Speedo Nemesis Fin & SMAO Paddle

The 2014 Summer Outdoor Retailer Show is one of the most anticipated events in the outdoor recreation and sport community. Every year, Salt Lake City is flooded by hundreds of enthusiastic vendors who are excited to show off their new products. We were lucky enough to get to chat for a moment with Barry McGeough, The VP of Design & Merchandising for Speedo USA. Barry talked with us a little about a new training tool Speedo has produced—the Nemesis Fin.

The Nemesis Fin is based on humpback whale fin technology, an animal that is incredibly fast and agile in the water, despite its massive size. The ideas that Speedo and McGeough came up with were tubercles or small bumps along the outside edge of the fin that increases the surface contact by up to 300%. Turbulence is created off of the tubercles (try saying that five times fast!) giving the swimmer greater thrust and drive in the water.

The fin is made from an EVA foam that gives the swimmer some buoyancy in the water, promoting the swimmer to kick with his or her feet parallel to the water. The fins make one’s feet rise in the water so he or she has more control, agility, and speed.

The Nemesis Fin also features valves that create a tension and friction as water flows from a bigger space down through a smaller surface, creating more resistance.

Comfort was a large consideration when this fin was made. On the interior, it’s shaped like a shoe where it’s curved around the toe and doesn’t come to a point. It also has an articulated heel that moves around the Achilles for added comfort. Though it has an open fin, it fits as well as a closed-back fin. It was designed so that it could be worn comfortably for long or short workouts.

Next up from Barry and the Speedo team is the SMAO paddle.

SMAO stands for Swim Your Arms Off (or some more colorful variation thereof). The concept comes out of the University of Michigan where an Ann Arbor coach would have his competitive swimmers do drills using a similarly made homemade technology. The paddles were meant to push the swimmers up and out of the water, building their lats and delts.

This gave Speedo the idea to engineer something for their athletes that would be ergonomically and hydrodynamically correct. The paddle implements the same kind of fin tubercle technology that is used in the Nemesis Fin that optimizes surface contact in the water. It also uses valves that push water from a big area into a small area, creating more tension and resistance.

The paddle is made with three different contact points. You can connect with your finger under a silicone strap, with your wrist and finger, or you can just secure it using the thumb garage, utilizing the tension between the thumb and the forefinger to keep a hold of the paddle. This promotes proper hand position from catch, drive, and finish. It’s a very technical fin that gives any level of swimmer a difficult workout.

Thanks to Barry for taking the time to talk to us about the Nemesis Fin and the SMAO paddle! We can’t wait to see what Speedo will come out with next.

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