Swimming is popular as both a recreational and competitive activity. For exercise, it's a popular way to develop strength throughout the body, and it's also a useful form of physical therapy due to the low resistance and low impact on joints. Swimming as an exercise is also taught for lifesaving purposes. Competitively, swimming races take place in butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.
The only pieces of equipment necessary for both practices and competition in swimming are a swimsuit, a swim cap and goggles. A wide variety of each of these items exists, so the swimmer can choose based on preference - for example, swim caps are made of either silicone or latex, and goggles come in many different lens shapes and with different types of straps.
During practices, swimmers often use equipment to isolate movement in one part of the body, to add resistance or to keep track of a certain element of a stroke.
Swimming accessories are tools to use while swimming that help you learn how to swim certain ways. They are used to train to become a better swimmer and strengthen certain areas of your body. Most of these accessories are available at any sporting goods store in the swimming section. Other places include popular swimming brands like Speedo and Arena. Common swimming accessories include:
Arm floaties are floatation devices that go around your two arms; they are usually worn by kids and/or beginner swimmers for safety and to help those swimmers get used to being in the water. The reason they are meant for kids is because they are able to hold their weight up and keep the kid's head above water while they learn how to swim. They are priced between $5 and $15.
Swimming ear plugs are little plugs that go in a swimmer's ear while they are swimming. They are very small and made of flexible plastic. They are priced between $3 and $10, depending on the quality of the material and brand of the ear plugs. The purpose of these plugs is to keep water out of the ear canals and ears of swimmers. Swimming ear plugs tend to come with a box to hold them when you aren't using them, so they are easier to keep track of.
Swimming fins are fins that swimmers wear on their feet. They are most commonly used for divers who are scuba diving or snorkeling deep waters and exploring. Swimming fins are also used in a pool to help swimmers better their kicking while swimming. Fins will increase the power of a swimmer's kicks. There are different sizes to fit different sized feet and they cost between $30 and $50 dollars.
Swimming headphones are waterproof headphones that stay in a swimmers ears while they are swimming. They are not able to be worn at the same time as swimming ear plugs. Swimming headphones, or earplugs, are usually bluetooth, as the phone playing music is sitting nearby, outside of the pool. Swimming headphones vary in cost, depending on the quality, but tend to be pretty expensive. You are more likely to find these at headphone or earbud companies like Beats or AfterShokz for around $150 dollars.
Kickboards, which can be made of plastic, foam or any other buoyant material, isolate a swimmer's lower body. The swimmer holds the board out in front of them and uses only their legs to travel through the water. Less buoyant kickboards also force the swimmer to engage their core to maintain proper kicking position. These are used to strengthen a swimmer's core and kicking strength and to help teach a swimmer how to kick better when swimming.
A swimming lap counter helps to count a swimmer's laps. There are personal swimming lap counters that a swimmer could wear on their wrist like a watch and keep track of their laps. There are also larger swimming lap counters that are manual and electronic. A manual swimming lap counter is flipped every lap by someone not swimming to keep track of the swimmer's lap for them. An electronic swimming lap counter does the same thing, but someone will push a button to keep track of laps. These are usually used during competitive swimming.
A swimming life jacket is a buoyant jacket that one wears around their chest and upper body like a vest. You usually have to buckle the straps on a life jacket to secure it around you. Swimming life jackets are used to keep people's head above the water and to keep people floating. Life jackets are usually worn in open water, when it is more dangerous to be in the water rather than in a clear pool. Some young kids will use life jackets as they are learning to swim. They are sold for between $30 and $100 dollars.
Men's bathing suits are what men wear when they go swimming. They tend to be like short shorts and are made with a fabric that will dry faster if left out for a little. There are different types of swimsuits to be worn, depending on what the person chooses to wear. There are also bathing suits that are brief, tight swimming trunks. They are usually called a speedo. Men's bathing suits can be found at any clothing or sporting goods store ranging from $10 to $80 depending on brand and quality.
A swimming mesh bag is a bag that is usually a little smaller than a backpack and it tends to have a drawstring. A mesh bag is usually brought around by swimmers to carry their stuff, so that even when it gets wet, it will dry out. People will put their swimming suits, goggles, towels, and more in a swimming mesh bag. They are sold for between $5 and $30 dollars. This bag keeps your equipment together in one place.
A swimming noodle is another floating device used in the water. They have multiple uses, as they could help a beginner swimmer stay above water as they learn how to swim. Swimmers also may use noodles for fun and as toys in the water. Swimming noodles are very cheap; you could get one for $1 or $2 dollars from a pool supply store.
A swimming nose clip is very similar to swimming ear plugs. It is a clip that goes on a swimmer's nose while they are swimming. Swimming nose clips are used to keep water out of a swimmer's nose if that is something they are very uncomfortable with or struggle to do on their own. Swimming nose clips are pretty cheap and are priced between $3 and $10. Nose clips also tend to come with a container for storage.
Pace clocks can be found at virtually every training facility and are an important part of many, if not all, workouts. The clocks, which count by the second, help swimmers gauge how fast they're going and assist greatly in timekeeping during interval training sets. Pace clocks could also be used personally, on a waterproof wristwatch of a swimmer. They are very helpful in training for swimmers, as they help swimmers make sure they are going the pace they want to be going.
There are many swimming pool toys that are used to play around with. Most pool toys will float for a second or two and then start to sink to the bottom of a pool. This makes it fun for people attempting to retrieve pool toys as they fall towards the bottom of a pool. These are usually made of flexible plastic and are brighter colors. This is for swimmers to stay safe and see these toys even from a far distance. Toys such as pool rings are usually priced between $5 and $10 dollars.
A swimming pool is where many swimmers will swim. People will swim in a swimming pool to practice swimming, to exercise, or to play in. There are different sized swimming pools. The most common is an Olympic sized swimming pool, which is about 50 meters in length, meaning one lap is 100 meters. The width is about 25 meters and the deepness of the pool is about 2 meters. The pool has about 660,000 gallons of water in it.
A swimming pull buoy is a basic piece of swimming equipment that helps a swimmer increase their power. The swimmer will usually put the buoy in between their thighs and hold it there. This helps float the hips and upper legs of a swimmer to the surface, which makes the action of swimming with this buoy similar to pulling the lower half of the body along. These are priced between $10 and $20.
Swimming resistance gloves are gloves with open fingers but the fingers are webbed together. These increase the resistance of swimming when a swimmer wears them. With resistance coming at your hands, your arms, shoulders, and chest will grow stronger and more flexible. The wrist is adjustable to fit many different people and these gloves are priced at $20. These gloves are used by swimmers during training so they will become stronger and faster for when they compete in the water.
A swimming resistance pulley is used to make swimming much more challenging and therefore strengthen the swimmer using it. There are many different types of resistance pulleys that a swimmer could use. Many of them have strings and a way to attach to a swimmer's body while also being attached to a wall or something outside of a pool. An example would be a swimmer wearing a belt that is attached to a base outside of the pool and trying to swim forward. That would create resistance for a swimmer.
Swimming rings are another floatation device. These do have one main use and that is for safety. These rings are able to support a bunch of weight and are able to help keep people floating with their head above the water if they lean on them. These are tossed in the water at a drowning or struggling swimmer to help them stay above the water. Each pool has to have access to these and the lifeguards must know where they are in case they must be used.
A swimming shirt is an addition to a swimsuit that can add extra protection and comfort. Swimming shirts could be short sleeved or long sleeved and are usually worn to keep a swimmer warm while they are in the water. Swimming shirts could be upwards of $30 depending on the material and brand.
Swimming starter blocks are used by swimmers to start a race. Swimmers will start on these starting blocks and when the starting gun goes off, they will dive into the water and continue swimming forward. These starting blocks are at most pools and at every Olympic sized pool, as swimmers must practice diving off of these often to become more efficient in their dives. Starter blocks are very expensive, costing thousands of dollars, and are usually purchased and cared for by pools and athletic centers.
A swim cap is an elastic cap made of plastic that goes over the head of a swimmer. Swimmers wear caps to keep their hair from getting very wet, but their hair will still get a little damp. Swimmers will also wear swim caps to cover their hair and increase their aerodynamics. These help swimmers go faster and all competitive swimmers wear them during competitions. They are priced between $5 and $20.
Swimming goggles are worn by swimmers to protect their eyes from the water and chlorine in swimming pools. Goggles are worn so swimmers are able to comfortably keep their eyes open underwater. Swimmers want to keep their eyes open underwater to see where they are going and to continue swimming in a straight line. Goggles are priced between $10 and $30. There are many different types of goggles and the ones that fit tight are the best for swimmers so water stays out of the goggles and their eyes.
Paddles, typically made of plastic or a similarly buoyant material, are often paired with pull buoys and go over swimmers' hands. They usually consist of rubber finger loops to help secure the paddle to a swimmer's hand, and they're meant to help maximize the reach of each arm stroke while also increasing resistance. Swim paddles are used to help a swimmer better their stroke and to strengthen the stroke of a swimmer, over time. Swim paddles are great training tools for swimmers.
Snorkels are used to breathe underwater so that the swimmer can focus on other parts of the stroke without an above water breath breaking up their rhythm. They can also be used for breath control purposes, if a cap is put on the breathing tube. Snorkels are also used for swimmers in a lake or ocean. With snorkels, swimmers are able to keep their attention on what is below them, which could be a gorgeous ocean floor.
Tempo trainers, while less common pieces of practice equipment, are useful in establishing stroke rhythm. They fit onto the strap of a swimmer's goggles and beep at a specific interval that the swimmer sets themselves. In longer swims, the trainer might be set to beep every second, where a shorter interval like half a second is necessary for a sprint. These beeps will help keep a swimmer attentive to their strokes and what they should be doing (breathing, kicking, etc.). Tempo trainers are great for training swimmers to become more efficient in their strokes.
A swimming towel is used by swimmers to dry off when they get out of the water and are done swimming. Towels are an essential part of swimming equipment, as they allow swimmers to dry off and move to the next part of their day, after they swim. Towels are priced between $10 dollars and $20. Swimming towels tend to be a little bit thinner than home towels used after a shower. This is so they are able to be packed better and could travel more.
Training aids serve many purposes for swimming. Training aids could be used to teach a person how to swim and to help a person get bused to being in a pool of water. They could also be used to strengthen parts of a swimmer's stroke and make a swimmer faster overall. Swimming training aids could also be used to make a swimmer more comfortable in the water. For example, a swimmer could feel more comfortable wearing goggles, a nose clip, and/or ear plugs when swimming.
A swimming water bottle is like any other water bottle. It is important to be hydrated before, during, and after exercise. And while you may be swimming in water, you don't want to drink that chlorinated water. Bringing a full water bottle with you to drink from is a smart and great decision for people who go swimming. Many simply water bottles can be bought for under $10 dollars. Drink water, stay hydrated!
Womens bathing suits are the suits that women wear both in recreational and competitive swimming. Women can wear a two piece or a one piece bathing suit. Professional swimmers wear a tight one piece bathing suit to increase their aerodynamics. Swimming suits vary in price depending on the type that you get. Most swimming suits are made of the fabric, polyester, and dry if left out for a while.