I strongly encourage swimmers to add a training snorkel to their equipment bag. Here is a quick excerpt from my book Fitness Swimming, 2nd Edition:
Check out this instructive product demo video from my friend Glenn Mills and GoSwim.tv:
If you are new to snorkel use there will likely be a learning curve on the way to being real comfortable with one. Many people find that using a nose clip helps shorten/flatten that curve. This is because a lot of snorkel newbies have never needed to know how to inhale through just their mouth and tend to involve the nose as well - but the nose clip instantly removes this as an issue.
Finis also makes the Cardio Cap, a breathing trainer that restricts air flow for increased cardiovascular conditioning. Fits on top of most any Finis snorkel. At first it'll seem like you are being starved for air, but your body will immediately begin to adapt to the restriction, building breathing muscles and greater cardio capacity. Then when you take it off you'll feel like you are getting extra air when you most need it!
Now go get you one them breathin' tubes, y'hear!
See also the article Sucking Wind You need a training snorkel. Here's why you need one, how to get started with it and just a few of the many things you can learn with a snorkel (but that you will likely never learn without one).
Triathletes - Did you know that snorkels are allowed during most triathlon swims? See this email from World Triathlon Corporation.
Freestyle Snorkel - Once you get really good using a training snorkel you may derive increased benefits from the Freestyle Snorkel also offered by Finis Inc. This snorkel is designed specifically for freestyle swimming, and is particularly beneficial at higher speeds. It requires a higher level of skill to use properly but promotes further skill refinement in more-skilled swimmers. (Warning: If you make the mistake of saying to yourself, "I'm just going to shortcut the learning process and get this snorkel as my first training snorkel" you'll likely just end up frustrated and unhappy. Get and use the Swimmer's Snorkel first - then, after maybe a year of using it, consider the Freestyle Snorkel.)
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