I also swam Friday afternoon, which was a pretty different experience. Completely different set of people, naturally, but no huge groups of athletes like in the morning. Today when I got there, all ten lanes were in use. Thankfully, I only had to wait about ten minutes in the hot tub before a group of US Champions left, presumably because they had to head to school.
On Friday when I was taking my gear off, I broke the clip that held the snorkel to the mask. I decided to look into other types of snorkels first before looking for replacement parts, because I've never liked the way having the snorkel attached to the side of the goggles constantly pulls on them. Thankfully, while I was searching on Amazon, I found a new kind I didn't previously know existed: center-mount snorkels.
I would have bought this one, but I agreed with the reviewer who pointed out that the 138 5-star reviews are clearly gaming the system. Not wanting to reward a company who would send out tons of free stuff in exchange for "honest" reviews, I bought a similar one made by Speedo.
I also haven't been happy with my nose plugs, I also picked up a replacement for those. The kind that pinches your nose shut doesn't work very well on me because I have a very wide nose and oily skin. In order to keep it on at all, it has to pinch very hard, and it still slowly creeps up, at which point it just becomes another thing pressing against my goggles and messing up the seal. I found another one that goes up the nostrils instead.
Shoving two large silicone ovals up your nose isn't comfortable by any means, but it doesn't hurt as much as the pinching did. I also found that the seal isn't quite as tight, but I was able to blow air out my nose once in a while to even things out. All in all, I had a really great swim today. The new snorkel has an open top instead of a filter that flips closed if you go underwater, and I found it easier to get a lot more air. And since it straps to the forehead, I was able to keep it in place with very little effort. Rather than having to bite down all the time, the it stayed in place pretty with tension against my upper teeth. That was nice.
My next task is to find the best way to keep my goggles from fogging up. I'm hoping to find a trial size of baby shampoo at the store first. There are products specifically made for keeping goggles fog-free, but lots of reviewers complain about eye irritation. And of course tons of people swear by hacking up phlegm, smearing it around the lenses, and then rinsing them, but that's just not dignified at a public pool. I'm doing a full hour now when I do laps and it'd be nice to not have to stop several times to rinse out the goggles. Having to stop to let my sinuses drain a bit at least once may not be avoidable. I'd love to be able to use a mask that covers my nose, but that would require some facial hair loss I'm just not willing to endure.