swim kit


31/01/2012 by Carl Reynolds

goggles, ear plugs, cap*

Back out, clogged up and feeling indifferent to many things. But want to put something up for people to comment on. Swim kit can be categorised by season and location. A different accumulation of kit is needed for your local municipal pool than it is for a swim in your local river – although in my case a swim in my local river would either kill me or get me arrested. The lists below are what I take. Having read a variety of other swimming blogs, I know that there is a cornucopia of gadgets for the swimming obsessed – paddles, pull bouys, drag shorts etc etc, but I don’t use them. And as someone observed down at Tooting, capitalism can even ensnare the most natural of sports!

My lists then…

Local indoor pool kit – trunks, goggles, earplugs, towel, flip flops, shampoo. Easy really. I’m sure some could reduce this to just trunks and towel, but I like to see the objects in the water, avoid swimmers ear, keep my feet away from the floor and wash off as much chlorine stink as possible before entering the world. Which is why I rarely venture indoors.

Local outdoor pool kit – as above, but for slightly different reasons. Flip flops to keep my feet from the cool, cold and, at times, freezing concrete. And, in winter, merino layers, insulated jacket and wooly beany.

River or lake – as above, but also a Robie, water shoes, thermal blanket, food and hot drinks. A Robie is a monk’s habit like garment made of towelling. Great for spooking kids and gullible adults; as well as protecting the public from your bumps and curves…and for drying yourself with. You could make your own, but the cost of towelling material and the time spent sewing will probably prove to be a false economy. Having said that, my mother made a lovely bespoke one for Mrs Ape one Christmas. Water shoes, because I hate feeling the slime underfoot and given the way I swim crawl (minimal leg movement) not an impediment to progress. They’re also good for avoiding lacerations. A thermal blanket, because once in a while someone will stay in too long. By food I mostly mean cake – lots of cake. And finally your cap should be a brightly coloured one, so that you can be spotted by other water users (e.g. punts on the Cam, windsurfers on lakes, steamers on Ullswater).

Sea – as above, and if you arrive by car a minimum two litre bottle of warm water in the boot. To douse yourself in once you emerge. This is certainly cheaper than a solar shower, but these are good too. But as Lone Swimmer comments below – only in the summer. The effects on a body fresh out of very cold water could be catastrophic.  And again a brightly coloured cap. But probably best to not have the same colour as creel bouys or you may get scooped up by a lobster fisherman.

Anywhere outdoors where it’s really cold (this varies, but for me currently – below 8 degrees C and I want to swim for two miles or more) – a (shock, horror) wetsuit. But don’t go getting yourself a fancy pants one, a base level triathlon suit for £100 will do the job nicely. After all, only you will know that your more expensive suit got you back to the beach ten seconds quicker.

*always good to have a ‘show off’ cap. This one is a 9 miler from the 2009 Irish Champion of Champions event. The best is probably a Channel Solo cap – which I do not have.


9 thoughts on “swim kit

  1. Nando Cuca says:

    indifferent to many things eh? How about some instructions on how to start your mother to get you going again? http://cafefernando.com/page/4/ Now, if only I could get someone to start this going in Rio now.. we could have sourdough bread when we get there!

  2. Martin says:

    I only swim at the Lido, so this is the list:

    Before swimming:

    Wool throughout
    Gloves to keep fingers warm while on bicycle prior to swimming
    Cycling vigorously to the Lido
    Flip flops help a lot keeping feet warm before you go in (new habit)

    In the pool:

    3 caps
    1 minimalistic Speedo trunk (probably 2 sizes too small, but nobody’s commented so far)
    Basic goggles that are permanently misted (need to upgrade)
    Wetsuit ! (optional)

    • How about getting Natalia some flip flops! And Kate suggests you get some silicone caps and ditch the latex.

      • Martin says:

        Nats (or is it Nuts?) and I have “his and hers” flip flops. It’s up to each swimmer to bring their kit to the pool (I’m not her mother after all).

        I’ll investigate the silicone route, but wouldn’t rubbish latex – depending on the application, it can be very useful.

        Didn’t have a great swim on Sunday, so nervous about tomorrow…

        Oh, forgot to report to Kate that I had a great kayaking induction on Sunday at Clapham Leisure Centre. More fun that I expected. Taking Nuts this time.


  3. LoneSwimmer says:

    Sharp intake of breath on the bottles of hot water for post-sea. Dangerous. Summer only and only if you know what you are doing.

    I’ve still got one each remaining original Sandycove Challenge 2008 & 2009 swim cap left. Love those caps. Got more comments than the Channel cap.

  4. Donal – warm water, but I appreciate your warning about hot water and it’s impact on the body after cold immersion.

  5. Nicky says:

    Hats are for wimps. Except stylish woolly ones of course… See also flip flops though you’re allowed socks when there’s ice on the ground.

  6. Alex says:

    The neoprene cap I bought this winter has been great. Not only does it prevent ice cream headaches (even in 1ºC water) it also stays on my head better.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address in the box below,
then click Follow to receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 122 other followers

Places to swim etc


  • 244,435


%d bloggers like this: