We often get a lot of questions about what type of equipment is needed for swimming. We’ve done a general article on what to bring to your first swimming lessons to answer a lot of them, but one specific question parents often ask is about the type of swimsuit their child should wear. This is kind of complicated and worthy of its own blog post, so here we go.
Keep in mind that unless the swimsuit is dangerous or otherwise a risk, we aren’t going to be sending any learners home or anything like that – so this blog is just to help you make wiser purchasing decisions. We’ll deal first with the bad types of swimsuits and then put recommendations at the end.
For Boys & Girls: Long Sleeve / Sun Protection Swimsuits Have Their Problems.
Long sleeve swimsuits can help with outdoor swimming and modesty. But, they aren’t ideal for indoor swimming lessons. Why? They cause a lot of drag in the water and can impede swimming – often long sleeve swimming kits are made for the beach and it’s a bit like swimming in a parachute. If you think it will keep your child warm, it won’t, because when they’re out of the pool they have more damp clothing on which needs to get dry and which often isn’t made of the right material. When your child is in the water it’s the same temperature as any swimsuit.
So, for practical reasons, long sleeve swimsuits of the style made for a holiday aren’t ideal for swimming lessons. They can make your child a bit cold and uncomfortable when they are out of the pool and it makes it harder for them to swim when they are inside of the pool.
For Boys: Baggy Swim Shorts
Baggy shorts are often what swimmers are most comfortable in but, again, they aren’t ideal for swimming lessons. The pockets fill with water and inflate the shorts behind the swimming creating a drag in the water which makes it harder to swim. Also, often these shorts have toggles, ties and other things which, in unfortunate circumstances, could get caught on something. Finally, it can be embarrassing if the ties break or the swim-shorts come loose. Need we say more?
For Girls: Bikinis
Like with baggy shorts for boys there’s potential for ties, toggles and strings to get caught on various bits of the swimming pool, lane separators, or in a group swimming session, other swimmers. With this there’s a potential for distraction, embarrassment and, rarely, a safety concern. Bikinis are however okay for mermaid swimming because the swimming requirements are for more experienced swimmers and (honestly) because it might ruin the fun and magic for some mermaids!
For Boys: Above the Knee Tight Shorts
These are made of a proper swimming material and minimise drag. There’s also minimal opportunity for anything to catch, fall or bag. This is the sort of swimsuit male Olympic swimmers wear and there’s a good reason for it – it’s the best thing to swim in.
For Girls: Double Strap Swimsuits or Boyleg Variations.
Again, these are designed to minimize drag and the amount of water that gets soaked into the fabric. They are designed without ties, toggles and other things which might catch and, again, is the sort of thing female Olympic swimmers.
We hope that helps parents make swimming costume decisions. We’d also like to finally remind people that a pair of goggles and a swim hat are essential for the pool!