Swimming gear guide
The right swim kit for your training
At first glance swimming is a sport that needs very little kit, but there are some key components that you should not be without; here’s a quick guide to everything you will need.
You don’t have to spend huge sums of money on swimwear but choose carefully. Don’t be tempted to spend big money in a store for something that merely looks impressive. Do some research into how customers have previously found the product to give you a better idea if the swimwear is suited to your needs.
Think about the quality of the fabric. Will it cope with hours in chlorinated water and still retain its color and shape? Look for a high percentage of polybutylene terephthalate (PBT). This fabric is a type of polyester which has excellent resistance to alkalis, salt water and chlorinated water and is very quick drying. Good sports stores should have a comprehensive selection.
If you’re going to spend time training in open water, it’s essential that you invest in a good wetsuit. You definitely get what you pay for, so don’t cut corners to get one on the cheap. Each of the brands will have a range of mind numbing technical terms to describe their suits, but don’t succumb to jargon, ensure you seek the advice of an expert. And remember, you can always hire a wetsuit if you don’t think a open water swimming is going to be a regular part of your swimming training.
Lined swim top
It’s a good idea, especially for the guys, to invest in a lined top for use in colder pools. Not every pool is the same temperature, and some outdoor pools can be considerably colder, so it’s important to have kit that will cover you for almost every eventuality.
To swim correctly with your head in the water you need a good pair of goggles. You can pick a pair up for relatively cheaply however, there are a few things worth considering before you buy them. Goggles with a strap which can be adjusted easily are essential so you can ensure the best fit to your head. The goggles should also sit quite snugly on your face quite so that water is not let in, but they should not hurt your eyes or nose area. If you are swimming regularly in open water, you may want to consider investing in a pair of goggles with a darker lens colour, perhaps with a UV protection.
Many swimming pools will insist that you wear a cap, but even if they don’t, it is well worth investing in one. They are inexpensive and will protect your scalp from the chlorine in the water. Particularly in open water swimming, a swim cap is essential to keep your head warm.
A good set of mini flippers can be useful in helping develop certain components of your stroke, especially your arms. It takes the pressure off your legs and enables you to focus solely on your stroke technique. Be aware though that many pools will not allow you to use them, but they are perfect if you’re heading to the sea, or tackling open water.