My Swimming Kit Essentials: Scratchy Towels and Tanning Lotion

My mom first took me swimming when I was maybe one or two.  I had a bright yellow swimming costume with a jelly green star on it, a pair of inflatable red armbands, and not much hair.  Since then, I’ve always been obsessed with the water.  I completed all of my Kelloggs Rainbow Swimming badges at a really young age and even swam in my school entry to the It’s A Knockout Competition. 

Now, I am definitely not as good as a swimmer as I was in my heyday but I am determined to get back to that level!  At the moment, my main swimming pool is at the Virgin Active Gym at Salford Quays, where I am a regular 2/3 times a week.  I love getting my body moving and emptying my head of all thoughts.  It’s just me and the deep blue.  

Below, I have listed some of my swimming kit essentials as well as what you would find if you rummaged through my swimming bag.  This post contains some affiliate links. 


Swimwear | 


Some people swear by a black sports bikini while others prefer fluorescent longsleeved swimsuits with lots of zips and mesh.  For me, a simple dark-coloured Speedo Powerback swimsuit is my ultimate go-to. Wearing something as comfortable, durable, and flattering makes me feel confident both in and out of the pool.  

From their swimming caps to their swim bags – I truly am a sucker for everything Speedo produces.  While I have more than a few Speedo swimsuits in my wardrobe, my favourite of theirs is the Powerback model.  Sitting snuggly, the Powerback aids shoulder movement and upper-body flexibility.  This means my muscles are kept safe and secure; almost lightly strapped in to avoid major injury.  Away from the back, I find that the high leg of the swimsuit to be super flattering without cutting into my skin.  I feel protected, pretty, and perfectly-poised to smash my PB’s every time.  I really do love the Speedo Powerback.


Goggles |


After a swimsuit, goggles are the second essential you need to go swimming.  Funnily, people have all kinds of excuses for not wearing a pair including:

  • I prefer swimming with my head out of the water (trust me, you don’t).
  • I don’t want to get my face wet.
  • Goggles make rings around my eyes.
  • I look silly in them.

If you want to swim seriously for your health, weight-loss, to improve your cardiovascular stamina, or just to keep the water from stinging your eyes, then you need a pair of goggles.  I’m currently swimming in a pair of TOPLUS Swimming Goggles purchased via Amazon.  They were cheap and cheerful as well as being über comfortable, anti-leak, and protecting me from UV.  I like them; they do the job even if they are not the most flattering/aesthetically pleasing.  I am in the market for a shiny new pair, however! I am thinking of a pair of Speedo Futura Biofuse Flexiseal or Predator Titanium Goggles from Zoggs.  


Water Bottle |


I was talking to a colleague recently and they said they had never taken a water bottle poolside with them.  They thought it was odd.  My eyes literally boggled.  I cannot imagine getting through a session without re-hydrating!  I always take a 500ml water bottle into the pool with me as it allows me to push my performance to the max.  Taking regular quick sips between hard lengths, I prefer to drink from a water bottle with a built-in straw for faster hydration.  Also, that post-cool-down gulp? Heaven on earth.

I do use a plastic water bottle as it is much safer to take into the pool than a glass one.  I currently alternate between this one and this one. 


Swimming Cap |


Hair washing day (you know it is an event) and training often overlap.  To painstakingly avoid washing my hair twice in one day, I pop on an ever-so-flattering swimming cap.  While some people do suit a cap others IE. me; don’t particularly look that great.  I’m blaming it on my face shape.  However, dry hair after the pool is a flex I am willing to make sacrifices for.  40 minutes of looking silly? I can do it for the hair.

I am currently using a Speedo Long Hair Swimming Cap (mine is black and white) which allows me to bundle up my mop without having any dangling hairs or suspicious-shaped buns peaking out.  The key to picking out a good one is a stretch.  If it is somewhat stiff, chuck it back on the shelf – you need movement, baby!


Towel |


When it comes to towels there are two types of people.  Those who like to be bundled and caressed with a soft and silky billowing bath sheet and those who like to dry themselves on scratchy and scraggily thread-bare towels.  It pains me to say, but I am not person one when it comes to picking out my swimming towel.  For ease, I would highly recommend bringing a small, flat towel to the pool; one which can fold up neatly in your bag without taking up too much room.  You also want a towel that does not absorb too much water as you will need to lug the soggy lump home afterward.  I find old IKEA towels or any old towel you have lying around does the trick – small, scraggly, and mighty.  That sounds like a euphemism for me…


Skincare |


It is essential to look after your skin post-swim.  While chlorine has anti-bacterial properties and is great for calming acne flare-ups it can also totally de-hydrate your skin making it sallow and flaky.  My skin routine after an evening swim is pretty simple and looks like this:


Bodycare |


Just like your facial skin, your body skin also needs a lick of care after coming into contact with Chlorine.  During my post-swim shower, I like to use the Westlab Cleansing Himalayan Shower Wash as it is PH-balancing and makes my skin feel squeaky clean.  After drying, I lather myself in the Vaseline Intensive Care Essential Healing Body Lotion.  I find this lotion in particular locks in moisture and is great for rejuvenating my skin after a swim. My body feels supple and quenched after I moisturise.  However, if I have fake-tanned recently, I will paste on Garnier’s Summer Body Dark Gradual Tan Moisturiser.  Note: keeping up your fake tan while swimming is HARD WORK, but Garnier Summer Body will make it ever-so-slightly easier!


As you can tell, my swim bag is packed full of the essentials you do not often think about, like the perfect towel and a handy body moisturiser.  Sometimes it is a pain carrying all of this around (especially a heavy water bottle) but it makes my time in and out of the pool a breeze.  I love swimming and anything to make it easier is a bonus!  Hopefully, this handy guide has given you some tips and advice for getting into the pool.  Happy swimming.  

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