Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Audioflood Waterproofed iPod Shuffle

I’m the first to admit, sometimes I find swim training tedious and well, a bit boring. But it’s a necessary evil if you want to be a triathlete; otherwise we’d just be one of those ‘lesser’ athletes that only run and cycle ;-)

So when the opportunity came up to test Audioflood’s waterproofed iPod Shuffle, I was more than happy to give it go. Perhaps it could bring a little more entertainment to those long-rep solo swim sets in the pool.

The concept appears pretty simple yet clever – take an already commercially-successful MP3 player and waterproof it, making it suitable for swimming and other forms of water sports. Visually, the iPod Shuffle is unchanged from the normal model, albeit with a very slightly ‘waxy’ feel to it – presumably a result of the waterproofing process.

Obviously, one of the big benefits of the Audioflood iPod Shuffle is that it automatically syncs with iTunes just like any other iPod. Great for those of us already firmly on the Apple bandwagon.

In Use

The standard clip on the Shuffle can be used to attach the unit to either your goggle straps or a swim hat (I tried both, both worked just fine).Audioflood

The unit I tried was supplied with a set of waterproof earbuds featuring a nice short spring-coiled lead to keep things near and tidy. Obviously the earphones work best when they form a waterproof seal in the ear, so you do need to squeeze them in tight. That can be a little uncomfortable at first, but you get used to it. Once in place, they stay firm.

If like me you prefer to wear a swim cap when in the pool, then you might want to choose a thinner cap as a thicker silicon one can either push the plugs into your ear canal or dislodge them. Better to use a thinner cap or just forego the cap.

Previously, the poor review of the sound quality of other waterproof MP3 players had put me off buying one. So I was genuinely surprised when the quality of the audio with Audiflood device turned out to be perfectly acceptable. Obviously the waterproof earphones are not going to give the same quality of sound that I get with my £180 Sure earphones – but then I can’t take those swimming!

In the water

Don’t go thinking putting the Audiflood earphones in place is going to transport you to a world of uninterrupted musical bliss – you can still hear the water as you swim, but with the music at a moderate (not loud) level, you can hear it just fine (for the record, I didn’t try any classical music, keeping to the sort of up-tempo pop/rock music you’d often find on a run playlist).

I was initially concerned that my stroke through the water might be influenced by the tempo of the music – we’ve all experienced those moments where our foot strike starts to synchronize with the music when running to music. But… it didn’t. Whether swimming slow and easy or at tempo, I was still able to divorce the music tempo and my swimming tempo.

For me, the Audioflood iPod comes into its own on longer reps in the pool – 400 metres or more. Where I might normally find myself getting bored or even searching for excuses to cut a rep short, the music just helps take your mind off the monotony of endless lengths up and down the pool.

Conclusion

I was pleasantly surprised with the Audioflood waterproofed iPod Shuffle. The sound quality was better than I expected and, being an iPod Shuffle, it was super-easy to use. The welcome distraction of having music when swimming long reps was a real bonus.

Like when I’m running, I wouldn’t expect to suddenly start using the Audioflood device on every swim – but when I know I’ve got long reps coming up, I think it will be making a regular appearance! There’s a lot to be said for not becoming reliant on music in training (we don’t get it when racing, after all!), but I think music does have a role to play in maximizing your training.

The Audioflood iPod Shuffle costs US $125 (or $140 including earphones, carry case and a thin swim cap) and comes in all the usual iPod Shuffle colours. You can buy one online at www.audioflood.com and they ship to the UK and other non-US destinations.