I recently had the opportunity to test the Finis Swim Parachute. The Swim Parachute is a simple resistance training device that can easily be used during the course of a normal practice. While I don't like using the parachute for aerobic training, it comes in handy for speed/power training.
I have used several devices in the past, including drag suits, stretch cordz, power racks, and the Power Reel. The Swim Parachute is easily the most cost effective method of resistance training in our sport. It provides consistant and even resistance throughout the exercise. Of course, the fast the swimmer, the more the resistance, but that is physics.
Unlike stretch cordz, the Swim Parachute provides stable and constant resistance. Unlike the power rack or reel, it provides this resistance at a reasonable price.
At around $24 it is the perfect item to include in a training bag. It comes in 8 inch and 12 inch models. See www.finisinc.com for more information.
During my most recent use, I had my senior boys swim four 12.5 yard sprints on a :30 interval. The first three were swum with the 12 inch parachute. The fourth sprint was without the parachute. Every single swimmer was able to feel his speed better on the fourth sprint. I think it is akin to wearing ankle weights all day and then taking them off....you feel lighter and more at ease. Just one of the uses of the Swim Parachute.