First Swim? Here's What You'll Need
I know, starting a new hobby or activity can be expensive. You have to get this, and that, and also gotta get extras in case you run out. The whole shebang can be quite a lot.
Luckily with swimming, it doesn’t have to be that complicated, nor does it have to be that expensive.
Let’s just compare a few different sports. Say, running.
Running doesn’t seem that expensive right off the bat, since the only equipment you need is a pair of running shoes. What you don’t realize, is that a good pair of running shoes will cost you upwards of $100. Easily. Especially since running is a high impact sport, you definitely will want to invest in a good pair of running shoes with the support that you need. If you run frequently enough, you’ll also realize that you’ll be going through a pair of shoes every 6-8 months. That adds up.
How about cycling? The bike alone will cost you at least a few Benjamins. Then tack on the helmet, protective eyewear, reflective tape and gear, front headlight and rear reflector, and repair equipment such as a tire pump, patch kit, and spare tubing.
Okay, what about lifting? Unless you have a gym membership, you’ll need to purchase all the different dumbbells, plates, barbells, a bench, a squat rack, etc.
Unlike running and all these other forms of exercise, it really doesn’t cost that much to start swimming. With just the basics, you’ll probably spend $50 at most. Maybe even close to $30. You’d be surprised with how long a swimsuit will last you, if you take care of it.
Okay, so here are the goodies. For those taking the leap for the first time, here’s what you need:
Swimsuit. Not a t-shirt. Not workout shorts. No sports bras. An actual swimsuit. For men, it’ll look something like jammers, swim briefs, or square legs. Jammers and swim briefs are the most common, but it depends on your comfort. For women, find a one or two-piece suit. I personally prefer one pieces because there’s less drag, making it easier to swim in. But whatever suits you (haha, get it?).
Goggles. If you want your eyes to burn, don’t get them. Otherwise, I highly recommend it. Also, if you want to see where you’re going, it’s a good investment. In terms of the type of goggles, it really doesn’t matter. As long as it fits you and is comfortable to wear for however long you plan on swimming.
Cap. If your hair length falls past the nape of your neck, please wear a cap. No one wants to be choking on hair balls as they swim past you. Also, it’s going to be a whole lot easier swimming with all that hair tied up inside a cap then dragging an extra 10 lbs behind you. In terms of the type of cap, silicon caps last longer and don’t pull on your hair as much as latex caps. However, latex caps tend to be cheaper (they also rip easier, too). You can also wear lycra caps but it’s less commonly seen in competitive swimming. Again, it depends on your comfort.
Water bottle. This one seems obvious, but also not so obvious at the same time. It’s obvious, because you should always stay hydrated regardless of the type of exercise. It’s less obvious because since you’re in a pool, you might not feel thirsty until you’re really dehydrated. Dehydration sneaks up on you the longer you swim. So please, stay hydrated and bring some water.
Towel. This one also seems obvious, but let me tell how many times I’ve seen others forget their towels (myself included). Air drying is going to take a heck of a lot longer than drying off with a towel. Also, you don’t want to be that person hogging the hand dryer, or grabbing an exorbitant amount of paper towels for that matter.
Lock. Unlike going for a run or lifting weights, you don’t have pockets to hold your stuff. If your pool has lockers, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of keeping all your belongings safe in a locker. The last thing you want is to be sopping wet and without your clothes, phone, and car keys. This will turn any great swim session sour.
These are the basics that you’ll need for your first swim session. As you keep training, you’ll benefit from other equipment that will emphasize and enhance different components of your training. But for now, making sure you have the equipment listed above will be more than enough to get started.
Are you ready?
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