In open-water swimming, sighting is very important to stay on a straight course. Unfortunately sometimes the buoys merge into the horizon due to lighting conditions — especially if the buoys are yellow, which is what happened during last year’s Subic 5150. Thankfully these days organizers have learned their lessons and buoys are now red or orange. My other problem is sun shining directly into my eyes, which is usually what happens with the late starts given to the women’s wave.
My order of ROKA goggles arrived while I was away in Phuket, so I had to wait until I got back home to try them out. ROKA’s new SPCTRM performance optics offer a range of goggle tints for every condition. I chose three to start with.
ROKA is available at www.rokasports.com
ROKA has four goggle frame types depending on the size and comfort offered for your eyes and face shape. I chose the F1 frame which is medium-sized and has less drag in the water. (The F2 frame is not much different but offers a wider field of vision for open-water sighting.)
Each of these tints filter and work with the white light spectrum to allow the best visibility for certain conditions. Cobalt is for unobstructed horizons, like ocean swims, and enhances yellow and green buoys. Amber Mirror is for transition lighting and direct sun and enhances orange and red buoys. Clear Mirror is for morning light and indoor swims.
These goggles each come with nose bridges in three different sizes so you can adjust the width to suit your eye sockets and nose. The silicone straps lie flat on your head and are fully adjustable so you get a secure fit.
It was a cloudy day when I tested these goggles so I decided to use the Cobalt lenses, which gave great visibility while shielding my eyes from too much glare. I did 200-meter intervals in a 25-meter pool, so the number of push-offs from the wall put these goggles through their paces of staying on my face.
The goggle gaskets fit into my eye sockets quite well without the sensation of vacuuming my eyeballs out. I do tend to pull my straps on too tightly because I don’t want my goggles to leak, so halfway through my set the area near my nose bridge started hurting until I loosened the straps. Even with very loose straps, the goggles stayed in place and I was much more comfortable.
I also tried the Amber Mirror lens out because while some lenses are great during bright days, they are too dark on overcast days. To my delight, they didn’t darken my vision; they just made other colors pop, which is what you want when you’re looking for man-made elements like buoys on the horizon.
I can’t wait to use these goggles in my next triathlon. Until then, I’ll be using them quite often in training!