Gates Gets Goggle-eyed..

bruised eyes gogglesI’ve been told on Facebook that it’s “old age – fat – adipose tissue” – and something that I will “just have to put up with if I want to keep swimming”.  Well that’s just not good enough and anyhow, I simply don’t believe it.

I’m talking about ugly, dark, bruised, puffy, swim-goggle eyes that I’ve suffered from in the last few months; as I stepped up my TRI10 training which will see me complete ten triathlons this summer.

I am now really glad that I posted such a horrible photo of my goggle-eyes on Facebook, because swim-giant Zoggs saw it and today they came to my rescue. I came off the desk at TV3’s Midday and rushed off to Westpark Fitness in Tallaght, to meet with the hugely busy Oonagh Purfield, from Zoggs ‘The Fun Swim Co’ who very kindly offered to go through her sample case with me and give me some tips about picking goggles to suit me.

“Rubbish” she said, when I told her my reports about age, fat and weakening adipose tissue causing my eyes to bruise. “I hear it all the time” she added “and usually from people who don’t know what they’re talking about”.

Choosing swim goggles is a bit like fitting a good bra…

zoggs oonagh samples

Oonagh Purfield Zoggs

It might just be the relief of hearing that I wasn’t fated to live the remainder of my swimming life as a puffy, panda-eyed, pool monster, but I was really warming to Oonagh. She looked deeply and fixedly at my eyes as we talked, which felt a bit disturbing, until I realised she was calculating the breadth of my face and the distance between my eyes. As if she read my mind, she remarked that she once worked in menswear and could tell an inside leg-measurement at 60 paces!

Oonagh explained that my eyes are quite close together, but my face is rather broad and my nose quite thin, so I need to take that into account when choosing my goggles. She asked me to show her how I put my goggles on and nodded sagely, commenting that, ‘as she had expected’ I was ‘doing it all wrong’. As the lesson began and I learned that I was fixing the straps and nose bridge too tightly, it occurred to me that choosing goggles is a bit like fitting a good bra… it’s the bits at the front you need to worry about first, before attending to the straps at the back.

Oonagh got me to apply the goggles to my face using only the suction cups. Only when the sockets held in position on their own, did she allow me to put the strap behind my head. I have always done completely the opposite. I usually tighten the strap as tight as I can, hold it to the back of my swimcap, and then drag the goggles out and down, onto the front of my face. Such a simple thing, but doing it the opposite way around made a huge difference and it also made complete sense. Amazing, I’ve been swimming since I was a kid and no-one every showed me how to put a pair of goggles on properly.

Headbanging my way through a case full of samples…

I probably looked a bit weird, with strapless goggles stuck to the front of my face, waving my head around progressively more aggressively as I checked to see which ones stuck naturally and which ones fell off. Apparently that’s the best way to figure out a good fit. After headbanging my way through most of Zogg’s massive samples case, Oonagh reined me in long enough to explain a host of other wonderful hi-tech tricks for choosing the best goggles for your sport.

Zoggs have poured a whole lot of science into their swimwear since first setting up in Australia. They pride themselves on all swimmers enjoying ‘unconditional trust in their equipment; whether just starting out, swimming for fitness or recreation, in the great outdoors or in a triathlon’. Oonagh explained that she was certain they could solve my problem when she heard about my bruised eyes because they pride themselves on developing new technologies to create a ‘second skin’ customised fit for all face types. They have ‘Air Cushion’ frames with air-filled socket gaskets to give a ‘cushioned’ seal, designed specifically to reduce marking around the eye. They have flexible frames to fit all faces and smaller frames to fit swimmers with smaller faces. They have options designed for swimming in the pool and for swimming outside – including curved lenses to increase your peripheral vision for swimming in a crowd, UV protection, polarized lenses to reduce glare, and photo-chromatic lenses that react and change, depending on the strength of the sun. After my head-banging session with the Zoggs’ sample case, I settled on three pairs of goggles.

The Fusion Air Gold Mirror were the softest things I have ever put on my face and I knew instantly that this was something different. It turns out these have that AIR cushion technology, along with curved lens technology, UV protection and FogBuster. I’m going to try these when I’m training in the pool.

I’m going to have a go at Zoggs’ Aqua-flex Titanium for when I’m swimming in lakes and rivers. They have the curved lens technology, UV protection and FogBuster, along with 4-point Flexpoint technology (flexible frames) and Soft-Seal Plus, which is described by the company as having ‘liquid silicone gaskets for an ultra-light face contouring second skin fit’.

I selected the 3rd pair for sea-swimming; especially the 1500 metre sea-races that I’ll be doing this year with Leinster Open Sea to qualify for the Liffey Swim in August. I’m trying the Predator Flex Polarized Ultra. These promise to reduce the glare and reflections of the sun as well as repelling blue light – along with the UV Protection, anti-fog, curved lens, quck adjusting straps and flexible frames that I’m now beginning to wonder how I ever managed to do without! These babies should be great for sighting the buoys in big choppy, shiny seas, during the summer.

I’m really looking forward to trying out all three pairs of goggles and I’ll let you know how I get on. I already know that I am a thousand percent more knowledgeable about why some goggles hurt and bruise me, or leak, or fog up. I’ll never put my goggles on from the back again!

Real women are making waves…

I’ve more good news too, if you’re a curvy lady and have trouble, like me, getting a swimsuit to fit nicely.  Oonagh zoggs Teenamentioned that they have designed ‘Swimshape’ swim-suits for ‘real’ women that feature combinations to help you look your best whatever your shape. The ‘Swimshape’ designs allow you to choose your body shape; apple pear, rectangle, hourglass or triangle – and then select your perfect fit.  They have structured suits for women with a fuller bust to fit D to F cup size.  There are multiway backs, different leg heights and back lengths, maternity suits, adjustable straps, tummy control panels and even ‘booty suits’ designed to give a lift and support for your bum.

I’ve ordered two Zoggs’ swim-suits in size 22; one standard and one with legs. I’ll post pictures when they arrive. I am really quite excited because my swim-suit purchases at present simply amount to ‘will it fit’, so I’m looking forward to a suit that actually fits and flatters too.  I’ve been lucky enough today to look through Zogg’s sample case and a batch of their catalogues, but you can order online too, so have a look yourself – the website is If you do find something that works really well, let me know, and I’ll share the knowledge here. Curvy women making waves eh?

Wishing you all a splash-happy summer ladies. xxx




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