Courtesy of Aqua Knuckles, a SwimSwam partner.
Aqua Knuckles is proud to announce a NIL partnership with Trenton Julian, member of the USA Swimming National Team, Cal Men’s Swim Team and Rose Bowl Aquatics club team. Aqua Knuckles are new and innovative training aids worn by competitive swimmers to develop open-finger technique muscle memory to generate a more powerful pull. Aqua Knuckles is utilized by swimmers at every level worldwide.
Trenton Julian is the fastest American swimmer in the 200 fly LCM this year. His Speedo Summer Championship 200 fly race was the 7th fastest 200 fly LCM time in the world this year and in the top 10 fastest American swims of all time. Trenton is a 3x 2021 Olympic Trials A Finalist and has been an integral swimmer on the Cal Men’s NCAA D1 team for the past four years.
“Trenton is a talented, versatile, emerging star in the competitive swimming world. We are thrilled to partner with him to help all swimmers learn how open finger swimming technique can make your pull more powerful and get you to the wall faster” – John O’Grady, Founder of Aqua Knuckles
“…having Aqua Knuckles on creates that constant reminder of the best hand and finger placement” Trenton Julian
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The science of Open Finger Swimming
When swimmers pull through the water with their fingers slightly opened (about 5-10 mm apart), they push more water. Water does not escape through slightly spread fingers. As the hands enter the water, they form a thin boundary layer. The water closest to the hand sticks to the hand to form this layer. The boundary layer is like a glove on the hand, adding more surface area to your hand. How thick the boundary layer is will depend on the speed of your hand through the water and the shape of your fingers. When you spread your fingers, water gets trapped between the spaces of your fingers because of this boundary layer. This effectively increases the surface area of your hand.
Golf balls have been taking advantage of the boundary layer for years to achieve better distance and control. The dimples on a golf ball create a thinner boundary layer that stays closer to the ball’s surface. This helps the air flow tighter to the surface of the golf ball creating less of a wake. The dimples on a golf ball reduce the drag by half. In swimming, we are trying to increase the drag from our hands.
Spreading the fingers gives the hands more surface area. Spreading your fingers is accomplishing the same effect as wearing paddles and is easier on your shoulders than paddles. You can’t wear paddles during a race, but you can spread your fingers during a race for a similar effect. The pull is a very important part of the stroke. The more powerful you can make your pull, the more powerful your stroke is. Wearing Aqua Knuckles offers the swimmer the ability to get very precise with his/her finger placement on one of the most important aspects of the propulsion of the stroke – the hand surface area. Using Aqua Knuckles really helps create a precise finger position which can be hard to accomplish otherwise. There are multiple scientific papers online and now some videos comparing open-finger swimming to closed-finger swimming. The papers all indicate that open-finger swimming is a better method of generating a more powerful pull by increasing your hand-surface area by as much as 10%. On a side note, we’ve also discovered that wearing Aqua Knuckles decreases stroke count.
Open finger swimming also increases the nerves exposed to the water by up to 35%. When you swim with closed fingers, the sides of your fingers are not getting exposed to the water. When a coach talks about “feel for the water”, this is how you can feel more. Having a better feel for the water helps swimmers make those micro adjustments to their pull, helping them swim faster. Some coaches believe the best swimmers’ edge is having a better feel for the water.
What are Aqua Knuckles?
Aqua Knuckles are training aids worn during swim practice for competitive swimmers and anyone who wants to move through the water faster (surfers use them, too). Aqua Knuckles are double silicone bands slipped over the ring and middle fingers of each hand. They are sold in pairs and follow ring finger sizing, though many swimmers prefer a snug fit.
Use Code SWIMSWAM15 to get 15% off your next purchase.
John O’Grady – Founder, Aqua Knuckles
John has been a competitive swimmer for nearly 40 years and is a real student of the sport. His love of the water has seen him through age-group swimming, high school teams, Divisions I and II college teams and masters swimming. He has competed in open water competitions in the Atlantic Ocean and has practiced in the English Channel. It is hard to find this guy out of the water! Currently raising his large family of competitive swimmers in Southern California, John is an assistant swim coach at a local high school. When he is not in the water or on a pool deck, John runs a boutique media services company focused on creative projects of all kinds for both large and small entities. He enjoys cooking, surfing, travel, photography and spending time with his wife and children.