It’s triathlon training season, and that means I’m busting out the swim gear. For me, swimming is like a Backstreet Boys song. It comes on the car radio and I am all, “Blech. Get this sorry excuse for Justin Timberlake out of my ears,” as I reach for the dial. Then something happens. My shoulder twitches, my head nods, my index finger points to the horizon and I don’t care that the entire intersection is staring. Because why? Because I’m rockin’ my body right.
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Did I lose you? How can that be. Basically I think I hate swimming until I start swimming and my body automatically knows exactly what it’s supposed to be doing and I remember that I like swimming and then I want to swim all the time.
Before you jump in the pool and start floundering around like a drunk cat, take a second to make sure you have the gear you need. Whether you are a beginner swimmer or a seasoned triathlete, it’s always good to revisit the basics.
Fiterature’s Essential Swim Gear
Swimsuit: I mean, duh, but now is not the time to wear your Brazilian bikini. I’m sure your rack slash package is fantastic, but we are looking at speed here, mkay? Ladies, a one-piece swimsuit that is made for racing is essential. And guys, swim briefs or jammers are preferred. The tighter the better for both groups because it reduces drag.
Goggles: Swim goggles are not optional. They allow you to put your face under water while protecting your eyes from chlorine. Goggles help you see where you are going (otherwise known as sighting) in a race and keeps your neck in a more relaxed and streamlined position.
Earplugs: Not every triathlete I know wears swim ear plugs, so this one is a personal preference. I get headaches and ear pain without them, and it’s just not worth it to me. Plus, I wear Hearos and they look like tiny air traffic controller wands and that joke never gets old.
Swim cap: Swim caps keep long hair out of your face, keeping it out of your way when you’re taking a breath. Plus caps help reduce drag, making your strokes more efficient. *Have you ever tried to put on a swim cap? It’s like putting a rubber band around an angry elephant. Here’s a video of an awesome way to put on a swim cap. Here’s how to put on a swim cap via a boring, but effective, way.
Clock or watch: Ever seen one of these at the pool?
It’s a pace clock. The red hand moves with the seconds. I use it to do what I call “Beat the Clock” workouts. Like this:
You can also use a dope waterproof watch. But they’re ‘spensive, so you best be swimming fo’ realz. I’m not sure why I just started talking like that. Apologies.
Other things that are important that I don’t need to explain much:
Waterproof sunscreen – so you don’t get cancer.
Flip flops – so you don’t get athlete’s foot.
Good shampoo / conditioner – so you don’t get straw hair.
You will notice that a snorkel is not on this list because friends don’t let friends look dumb. You’re a swimmer, not a National Geographic photographer.
I love Splish suits for obvious reasons.
What are your swim essentials?
What song do you shamelessly sing to?