Best Warm Clothes for Swim Meets

Written By: Chevron

Staying warm during your next meet is one simple way to have a better swim meet. But staying warm is more than just drying off and wrapping up in a towel. Part of the trick is having the correct warm clothes for swim meets. Here are the best articles of clothing to keep you warm at swim meets.

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Hands down, swim parkas are the best articles of clothing to keep you warm at swim meets. Parkas are usually lined with fleece for optimum warmth and have a water-resistant outer shell. I take my parka with me to nearly every swim meet I go to, even during the summer months!

Related article: 8 Best Swim Parkas for Swimmers

I’ve found that some parkas are warmer than others. Know your cold tolerance before getting a parka so you get the right one. If you can, ask to try on a teammate’s parka before purchasing your own. This will help ensure not just the warmth that it provides, but also the fit.

Staying warm with my Arena Team Line Parka at the 2023 Masters World Aquatics in Fukuoka, Japan

Heavier Parkas

If you’re looking for the warmest option, I use and recommend Arena’s Team Line Parka. It’s fleece-lined and feels like you’re wearing a down comforter. Because of its design, this parka offers the maxim amount of warmth. For swimmers, coaches, and parents alike! It’s perfect for cold pool decks or anyone who can’t stay warm, no matter how many layers they wear.

For more information on this parka, be sure to check out my review on it: A Swimmer’s Review of Arena’s Team Line Parka.

Lighter Parks

One of the benefits of a lighter parka is that they’re typically a bit easier to pack because they’re not as puffy or heavily padded parkas. But they are still good warm clothes to use at swim meets. Another benefit is that lighter parkas tend to run just a little cheaper than their heavier counterparts. 

Related article: The True Cost of Swim Meets

I’ve tried my teammate’s Sporti’s Comfort Parka and Adortex Waterproof Parkas, and both kept me warm despite being thinner. This makes them perfect for getting warm if you’ve just gotten out of the pool or you don’t need something heavier to stay warm.

Speedo also offers two other lighter-weight options for parkas. Their Color Block Parka and Team Parka. Both have less puffiness compared to their Elite Parka. Which might appeal to some swimmers.


Warm-ups consist of a jacket and pant combination that swimmers – and coaches – can use at swim meets or even practice. They come in various colors and pattern designs, which can usually be customized for each team. Some shops, such as SwimOutlet, can also add a swimmer’s name to the front to help prevent mix-ups at meets.

Much like parkas, warm-ups can vary in type of material. From heavier fabric for more warmth to something lightweight such as a windbreaker.

Heavier Warm-Ups

For cold weather or cooler pool decks, heavier warm-ups are the best at keeping swimmers warm. I use Arena’s poly warm-up pants and jackets. They’re made from a thick polyester material that traps in the warmth. The jacket comes with a high collar, which keeps the neck and shoulders a bit warmer.

Two other options to consider are Speedo’s Streamline and TYR Team warm-ups

  • Speedo Streamline warm-ups are 100% polyester fleece for more warmth. Zips up to the base of the throat, but it doesn’t zip up to the neck
  • TYR Team jacket is 100% polyester but comes with a hood that zips up high on the neck.

Lighter Warm-Ups

A lighter warm-up can help keep off the chill during the summer or at warmer pools without overheating you. Especially if you’re swimming outdoors and there’s a bit of a breeze!

For meets like this, a lightweight jacket will usually suffice for most swimmers.

Arena provides this with their windbreaker warm-up set. It’s made from ripstop material, which is similar to what’s used on windbreakers. However, the inside has a mesh lining to keep the warm-ups light and airy.

Arena Prival Warm Up Navy/White

Sweats and Loungewear

Of course, if nothing else, you can always opt for some sweats. It’s important to remember that in the case of sweats, bigger isn’t always better. A larger hoodie might be great to snuggle in, but it can gap and let air in. 

If you plan to wear something larger to curl up in, make sure you wear an extra layer underneath. This will help keep the warm air trapped in and the cool air away from you. 

Related article: Best Swim Meet Advice

Some lighter-weight loungewear may be ideal for those who need some warmth, but not an excessive amount. For some swimmers, a long sleeve shirt and pants might be enough for this. Our favorite light-weight top is Speedo’s Pull Over Hooded Tee. It’s incredibly soft and comfortable.

Speedo Unisex-Adult T-Shirt Hoodie Pull Over

Socks (and/or Boots)

For some swimmers, keeping their feet warm can make the difference between feeling cold and warm. 

Swimmers who need to keep their feet warm should look into socks to wear at meets. And not just one pair will do. It’s best to bring several depending on how long the meet is. Especially if you’re putting on shoes before/after warm-up and in between races.

Dry socks perform much better at keeping you warm than wet ones! So you’ll want to make sure that you change them out when they start feeling too damp.

In addition to socks, you’ll want to find a good pair of swim meet shoes. We prefer regular tennis shoes. Ones that are easy to slide on and dry quickly. 

We do have teammates though who prefer shoes or boots with inner lining.

While these are great at keeping your feet warm, some boot styles aren’t suited for the pool deck and water. Keep this in mind if you’re considering some type of boot.


Much like your toes get cold, so too can your fingers. While it might seem silly to wear gloves at a swim meet, you might find that it’s the key to helping you stay warm.

Achiou Winter Knit Gloves are warm despite being thin. And as a bonus, they have a non-slip design to keep you from dropping things. Such as your phone 😉


Lastly, get yourself a beanie! Beanies are a great way to keep your head warm and any water from dripping on you. Plus, you can get some fun ones to showcase your personality! Look for some with fun prints, slouchy, or with a pom at the top.

Beanies are simple, cheap, and easy to pack in a swim bag. Not to mention, you can wear them at practice and away from the pool, too.

As always, to happy swimming!


Bonus Content:

Top 11 Questions About Swim Meets: Swim meets can bring about a variety of questions. Here’s a brief overview of the top 11 frequently asked questions about swim meets.

15 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Tech Suit: It’s no secret that tech suits are expensive. So how do you extend the life of your tech suit? Here are 15 tips to help care for your tech suit.

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Chevron is a current competitive swimmer with almost 20 years of experience at the local, national and international level. A current USA Swimming and US Masters Swimming athlete, she’s committed to providing guidance to all levels of swimmers and believes that everyone should know how to swim.

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