Our Story

Take a journey through the FINIS history of collaboration, innovation, and simplifying swimming.

JOHN MIX BRINGS THE MONOFIN TO THE U.S.A 1988

John Mix had his first encounter with a monofin during a semester abroad in Austria. Monofin in hand, John returned to the States convinced that this tool was the next big thing in aquatic sports. With the ambition to start a monofin company, John began studying patents in Silicon Valley under the direction of his father, Jerome (Jerry) Mix.

Take a journey through the FINIS history of collaboration, innovation, and simplifying swimming.

"YOU'LL KNOW IT WHEN YOU SEE IT" 1990-91

Shortly after applying for his first patents, John’s beloved father and mentor was diagnosed with terminal cancer. During Jerry’s final months, he urged John to be patient and postpone plans for a monofin business until a better opportunity presented itself. Leading with his heart, John decided to change course and focus his time and energy on working with his brothers’ business.

[Photo] Mix Family (left to right) Mike, John, Adonna, Jerry Sr., Arline, Steve, and Jerry Jr

MORALES MAKES WAVES 1992

Pablo Morales, John’s high school friend and teammate, wins the Gold Medal in the 100 meter butterfly in the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona. Shortly after the Games, John and Pablo met up for a reunion swim to catch up on the pair’s many adventures. John’s monofin quickly became a major conversational topic, and he could sense Morales’ interest growing. There it was, the opportunity, “the sign” that John had been waiting for. That day, John and Pablo agreed to start a monofin business together.

THE BIRTH OF FINIS 1993

Under the direction of John’s oldest brother, Jerry Mix, Jr., John and Pablo created FINIS Incorporated and quickly got to work on a design for the first FINIS monofin. The first models consisted of a rubber foot pocket mounted onto a single fiberglass blade.

THE ORIGINAL SWIMMER'S SNORKEL 1995

Busy at work in John’s garage, the idea for the Swimmer’s Snorkel emerged and received immediate validation from renowned coach and ultimate mentor, Nort Thorton of University of California-Berkeley. John and Pablo had developed a center-mount snorkel designed for the competitive swim market - the very first prototypes of the Swimmer’s Snorkel were made of ABS sprinkler tubes and a unique molded head bracket.

[Photo] An original Swimmer’s Snorkel prototype.

PICKING UP STEAM

Sales for the newer versions of the FINIS Monofin and Swimmer’s Snorkel were increasing throughout the United States. John and Pablo didn’t lose sight of their goals; the pair continued to stay focused on educating customers, seeking to teach coaches how FINIS tools could improve overall technical development.

[Photo] John Mix and his wife, Paula, with an original FINIS Monofin at their first trade show.

IT'S ALL IN THE HIPS 1996

Continuing their collaboration with Nort Thorton, John and Pablo set out to fulfill a major coaching need: instructing proper hip rotation. As a result, FINIS developed the Tech Toc and the Hydro Hip. The first prototypes of the Tech Toc were made of LEGO Duplo, ABS sprinkler tubes, and marbles.

[Photo] An original Tech Toch prototype (spot the LEGO!).

IT'S ALL IN THE HIPS

Throughout the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, some Olympians were spotted using FINIS products to prep for races. Shortly after the Games, FINIS Headquarters (a.k.a. John’s house) began receiving orders from all over the world. In response to the influx of sales orders, the team rented the first FINIS warehouse space in Byron, CA.

EARLY ADOPTERS 1997

Thanks to Pablo’s celebrity presence amongst the swimming community, FINIS began to cultivate loyal relationships with some of the world’s most elite swimmers and swim coaches. In addition to Nort Thorton, the group of early brand advocates included Richard Quick and Dick Shoulberg.

[Photo] A thank-you note the University of California Women’s Swim Team.

A BETTER GOGGLE FOR KIDS 1998

Synchronously, both John and Pablo were experiencing the joys of introducing their young children to the water for the first time. Quickly feeling frustrated by the lack of kids goggles that provided an adequate fit, John and Pablo decided to develop a line of goggles specifically designed for young children.

[Photo] FINIS introduced the goggles under the Lane 4 brand; Lane 4 was later aligned with the FINIS brand.

"I TRAIN WITH A MONOFIN" 2000

Long time monofin user Misty Hyman claimed gold in the 200 meter butterfly at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, successfully defeating Australian competitor Susie O’Neill. To this day, Misty remains a dear friend and advocate of FINIS.

[Photo] An original Swimmer’s Snorkel prototype.

PICKING UP STEAM

Sales for the newer versions of the FINIS Monofin and Swimmer’s Snorkel were increasing throughout the United States. John and Pablo didn’t lose sight of their goals; the pair continued to stay focused on educating customers, seeking to teach coaches how FINIS tools could improve overall technical development.

ANOTHER COACH ON THE TEAM

Tim Elson of Pepperdine University joined the FINIS team, bringing with him the Freestyler Paddle, the only paddle designed to actively develop proper hand entry and build the length of each stroke.

[Photo] Original patent sketch of the Freestyler Paddle.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING 2001

FINIS designed the Tempo Trainer with the intent to help swimmers manipulate and regulate the two performance-related variables: stroke rate and distance per stroke. This underwater metronome has since evolved into the Tempo Trainer Pro, with three different modes for use in and out of the water.

AQUA TOUGH! 2002

Recognizing the need for high-quality swimwear, FINIS introduced the Aquatuff swimwear line. The 100% PBT polyester design and an unprecedented 90-day guarantee made the Aquatuff the most durable and dependable suit of its time.

ZOOMERS FINS 2003

FINIS decided to partner with Dr. Marty Hull of Zoomers in an effort to develop a training fin – now known as the Z2 Zoomer fin. Between 2003 and 2007, FINIS absorbed Dr. Hull’s business, and today, FINIS proudly sells the Z2 Zoomers, and the Zoomers Gold internationally.

YOUR UNDERWATER CONCERT 2005

After enduring a lengthy development process with Jerry Mix, FINIS introduced the SwiMP3 – the first use of patented bone conduction technology to transmit high-quality music underwater. The SwiMP3 was a remarkable achievement in swimming technology and revered by Time magazine as a top sporting goods item in 2005.

MORE THAN A KICKBOARD 2006

During a lunch break, John and Tim fabricated a design for a kickboard that enabled proper shoulder and body positioning while kicking. Using a pocketknife and an old foam kickboard, they pieced together a prototype that would later become the Alignment Kickboard.

GO FIGURE

The Forearm Fulcrum was first conceptualized by a coach in New Zealand, who sent it to John seeking a partnership. Designed to promote the early vertical forearm (EVF) and high elbow technique, the unique figure 8 design locks hand, wrist and forearm into optimal position.

THE MERMAID FIN 2007

John’s wife Paula inspired the first Mermaid fin when she urged the FINIS team to develop a monofin that was fun and approachable for swimmers of all abilities and ages. The Mermaid fin has since evolved into a family of fantasy monofin products that capture young swimmers’ imaginations and help develop a balanced dolphin kick.

COLLABORATION CONTINUES 2009

Inspired by two key figures in the swimming world, FINIS decided to offer the Bolster paddle and Turnmaster Pro. The Bolster paddle, designed by Brian Bolster of Osprey Aquatics, is a powerful tool for instructing the early vertical forearm (EVF) technique. Teaming up with gold medalist Bill Kirby of Australia, FINIS debuted the Turnmaster Pro in the warm-up pool at U.S. Nationals in Irvine, California. Shortly after the event, FINIS received orders for the Turnmaster Pro from dozens of America’s most elite coaches. The Turnmaster Pro’s easy-to- install bulkhead design is used to add wall space to competitive and recreational pools all over the world.

THE FIFTH STROKE 2010

FINIS collaborated with coaching legend and underwater kicking guru, Bob Gillett to bring the Foil monofin to the market.

LOOK OUT, WORLD!

Seeking to meet increasing demand, FINIS opened its first international office to service Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

GOING STRAPLESS 2012

With the development of the Agility paddles, FINIS introduced the first strapless paddle design to the market. The ergonomically advanced design of the Agility paddles teaches swimmers the correct palm-positive hand position without the hassle and discomfort of traditional paddles. Shortly afterward, FINIS introduced the Instinct paddle, a reiteration of the Agility paddles’ convex strapless design in a smaller sculling paddle. The remarkably simple design of the Agility paddles earned FINIS recognition from every corner of the swimming community and a 2013 Red Dot Design Award.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FINIS! 2013

FINIS celebrated its 20th year of business!

A ROCKIN' NEW UNDERWATER MP3 PLAYER

Using the same bone conduction technology as the SwiMP3, FINIS released the Neptune – offering upgrades such as a high-definition LED screen and playback features. The new design earned FINIS a 2013 Red Dot Design Award.

THE VAPOR TECH SUIT 2014

FINIS proudly introduced the finest technical suit in the company’s history. Made with premium Italian fabric and a hydrophobic design, the Vapor was a major breakthrough in the FINIS line of performance swimwear.

ALWAYS INNOVATING 2015

We made waves in the fall of 2015 releasing a total of 10 products, including the award-winning Axis buoy and our third generation underwater MP3 player, the Duo. We also introduced the Fuse, an affordable and fast technical racing suit, a line of colorful Ultra Mesh Backpacks, an innovative Posture Trainer and Kick Pro and three new goggles (Helio,Voltage,Zone) complete with retail Goggle Display.

MAKE YOUR MOVE! 2016

Here at FINIS, we take a lot of pride in being the product that’s on deck, day in and day out, when athletes are putting in the hard yards. In 2016, we want to be there when it’s time to cash in, when the preparation fuels performance. It’s time to make your move—we are!