Although they are quite easy to use — and pretty fun — your first time using stretch cords in the pool may be a little confusing. Stretch cords also have the potential to cause some damage: When a stretch cord snaps, it can hit bystanders and cause serious injuries. It is important to use the precautions outlined in this guide when swimming with stretch cords.
Anchor Cords Safely
An important first step when using stretch cords is to securely anchor them to the side of the pool. Use the loop at the end of the cord to tie it to something low and solid, like a starting block or a ladder. Stretch cords can also be held by an adult on deck during assisted swimming, but they should stand far away from the edge and be prepared for the pull of the cord.
Put on the Belt
The waist belt of a stretch cord should go around the very middle part of your waist. It should be snug, but not so tight that it is painful or affects your ability to breathe. If you are swimming on your stomach (freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke), the point where the stretch cord attaches to the belt should be centered directly behind you. This prevents the cord from getting tangled in your legs. If you are swimming backstroke, the cord should be centered in the front of your stomach.
Some users knot cords in order to shorten them slightly, but once a knot has been tied and the cord has been stretched, the knot becomes nearly impossible to untie. Always be careful when putting the waist belt on and taking it off, as this can lead to unintentional knots in the cord. If you find an unwanted knot in your stretch cord, untie it immediately. The longer you wait to untie a knot, the harder it will be to do so and the more damage you will do to your stretch cord in the process.
Replace Old Cords
No stretch cord will last forever, and you should regularly inspect your cords for signs of deterioration. Old cords can — and do – occasionally snap, and can cause serious injury as they recoil. If you notice stretch marks, tears, or cracks on a stretch cord, it is time to replace it!
Stretch Cords Are Fun, but Are Not Toys
Stretch cords give swimmers the chance to move through the water in very unique ways, and this makes them a real treat. However, they should always be set up and monitored by someone who knows how to use them. Following the simple rules outlined above makes stretch cord use safe for all involved, whether they're in the pool or on the deck.