While divers tend to use a shammy more than swimmers do, occasionally, you will see some swimmers use them still.
But what is a shammy?
A shammy is smaller sized towel that absorbs water like a swim towel. However, you can wring it out and use it to keep drying off, even when it’s wet. As a bonus, it dries extremely quickly.
A microfiber towel is usually a bit larger than a shammy but absorbs water just as well. The only downside of a microfiber towel is that it won’t wring out as easily as the shammy does. However, it does dry quickly, too.
Personally, I use both! First the shammy and then the microfiber towel.
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Why You Should Own a Shammy
Maximize Bag Space
Let’s admit it. Space is a premium when you pack your swim bag for either a meet or practice.
Towels, no matter how small you fold and pack them, take up more space than needed. Especially if you’re taking several for a long meet.
Most shammies run small in addition to being thin. Even folded up, they take up less space than the average towel. It makes for convenient packing so that you have room in your bag for other belongings.
They’re easy to slip along the side of your bag or rest just on top of all your belongings.
Even a microfiber towel, which can run a bit larger than the shammy, takes less space than a towel does.
More space in your bag means more space to pack food! Or, it can help lighten an already heavy and bulky swim bag 🙂
One of the best benefits of a shammy or microfiber towel is its ability to dry quickly. Especially if you have access to a hand dryer!
Where a towel does have the benefit of drying you off, it has the negative consequence of retaining the water.
Once you get a towel wet, it stays wet for a while.
If you’re swimming outside on a sunny day, you might have a chance to dry it. But for those that swim indoors or have less than stellar weather outside, a wet towel does you no good. And then it just becomes added weight for you to remember to pack.
And I think we can all admit that trying to dry towels between prelims and finals is a test in creativity. Along with patience!
Plus, wet towels aren’t the best for the interior of a car on the drive back from practice or a meet.
Personally, I like to use my shammy and microfiber towel to dry off first before using a regular towel. By drying off with them first, I can use my towels later in the meet when I’m in between races.
Using these first helps keep my towels drier for a longer period of time. Plus, it saves them for the really important parts of practice or a meet. You know, showering and changing at the end of a meet or practice!
As mentioned earlier, once a towel gets wet, it stays wet. And wet towels do little to help keep you warm at a swim meet.
And when you’re cold, you usually tend not to swim well at meets.
By drying off first with a shammy or microfiber towel (or both!), you have the added benefit of keeping your towels dry. Which, yes, in turn, keeps you warmer.
Drying off with one of these will help extend the life of your regular towels. And hopefully, help keep you warm and dry!
You’ll be amazed at how much warmer you stay with a dry towel. Give it a try sometime 😉
Good to use when traveling
Lastly, although not entirely swimming related, shammies are great for traveling. Not just travel for swim meets, but also vacations, and work or family trips.
Instead of packing a towel when you go camping or travel somewhere, take a shammy instead!
I took my microfiber towel with me for a two-week road trip in Iceland. It not only saved tons of packing space in my suitcase, but I also saved time trying to dry it. Plus, I didn’t have to deal with trying to find a dryer at the campsites.
Whenever I travel to a place where I have to bring my own towel, my shammy is a must.
Their small size and quick-drying material should put them at the top of every swimmer’s wish list. With the additional benefit of aiding swimmers in staying warm and for use on the go, you’ll find yourself reaching for a shammy first!
Whether you pick a shammy, a microfiber towel, or both, you won’t regret the option. For me, they’re one of the first things I pack for a meet. I never go to a meet without them.
I hope you get a chance to try one out for yourself and see what a difference they can make for you!
As always, to happy swimming.
7 Things Every Swimmer Should Have: Aside from the obvious needs of a swimsuit and towel, what are some absolutes that every swimmer should have? What do successful swimmers have that others don’t?
How to Stay Warm at Swim Meets: Not staying warm at swim meets can lead to bad times and races. Try some of these options to help you stay warm at swim meets and race faster.
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