There are many things to consider when searching for a properly fitting practice and/or competition swimsuit. Here are some helpful hints to ease your shopping experience:
- A properly fitting swimsuit should fit closely against the body
- Bunching at the seams or tightness and pulling at the straps and openings usually indicates an incorrect size
- You should be able to move freely without causing the neck or leg openings of the suit to stretch
- If the swimsuit is cutting uncomfortably into any portion of your body, try a different style, brand and/or size
A common fit test is to lift the straps upwards off the shoulders. You should be able to lift the about one inch for a competition suit. When in doubt, move around in your suit to test out the fit. Lift your arms, legs, and shoulders until you’re certain everything stays in place.
Most boys like to wear board shorts because they’re comfortable and are the farthest thing from a “speedo” that you can find. However, there are actually a few drawbacks that can hinder their progress and ability to swim properly.
Board shorts are baggy, produce lots of drag, and make it harder for any swimmer to move through the water efficiently. It’s fine if children want to wear board shorts during recreational swimming, but they should never be worn during swim team activities. Would you put 10-pound shoes on your feet and go running? Then don’t wear big, baggy shorts when you swim!
Rash guards are slightly less of a problem since they’re normally skin-tight. They can help keep younger children warm in the water. If worn, we recommend making sure they fit tightly and only wearing rash guards for recreational swim or swimming lessons, not swim team practice.
What they’re for: keeping water out of the eyes (duh).
How to use them: The straps should go directly around the head in line with the eye area. Don’t pull the straps down around the base of the scull, have them too high, or put them over the ears.
How to choose them: Every decent pair of goggles easily come out of the packaging, always try them on BEFORE buying! They need to fit the swimmer’s face. Ensure they feel suction around the eyes when the goggles are pressed to the eye sockets. Leave them on for a minute and turn from side to side, make sure there is no air moving into the goggles, in the pool this will be water coming in! Goggles that have an adjustable nosepiece are helpful for correct fit. Mirrored lenses block the sun’s glare, helpful for outdoor swimming.
Other tips: Goggles should not need to be super tight to keep the water out. They should be worn as loosely as possible for comfort. If goggles are leaking and you have tried tightening them and adjusting the nosepiece to no effect, throw them away and try another pair! They will not magically start fitting better!
What it’s for: anti-fog coated goggles don’t usually work. Using a goggle anti-fog solution keeps goggles clear all practice long.
How to use it: rub a small amount of the solution on each of the goggle’s lenses, rinse it off in the pool before wear. One application should last all session.
How to choose it: the tried and true swimmer formula is to use a mix of one part baby shampoo (no tears), with two parts water. Get a small squeeze bottle and mix your own. Viola! You’re in business.
What it’s for: to keep hair out of the eyes and face and to make the swimmer more streamlined.
How to use it: hold the center fold of the cap in the middle of the forehead and pull the cap from the front of the head to the back (the fold is not meant to go ear-to-ear, but little kids sure look cute with it that way!). Swimmers with long hair should put it in a low pony tail first then wind their hair into a bun and tuck it into the cap, keeping the bulk of their hair closer to the base of the head rather than the top.
How to choose it: Silicon caps generally last longer and are more comfortable (they don’t pull the hair). They are also warmer. If it gets too hot try a latex cap. Latex are perfectly good, and are cheaper. Dry them out after use and keep them flat to make them last longer.
What it’s for: when doing laps swim shirts can be heavy and restrictive. Sun protection is essential, but for 30 minutes to 1 hour of lap swimming sunscreen is the best choice. Swim shirts or rash guards are for before and after practice and anytime kids are poolside playing.
How to use it: liberally! Apply 30 mins before getting in so it doesn’t immediately wash off.