Whether you’re a seasoned vet or a beginning swimmer, you’ve probably wondered, “What’s the big deal about wearing a swim cap?”
Most people under the age of 65 don’t bother with them. Unless, of course, you’re a competitive swimmer. Then, it seems like swim caps are everything, doesn’t it?
If this is you, you likely have more than one. You may even have different materials, too.
But if you’ve ever wanted to know what make swim caps such a necessity, we’re going to break it all down in this guide.
1. A Swim Cap Protects Your Head
Yes, it sounds a little strange to read that a thin layer of silicon will give you any protection, but it’s true.
First, the cap protects your head from UV rays. This is especially important if you swim outdoors year-round in a warm-weather climate.
A swim cap also protects your hair from the harmful chemicals found in the pool. Given the high levels of chlorine, muriatic acid, and other chemicals, it’s important to have as much protection as you can.
2. Keeps Your Hair Out of Your Face
Whether you’re at practice or a meet, you don’t want your hair in your face, right? Can you imagine how much time you’d lose on every lap if you were constantly sweeping hair out of your face?
A swim cap does the work for you. While it won’t keep your hair dry, it will at least keep it out of the way.
3. Makes Wearing Goggles More Comfortable
This is more helpful towards people with longer hair but it works for anyone. A swim cap keeps your goggles from getting tangled in your hair.
If you’re swimming a 50M Fly, you’re not going to be affected that much. But, if you swim the 200M IM? There’s a good chance your goggles and hair will be a tangled mess.
Plus, anyone who’s ever tried to dive off the blocks knows the struggle of your goggles coming off your face. Tucking your goggles straps under your swim cap helps keep this from happening.
4. Reduces Drag
Let’s talk a word you’ve heard used a thousand times: Drag. When it comes to swimming, this is where science comes in. In a nutshell, you want good drag and in the other, you don’t want bad drag.
Because water is so much more resistant than air, and every hundredth of a second counts, you want as little “bad drag” as possible. Your hair produces this. So, keeping it covered and your head aerodynamic is an easy way to shave time off the clock.
5. A Swim Cap Keeps You Safe in Open Water
If you prefer open water swimming, a brightly color swim cap can be a lifesaver. If you get caught in sudden currents or in a crowd, it’s easier to spot you if something goes awry.
Because the water is usually colder in open water swimming, the cap will also keep your head warm.
Don’t forget that material matters! Most swim caps are silicone but latex and neoprene are also popular choices.
Rubber caps are usually reserved for recreational swimmers — like those over the age of 65. You probably use a spandex cap for practice due to the added drag.
It all comes down to is what material you’re most comfortable wearing, and which gives you the most protection for the type of water you’re swimming in. And yes, of course, which gives you the most aerodynamics when you’re in a race.
Check out our blog for more helpful tips on swim gear!