Swim caps are a necessary evil and swimmers love to hate them. But why should you wear a swim cap and what’s the point of them?
As a swimmer, I can personally say that while yes, they can be a pain, they also provide many additional benefits to me that they’re worth the hassle. Still on the fence? Keep reading to learn more about swim caps and why you should wear one!
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- What is a Swim Cap?
- What’s the Purpose of a Swim Cap?
- Is it Bad to Swim Without a Cap?
- Why You Should Wear a Swim Cap
- In Closing
- Bonus Content:
What is a Swim Cap?
A swim cap covers only the top part of the swimmer’s head, specifically where there’s hair. They come in several different materials, each with its own pros and cons.
Related articles: Your Quick Guide to Swim Caps
What’s the Purpose of a Swim Cap?
While they might be uncomfortable, the benefits they provide a swimmer far outweigh the disadvantages that come with them. When worn correctly, a swim cap helps reduce drag in the water, therefore, increasing hydrodynamics.
In layman’s terms, it helps a swimmer go faster!
Is it Bad to Swim Without a Cap?
Not really, if that’s your preference. You can get by without wearing a swim cap the next time you’re at the pool.
But if you’re looking to get in some laps, start competitive swimming, or try open water, it’s a good idea to wear one.
Related article: Your Ultimate Swim Cap FAQ
Don’t believe me? Check out these 6 reasons why you should wear a swim cap!
Why You Should Wear a Swim Cap
1. Protects Your Hair
The chemicals in the pool are notorious for damaging hair. Turning your smooth, silky hair into something thick and straw-like. And while it’s the copper, not chlorine, in the chemicals that can turn hair green, it’s something most people don’t want to deal with.
Even with products to help remove chlorine from your hair, wearing a swim cap helps your hair stay healthy. Silicone and latex swim caps are the best at keeping your hair dry. Whereas a lycra cap doesn’t offer as much protection from the water.
Related article: 7 Common Swimming Myths
A swim cap won’t keep your hair 100% dry, but it can still help protect it from chemicals. It can also keep your hair protected from the sun, too!
2. Keeps Hair Out of the Pool
Nothing is worse than getting someone else’s hair caught in your fingers or on your face.
Swim caps help prevent hair, especially long hair, from floating through the pool and building up into a hairball.
When you swim without a swim cap, your hair does shed – much like it would out of the water. This then builds up in the water and either sticks to someone’s face. Or forms a large, rolling hairball that tumbles along the bottom of the pool, collecting everything.
And I mean, everything.
3. Prevents Hair from Getting in Your Face
While we’re still on the subject of hair.
For those with long hair, swim caps help to keep your hair out of your face when you swim. This not only helps you see better and know where you’re going. It also helps you breathe easier.
Trying to take in a breath around a mouthful of wet hair isn’t the best. It’s also really gross for you.
If you have bangs or hair that goes past your ears, you’ll probably end up with hair in your face if you don’t wear a swim cap. Save yourself some hassle when you use a swim cap 🙂
4. Eliminates Drag (So You Can Swim Faster)
Although many people think that a cap was designed to keep your hair dry, it’s actually to reduce drag! I.e., make swimmers faster!
A cap does this by keeping the hair collected and out of the water. This, in turn, keeps your head hydrodynamic when moving through the water and also keeps your hair from weighing you down.
All very simple things. But in a race against the clock and other swimmers, every hundredth of a second counts!
Certain caps, such as dome caps reduce wrinkles in the caps to decrease the amount of drag.
The key here is to make sure you’re wearing a cap that fits correctly and fits you! If a cap has wrinkles or slides off easily, you might not be wearing the right one.
5. Helps Your Fans (Parents) Spot You in the Pool
For those in competitive swimming, you know that once you get in the pool, everyone looks the same. Trying to find someone and point them out in a crowded warm-up pool is like playing Where’s Waldo.
Having a swim cap on though can help eliminate part of the search. Just by looking for your team name or logo, or even a team color makes it easier to spot swimmers on the deck or in the water.
6. Safety During Open Water
Looking to try your hand at open water? Making yourself visible and noticeable is highly important in terms of your safety. A brightly colored swim cap makes you stick out against the backgrounds of blues, browns, and greens.
This helps not just those on a boat spot you, but also lifeguards and other swimmers.
Neoprene swim caps are designed specifically to help open water swimmers retain body heat. Your hands, feet, and head lose heat before the rest of your body and when training in cold water, it’s important to keep warm.
As an aside, every open water swimmer should also look into an open water swim buoy. These come in bright colors and float on the surface behind you as you swim along. You should also swim with a buddy or group!
Bonus! #7: Protects Your Ears
As a bonus, swim caps also help with keeping water out of your ears if they’re covering your ears. While it won’t keep them 100% dry, it does help keep them from being submerged all the time.
Swim caps also help keep earplugs in place when you’re swimming.
Swim caps, despite their sometimes bad reputation, can offer more benefits than cons for a swimmer. The choice to wear one is up to you, but if you’re looking to keep your hair out of your face or protect it, or if you’re attempting to swim faster, I hope you consider wearing a swim cap!
You might be surprised at how much more it benefits you than you first thought!
As always, to happy swimming!
Swimming Basics to Get You Started: If you just started to swim, you might feel that swimming can be overwhelming. Here are some swimming basics to help you feel more comfortable at the pool.
8 Reasons Your Swim Cap Slides Off: Trying to keep your swim cap on though is a challenge. There’s no one secret to keep it in place but there are some reasons why your swim cap slides off.