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Strokemakers versus TYR Catalyst. « Mathieu O'Halloran's Blog


Strokemakers versus TYR Catalyst.

Hey readers – heres a comparo on two of the most mainstream paddles for triathlete, Strokemakers and the TYR Catalyst.

I am an analytical type of swimmer – I notice slight things and feel others as well to being very gifted! After years of loving, advocating and swimming with the Catalyst, I recently tested and fully switched to Strokemakers and I was so pleased with them, I ordered 100 pairs and I am now distributing them in the Philippines!

I dont sell them to make a profit per say, but rather provide a service. For years, when I would advice athletes, friends or acquaintances to get a pair of swimming paddles to improve their swimming abilities, they could only find generic Speedo paddles. So they would have to order Catalyst from the US which was a time and money consuming purchase!

My personal collection. Strokemakers have 7 different sizes versus the TYR Catalyst which has 6. The more sizes the better, as to allowing a proper evolution in strength/paddles size. Most paddles only come in 3 different sizes...

The first thing that struck me was the difference in weight between the two, the Strokemakers where NOTICEABLY lighter than the Catalyst. The bigger the paddles, the bigger the difference was! Considering how many strokes an athlete takes during a swim workout, it will make a different in the speed of their STROKE RATE as well to energy consumption!

Even though these paddles are ‘rivals’, the 3 main sizes: Small – Medium – Large are all the same colors for both brands which make it easy to switch and compare!


66 Grams

55 Grams


88 Grams

63 Grams


80 Grams

64 Grams


159 Grams

89 Grams

The second major difference is the ‘flex’ in Strokemakers! I noticed it in the first few strokes, it allowed a better sensation of the pressure points when catching/pressing/pushing the water! As well to be able to ‘paw’ at the water especially if you have long/strong fingers =) you can really get a curve going at the tip of the paddles in full stroke. Its also much more comfortable to swim extended duration’s!

I went back for a session to the TYR Catalyst and the stiffness was noticeable from the start and after a while got significantly un-comfortable!

The lacing suggestion for the TYR Catalyst - actually a bit of over kill with 1 to many tubes!

1 tubing around the finger is enuff - the other can be keep as spare!

This is the Strokemakers suggested tube lacing - I feel that 1 finger is not enuff for proper leverage as well to possibly cutting blood flow!

3 Fingers are better for leverage in my opinion!

DO NOT TAKE OUT THE TUBING AROUND THE WRIST! Both these paddles are designed with a U cut shape at the bottom to promote wrist flexion, a proper push and finally to be more stable at high velocity or when fatigue starts to set in!

Speaking of tubing, the Strokemakers has so many more options than the Catalyst!

The Catalyst definitively has one major factor to it that the Strokemakers dont, and its that cut between the thumb and index that will help those who pull wide under water as the cut makes it more feasible to creep the arms inwards!

The holes in the Strokemakers are better placed, they are directly place under the fingers to maintain a ‘feel’ of the water and makes them much more stable. Versus the Catalyst which has a big hole the middle and has smaller hole around the circumference and makes it a bit less stable.

In the end, which paddles brand and size depends on your coach and what will suite you as a swimmer/triathlete and I hope to blog helped you to make your choice!

Triathlete love their gear – especially racing gear! And to see them over spend copious amount of money on something they will be using 00.01% of the time (racing) then not spending a small amount on something they will use 99.99% of the time (training) is a mystery to me. At the end of the day, an athlete races well because they have developed their engine in training through rigorous and consistent conditioning. Paddles are a cheap and effective training tool to do so!

Please leave your comments on the forum.