Swimming Equipment List
Swimming is popular as both a recreational and competitive activity. As 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 practice 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 include a variety of items frequently used by swimmers to enhance their overall experience or aid in certain activities. Swimming accessories can be used in the pool to make swimming more pleasurable or easy, in the case of fins and goggles, or provide benefits to swimmers that don’t involve being in the pool, such as mesh bags, water bottles, and towels. The most commonly used swimming accessories consist of:
- Mesh Bags
- Swim Caps
- Swim Goggles
- Swim Snorkels
- Water Bottles
Swimming fins are fins that swimmers wear on their feet. They are most commonly used by 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.
Swimming headphones are waterproof headphones that stay in a swimmer's ears while they are swimming. They are not able to be worn at the same time as swimming earplugs. Swimming headphones are usually bluetooth, which allows the phone playing music to sit 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 from headphones or earbud companies like Beats or AfterShokz for around $150.
A swimming mesh bag is a storage 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. This bag keeps your equipment together in one place.
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 that 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 the water stays out of the goggles and their eyes.
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. Depending on the style, features, and quality, snorkels can cost anywhere between $15 and $100.
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 and $20. Swimming towels tend to be a little bit thinner than home towels used after a shower. This is so that they are able to be packed better and transported more frequently.
A swimming water bottle is like any other water bottle, used for hydration before, during, and after exercise. While you may be swimming in water, you don’t want to drink chlorinated pool water or untreated water in a lake or the ocean. Bringing a full water bottle with you to drink from is a smart decision for people who go swimming. Many simple water bottles can be bought for under $10.
Multiple different options of clothing are available for swimmers of all shapes and sizes. Swimming clothing should be comfortable and not hinder your skills in the water. While individuals have the freedom to decide what kind of swimming clothing they prefer, some form of it must be worn by every swimmer at the pool. Options for swimming clothing include:
- Men’s Bathing Suits
- Swimming Shirts
- Women’s Bathing Suits
Men's Bathing Suits
Men’s bathing suits are what men wear when they go swimming. They tend to be like 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. These are the bathing suits competitive swimmers wear. 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 shirt is an addition to a swimsuit that can add extra protection and comfort. Swimming shirts can 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.
Women's Bathing Suits
Women’s 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 polyester fabric and dry if left out for a while. Women’s bathing suits cost between $30 and $100.
Swimming Competition Equipment
Swimming competition equipment can be found at nearly every organized swim meet and, in most cases, is required. This type of equipment helps support the facilitators and competitors of each contest, ensuring fairness and safety. Swimming competition equipment includes:
- Lap Counters
- Starter Blocks
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 to 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. These typically cost around $35-40 from online retailers.
A swimming pool is where many swimmers will swim. People will swim in a swimming pool to practice swimming, to exercise, or to play. There are different-sized swimming pools. The most common is an Olympic-sized swimming pool, which is about 50 m in length, meaning that one lap is 100 m. The width is about 25 m, and the depth of the pool is about 2 m. An Olympic pool has about 660,000 gal of water in it.
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.
Swimming Safety Equipment
Swimming safety equipment is any sort of equipment used to protect swimmers, either from drowning or from the effects of extensive time spent in the water. Their utility varies greatly depending on the piece of safety equipment being discussed; however, they all play a role in keeping different swimmers safe. The main types of swimming safety equipment are:
- Arm Floaties
- Ear Plugs
- Life Jackets
- Nose Clips
Arm floaties are flotation devices that go around your arms. They are usually worn by kids 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 that they are able to hold their weight up and keep the kids' heads above water while they learn how to swim. They are priced between $5 and $15.
Swimming ear plugs are plugs that go in a swimmer’s ear while they are swimming. They are very small and made of flexible plastic. Unlike normal ear plugs, which typically only fill the inner ear to block out noise, swimming ear plugs usually have a molded piece attached to the plug, which covers the entirety of the ear opening, making it harder for water to enter the inner ear. Swimming ear plugs 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.
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 heads above the water and to keep people floating. Life jackets are usually worn in open water, where 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 $150.
A swimming nose clip 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.
Swimming rings are a basic flotation device that are tossed in the water at a drowning or struggling swimmer to help them stay above the water. These rings are able to support a bunch of weight and are able to help keep people floating with their heads above the water if they lean on them. Each pool has to have access to these, and the lifeguards must know where they are in case they must be used. A lifeguard-approved ring buoy costs between $70 and $100.
Swimming Training Equipment
Training equipment could be used to teach a person how to swim or to help a person get used 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. Additionally, training equipment could be used to make a swimmer more comfortable in the water. Common swimming trainers include:
- Pace Clocks
- Pool Toys
- Pull Buoys
- Resistance Gloves
- Resistance Pulley
- Swim Paddles
- Tempo Trainers
- Training Aids
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 a 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. You can get a swimming kickboard for $20 or less.
A swimming noodle is another floating device that helps 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 from a pool supply store.
Pace 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, such as on a waterproof wristwatch of a swimmer. They are very helpful in training for swimmers, as they help swimmers make sure they are going at the pace they want to be going. They can cost anyone from around $100 to several hundred dollars, depending on size.
Many swimming pool toys are used for fun in the pool, but they can also be used for underwater training and diving exercises. 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 to the bottom of a pool. Pool toys are usually made of flexible plastic and are brighter colors so that swimmers can stay safe and see these toys even from a far distance. Toys such as pool rings are usually priced between $5 and $10.
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 typically 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 just about anyone, and these gloves are priced at $15. Resistance gloves are used by swimmers during training, so they will be stronger and faster when they eventually 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. A swimming resistance pulley costs between $50 and $75.
Swimming 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. A pair of swimming paddles costs around $10.
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, whereas shorter intervals, such as half a second, are necessary for sprints. 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 tempo trainer costs around $50 or $60.
What is the most important swimming equipment for beginners?
The most important swimming equipment for a new swimmer depends on the person in question’s age. However, a swimsuit, goggles, a towel, and a water bottle are all pieces of equipment anyone trying to learn to swim should consider bringing to their local pool or swimming spot. For children, flotation devices like arm floaties, noodles, or kickboards are great options to alleviate the need to focus on floating. For adults, a kickboard or life vest will serve the same purpose. Taking the matter of flotation out of the equation while learning to swim can help new swimmers learn the technique behind moving their arms and legs while swimming. Once a new swimmer is comfortable with those skills, they can then focus on keeping themselves above water.
What swimming equipment is utilized in Olympic swimming?
Olympic swimming features some of the most basic swimming equipment, such as bathing suits and towels, while also incorporating various gear you aren’t likely to see a recreational swimmer using at your local YMCA. Some such equipment includes starter blocks, ear plugs, lap counters, and, of course, an Olympic-sized pool. Outside of these staples of Olympic swimming, various Olympic swimmers may also use accessories or training equipment at their own preference.
What skills can you improve with swimming training equipment?
Swimming training equipment can aid in developing a variety of different skills needed to be a strong swimmer. Flotation equipment like kickboards and noodles allow swimmers to focus on kicking their legs in a way that is both comfortable and effective in the water. Meanwhile, resistance training equipment like pulleys, gloves, and swim paddles help swimmers build strength and endurance in the water. After using these pieces of equipment, swimming without any resistance will feel far easier. Tempo trainers and pace clocks help swimmers develop a set pace and keep track of how quickly they are moving in the water. These pieces of equipment can be used to measure the results of longstanding training while also identifying what areas of a competitive swimmer’s ability need further development.