It’s that time again. Many folks are starting indoor swim programs, including high school teams, year round club teams (age group and Masters), lessons and Aqua fitness classes. For all of you who are going to be hitting the pool for exercise, competition, or just any day fun, here are some tips to help you save money.
The Swim Suit – Usually the most expensive piece of “equipment” for swimming.
A) Fabric:You want to buy the best suit for your needs. How often are in the pool? If you are swimming one or two times a week, you are probably okay purchasing a suit that is made of Lycra. However, if you are in a pool that is heavily chlorinated and/or you are swimming more than two times a week, you should strongly consider purchasing a polyester suit. Each of the major swim suit manufacturers: Speedo, TYR, Dolfin, Nike, and Arena have a polyester suit option. These suits may cost a little more up front, but they more than make up for it in the length of wear you can get out of them.
B) Care: I’ve mentioned this before in a previous blog post (you can read it here), but it can’t be said enough: rinse your suits in cold water and hang them to dry. Do not use detergents, rinses or soap. Do not machine wash or machine dry. Just don’t do it. Your suit will last longer if it is properly cared for.
C) Wear/Fit: The fit of your suit also plays a role in the longevity of your suits’ life. Wear a suit that fits snugly and does not have wrinkles or extra fabric hanging around. Avoid suits with significant gaps between the suit and your skin. There are many, many suit types and styles. Find one that fits your body to a T. Proper fitting suits last longer than ill fitting ones.
Wearing goggles is a must for lap swimmers. Finding a comfortable and well-fitting pair is essential to an optimal swim experience. Again, there are a multitude of styles and types. Clear or lightly shaded lenses are appropriate for indoor swimming. Mirrored and/or darkly shaded lenses are desirable for outdoor swimming. The key is finding a pair that fits your face. They are not one size/type fits all. Try them on before you buy them. If you wear glasses or contacts, you will likely want to consider prescription goggles. These are more affordable and available than ever before. Visit your local swim shop to see if it offers what you need. I could write an entire post on googles alone. Maybe one day, but for the purpose of this post find a pair that fits and will be comfortable to wear for the length of time you plan to wear them. Then, take care of them.
Don’t put your fingers in the eye pieces to wipe away the fog. Don’t spit in them or roll your tongue around in them. (Yes, this is a “thing.”). And, don’t spend a ton of money buying “Anti-Fog” solutions and cloths. Most goggles say they are anti-fog. It lasts about a week, if that. My solution is to make an anti-fog mix of your own. (Note: This was told to me by a friend long ago. I can’t remember who. Was it you? Let me know and I’ll give you the credit for this fun swim hack.)
In a spray bottle of your choosing (I used an old hair product bottle that I washed out), put about 1 to 2 parts Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and add about 10 parts water. Shake it gently before use. Spray the solution into your goggles before you start swimming, dip your goggles once into the pool, then put them on. You should have fog free lenses for most if not all of your practice. You can repeat this process as often as needed.
Keeping your fingers (and tongues) out of the eye pieces will extend their wear. Using this inexpensive anti-fog mix will also allow you to get longer wear from your goggles.
The best way to extend the life of a swim bag is to allow it to dry as quickly as possible after it gets wet. This means that if you shove your wet suit rolled up in your wet towel into your swim bag after practice, make sure you pull it out as soon as you get home and hang the suit to dry (you rinsed it in cold water or showered in it at the pool, right?). Leave your swim bag open so the inside can dry completely. Moldy swim bags are gross.
You may also want to consider having two bags, one for clothes, towels, toiletries, and one for your equipment: fins, pull buoys, paddles, caps, and goggles: all the equipment that gets wet, but dries quickly. I use two bags. A backpack for toiletries and dry clothes and towel and a mesh bag for all of the above mentioned equipment.
I hope you find these money saving tips helpful! Let me know if you have other ideas. I’d be happy to pass them along in a future post.