Huge developments in waterproof electronic technology over the past decade has opened up a whole new dimension for swimming training.
Traditional swimming training aids such as snorkels, pullbuoys, fins and paddles are still just as effective in helping to improve technique, strength and stamina.
But today's swimmer can also benefit from an innovative range of swimming gadgets that can freshen up and rejuvenate their training plan.
Not only can these pool gadgets make a long and tough training session more fun and enjoyable, but they can also provide instant feedback on your performance.
All swimmers will have experienced moments midway through a hard practice session where you feel like you've just had enough and want to get out of the water.
It can be particularly challenging if you're swimming on your own, rather than at a club training session. There is no coach to instruct or motivate you, and no clubmates to empathise with you. It's just you and the water.
Thankfully, there are a range of swimming gadgets now available that can make your swim more exciting and interesting.
Whether you want to monitor your performance during your solo swims, or you just want to listen to your favourite music to make the time go quicker, there is a wide variety of pool gadgets that can help.
We've picked our five best swimming gadgets that will help you get more out of your swim training.
FINIS Duo Underwater MP3 Player
If fatigue or boredom is starting to creep in to your swim session, having some of your favourite music playing may just be the difference needed to push on and complete those extra few lengths.
Listening to music with a rhythm could also help your stroke technique and timing.
For years, land-based athletes such as runners and cyclists have had the luxury of listening to MP3 players during training in the gym or on the road.
Well, now swimmers can too! The FINIS Duo is among the best waterproof MP3 players on the market, and has been designed with the swimmer's needs in mind.
It doesn't use ear buds, which can easily fall out of your ears during swimming. Instead, FINIS have developed an MP3 player that will clip to your goggle strap and use 'bone conduction audio transmission' to deliver high-quality sound to the inner ear via the cheekbones.
The FINIS Duo has 4GB of storage, which is enough space for up to 1,000 songs. It supports unprotected MP3 and WMA audio files, and has a simple control panel with one-touch buttons to help you easily adjust volume or skip tracks.
Another feature we love is the 'random play' option. It works the same way as your iPod's shuffle feature, and is perfect if you want to your next song choice to be a surprise.
"(Listening to music) can help improve the quality of your workout by increasing your stamina and putting you in a better mood," says Jenny Markell at the National Center for Health Research.
"In particular, music that is motivational or synchronized with your exercise is shown to have physical and psychological effects. The lyrics or catchy rhythm of motivational music inspires you to exercise longer or work harder during your exercise routine."
Swimovate Poolmate 2
If you're swimming on your own, gone are the days when the only ways to record your number of lengths were by manually counting or by pressing a clicker at the end of each length.
Swim tracker watches can now do this job for you, along with providing a range of other statistics from your performance.
The Swimovate Poolmate 2 swimming watch will count laps, strokes, distance, speed, efficiency, duration, sets, rest time and calories. It's a real all-rounder and, at less than £70, you're getting real value for money.
Having all this information at your fingertips immediately after your swim is extremely useful.
Sometimes, it's motivating to see the results of your swim in black and white. You know exactly how much you've done, or how many calories you've burned. You can also use these stats as a target to chase the next time you're in the pool.
Another great feature of the Swimovate Poolmate 2 is its open water pedometer setting.
It has a battery life of around two years, and has space to store data from more than 50 swim sessions.
Swimovate Poolmate HR
If you're looking for a more advanced version of the Poolmate 2, then check out this Swimovate Poolmate HR.
This swimming watch will let you read your heart rate while you're in the pool, and also download it after your session for further analysis.
All other data such as laps, strokes, speed, distance, calories, stroke length, strokes per minute and efficiency are also fully downloadable.
This means you can view all your stats on your computer or tablet, and see easy-to-understand graphical analysis. You can even share your swims on Facebook, and take part in virtual swim challenges.
Weighing just 67g, this swimming watch will not feel uncomfortable on your wrist. It comes with a chest belt and downloading/charging pod. The battery can be fully charged in two hours, and can last up to 30 days.
FINIS Tempo Trainer
The FINIS Tempo Trainer is a really handy little swimming gadget and, for less than £35, it's a cost-effective way of helping with your pace training.
This small and waterproof gadget can be fitted under your swim cap or to your goggles strap, and acts as your very own electronic swim coach to help you with pacing.
It transmits a single beep which can be set to repeat anywhere between 0.20 and 99.99 seconds. You can then use it to train your pace down to 1/100th of a second, or use one of three training modes.
Stroke Mode will help you shape how many strokes you use per lap. To start with, you would set the FINIS Tempo Trainer to beep at your preferred interval times and do a stroke cycle every time you hear the beep.
In Lap Pacing Mode, you would set the device to beep at your preferred 25m lap time, so you should hear the beep as you finish your lap (and should swim faster or slower to stay on pace).
There is also a mode for strokes per minute, so you programme it for a set number each minute and then increase or decrease it according to your training needs.
FINIS Swimsense Live
The FINIS Swimsense Live waterproof swimming watch works with the FINIS Live app, available on the Apple App Store and also on Google Play.
It will provide you with detailed analysis on laps, time intervals, pace, distance per stroke and calories, which can also be viewed on your smartphone or tablet.
This bluetooth-compatible watch has built-in algorithms to identify freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke and backstroke, and will accurately record intervals and distance for all of them.
The inclusion of bluetooth and the FINIS Live app sync adds a whole new dimension to a swimming watch, so this really is a fantastic training aid. It can last up to seven hours on a full charge, and can store up to 14 workouts. The app can store all summary data.
The FINIS Swimsense Live is an ideal training tool for any swimmer who wants to find extra motivation and make the most of every swim.
What about a swimming stopwatch?
They may not have featured in our list of swimming gadgets, but the traditional swimming stopwatch is as important now as it's always been.
While swimming smart watches are perfect for when you're swimming on your own, they're not so useful for a coach watching your performance from poolside.
A professional swimming stopwatch is very much an essential part of the coach's inventory, as well as swimmers who train together.
Check out the Fastime 500DM Stopwatch (pictured). It can store up to 500 splits in its memory, and has four different timing options. You can also browse our entire stopwatch range by clicking the button below.