New Gear: Powerbreather Speed Snorkel

Novel training device promises faster, higher-performance swim training

It sounds simple enough, but the number one problem for swimmers is getting enough air. Snorkels are cumbersome and are only marginally effective during serious aerobic efforts, and the repetitive motion or craning one's neck for air can be tough on novices—not to mention all the swallowed water. Enter the Powerbreather, which promises to alleviate the neck and shoulder stress of aerobic swimming while increasing the wearer's body mechanics.

This new product concept from Germany is designed to let athletes swim faster and train more effectively. Although it's not yet available for sale, let alone approved for competition, the product already has garnered acclaim from gear websites and from international design competitions.

According to the Powerbreather, “two check valves allow fresh air to be breathed in and used air to be fully exhaled. With no additional movement required for breathing, the swimmer can relax and concentrate on their technique and movement during training.”

The adjustable design uses a snug-fitting, elastic material to fit a wide range of users, and unlike traditional snorkels, “only fresh air is ever inhaled,” claims the company’s website. “Fatigue effects from snorkel use are thus avoided.”

It looks like a great concept, especially for newbie swimmers looking to take advantage of what is arguably the most comprehensive full-body available—minus inadvertently getting all that poolwater down the gullet.

Just beware of the backstroke.