Adoption Of Goggles In The Swimming World

Adoption Of Goggles In The Swimming World

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Goggles historically became the norm in open water swimming much earlier than goggles became widespread in the competitive pool swimming world.

While channel swimmers and ocean swimmers had long used all different types of goggles, it was only in the mid-1950s that Adolph Kiefer invented the modern, soft-gasket swim goggle that competitive and open water swimmers around the world currently use.

Keo Nakama, an inductee in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, was a multi-sport star and one of the greatest swimmers of his era.

And, boy, did he use some classic hipster goggles. Too bad manufacturers don’t make those anymore. Fit is always important, but check out how hip and cool Nakama’s goggles were.

Marilyn Bell of Canada (shown on left) and Florence Chadwick (shown on right), both International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmers, also seemed to wear similar goggles on their marathon swims (in Lake Ontario in Canada and the Catalina Channel, respectively).

As we reminisce about old-school goggles, we should not forget these home-made types from yesteryear or around the world. On left, Antonio Abertondo of Argentina, an International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer, shows off his goggles and cap.

Above right and on left, these photos show the goggles made out of wood fashioned by the Bajau free divers in the South Pacific.

Photos by James Morgan.

Tom Blower used some old-school goggles on his unprecedented 15 hour 26 minute crossing of the 33.7 km North Channel between Ireland and Scotland in 1947.

Upper photo courtesy of Russ Meyer.

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Steven Munatones