers now deviate from the basic principle of Swedish goggles with their own special technological solutions. Such goggles are often used by our swimming instructors.

Suction cup goggles

are the most common model of swimming goggles. They have a soft silicone edge and are more comfortable on long swims. Suction cup goggles are available in a wide variety of styles: from racing goggles for swimmers and triathletes, to comfortable models for recreational swimmers, to fun children’s goggles that glow in the dark. They differ in regard to lens shape, whether or not they have tinting or mirroring, how strong the an anti-fog coating is, and if they have straps with easy adjustment options, etc. Therefore, suction cup goggles can be used in leisure, training, as well as in competitions. However, one should bear in mind that suction cup goggles create a negative pressure around they eyes. They really suck to your face in order to form a seal. For this reason, swimmers who do not like this effect should instead use Swedish googles. Our ice swimmer José also uses suction cup goggles.

Swimming masks

are particularly popular with children in recreational swimming. In addition to the high level of comfort, many appreciate the wide, unrestricted field of vision the swimming masks provide. These types of swimming goggles have larger lenses and a wide, comfortable silicone rim. In addition, swimming masks sit on the forehead and cheekbones, similar to diving masks, except that the nose is not covered. In addition to our wetsuit, many children use such swimming goggles in our children’s swimming courses.

Some manufacturers even offer swimming goggles with optical correction lenses. Due to the suction pressure of the goggles, contact lenses are not always pleasant. For swimmers who rely on optical correction, such goggles are an enormous help.

We have all types of swimming goggles for leisure, training and competition in many shapes, sizes and colors all year round. Visit us in person at our specialty swimming shop Schwimmsport Steiner in Vienna!

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