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.
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.
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.
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!
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…
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:
- Vichy Pureté Thermale Fresh Cleansing Gel. In the shower to clean off all chlorine
- The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%. For hydration and Vitamin C.
- The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil. Smooths out skin tone and banishes itchy chlorine skin.
- Simple Light Moisturiser. Locks in moisture and gives a dewy glow.
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.