Equipment Info

Well, I have been commenting on an excellent post about swimming over at 450 Good Choices, and dearest Becky asked for additional tips, so here goes.

There’s a few things we like to tell lots of new swimmers here. One thing is no matter why you’re swimming, you can’t just buy a swimsuit like you would for going to the beach. You don’t have to spend copious amounts of money or anything, but generally speaking you’re going to want to consider a couple of things.

Ladies: Typically, one piece. This suit needs to be tight. If you get it too big, it will gap at the neck, making it more difficult to swim, wearing your suit out faster and possibly leading to embarrassing wardrobe malfunction. On competitive suits, the sizing doesn’t go by dress size, but instead starts at 22 and goes up to 40 in even numbers. If the suits you are looking at are sized this way, there should be a size conversion chart some place. Generally, a women’s size 7/8 would be a size 32, just as a place to start.

Guys: Trunks probably aren’t ideal. Extra drag. If you can stomach it get Jammers(like bicycle shorts) or go all out and get a brief(a ‘Speedo’) Again, Tighter is better. Same warning as the Ladies about difficulty, staying power of the suit, and wardrobe malfunctions. Sizes go like the waistband of your pants, from 22 up to 40 in even sizes.

Suit care for everyone: Rinse your suit in cool water, air dry. No spinner at the rec, no washing machine, no dryer, no detergent, no fabric softener. The machines destroy the integrity of the fabric and the detergents/softeners react VERY poorly with the chlorine in the fabric. Funny colors and fabric disintegration result. AVOID.

I say follow Becky’s plan for equipment, unless you really want to look at something else. Please do your research about hand paddles/flippers. Overly large hand paddles can cause long-term shoulder problems. Fins come short and long and go by shoe size.

Goggles should seal without the strap on. If you can try them on this is best. Press them in firmly and see if you feel suction. If you can get suction without the strap on, then you’ll have no trouble maintaining a seal with the strap in place.

There are 3 main types of caps: Lycra, Latex and Silicone. No matter which cap you choose, your hair will get at least a little wet. Lycra caps are just swimsuit material. Just used for keeping your hair back. Latex are cheaper and a little stretchier, while Silicone are thicker, and pull your hair less. Otherwise, a cap is a cap.

That should cover it for now. If there is a dedicated swimming store in your area, that’s probably your best bet, but specialty stores are few and far between. Stores like Competitive Aquatic Supply. Located in Ohio or California. 😉

Feel free to let me know if there’ anything else you had questions on or wanted to know about.

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3 thoughts on “Equipment Info

  1. Yeah, those are the different swim caps. I had one that like, was super hard to put on (Latex?) and sort of tried to pull the hair out of my head. And then I had one that was easier to put on, but consequently fell off all the time (Silicone?). So I think I went back to Latex. I know there are some handy care instructions for them that would probably make my life easier that I’ve flat out ignored for years (something about keeping them in a ziplock baggie with baby powder between uses? ring any bells?). I take terrible care of them like I do with anything that costs me $10 or less because apparently I have no respect for my things. Good to know that about the flippers. I heard a rumor that they ruin your stroke, so I’ve stayed away. That coupled with the info here makes me feel like I’ve made an accidental good decision.

    • Yeah, something like that with the caps… but they don’t last a super long time anyway so most people just try to make sure they rinse them out and let them air dry too. Don’t want to let the chlorine sit in them.
      Flippers are just a training aid. They won’t ruin your stroke, but you don’t need them unless you’re doing a specific exercise. Some of the teams get them because the coach has a plan for them.
      Really your plan is simple, easy and hits all the major stuff for fitness swimming. You must be channeling your inner Michael Phelps 😀

  2. Pingback: Slacker! | Inkling of Asylum

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