The Benefits of a Swimming Cap

Found in the kit bag of almost every swimmer, swimming caps are essential in competitive swimming. While they aren't required for recreational swimming and training, they can help you to be more at ease in the water and increase your confidence. They also have a number of other benefits including;
    • Swimming caps protect your hair from pool chemicals, and though no swimming cap will keep you completely dry they can still limit the exposure that your hair has to chlorine, minimising the damaging effect of the chemicals.
    • Swimming caps can work together with your goggles, preventing your hair from being pulled by the goggle straps. The swim cap also helps to hold the goggle straps in place. Be sure to find a cap that fits comfortably while wearing your goggles.
    • They reduce drag, increasing your swimming speed. Especially for swimmers with long hair, drag can be a major problem. As well as causing drag, long hair can get in the way while swimming and make it difficult to breathe in the water. Swimming caps solve this problem by holding the hair away from the face entirely.

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Swim Cap Materials

Made from a variety of materials, swim caps are commonly made from silicone, latex and spandex. Other materials used are rubber, neoprene and polyurethane. Depending on the material, swim caps can have different properties, a few of which are explained below...

 

Silicone Caps – One of the most common materials in swim caps, silicone is extremely durable. It's popular among professional swimmers as it's long-lasting and is less prone to pulling hair when removed.

Latex Caps  – A thinner material than silicone, latex is less durable and has to be taken care of properly to last. Latex caps are however lighter and more breathable, making them more suitable for warm climates where overheating may be a factor. Latex caps are also cheaper than other types of swim caps.

Rubber Caps – Made from the same material as latex caps, rubber caps are thicker and less stretchy than the latex variety. They are similar to latex caps in that they are inexpensive and lightweight, but should be avoided for those with a latex allergy. As the cap is thicker it retains more heat and is more suited for swimming in cold conditions.

Spandex Caps – The synthetic fibre also known as elastane. Spandex caps are very durable when cared for correctly. As they are made of fibre, spandex caps are soft and don't tend to pull hair when removed. Spandex is permeable and so allows water through the material, which isn't ideal but they are better than wearing no cap at all. Spandex caps are primarily used for practice and sun protection while swimming.

Neoprene Caps – A synthetic rubber, neoprene caps are insulating and thus are perfect for those swimming in cold pools or natural bodies of water such as lakes and the ocean. Neoprene caps don't reduce drag and are only really suited for open-water swimmers.  

 

 

Do you wear a swimming cap? Or is it something you would try now after reading this post?


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