Dressing for Swimming Lessons

Parents often wonder about the best way to dress their children for sporting activities.  What is the correct outfit for running, gymnastics, soccer and swimming?  What do all of the other children wear?

There are many different options for swimwear/accessories for swimming lessons.  Here are our suggestions for swimming attire for lessons.


Young swimmers who aren’t toilet trained should wear a swim nappy.

Swimmer nappies make life easier for parents attending lessons.  They work just like a regular nappy and are designed to be submerged under water.   Regular nappies will fill with water and swell up.  They also become heavy and will weigh a child down during lessons.   Swim nappies are designed to contain urine and fecal matter until nappy is changed and will help the swim school with water filtration and cleanliness of the swimming area.

Single use nappies can be purchased in the supermarket and thrown in the bin after each use.  There are also some types of swimmer nappy that are reusable with a plastic lining and cloth outside.  These reusable nappies can be emptied, washed out and reused each swimming lesson.


Caps and Goggles

We recommend that caps are worn once hair is long enough to affect performance by getting in the eyes, ears, nose when participating in lessons.  Caps can be made of materials such as latex/rubber to silicone to lycra.

Rubber/waterproof type swim caps are mostly worn by older swimmers and slide on over the child’s head.  They usually come in a standard size and stretch to fit quite tight over the swimmers head.  Hair is then tucked up inside the cap so it doesn’t drag down behind the swimmer in the lesson.    They can pull longer hair as they are placed on the head if wearer is not well practised in putting them on.  These caps are great for keeping hair or ears dry (when teamed with earplugs) and come in many different brands and colours.

Lycra/material swim caps are often easier to slide onto smaller heads as they tend to slide on more easily and not pull hair.  These caps do not keep hair dry and are used to keep hair out of the eyes when swimming.  They are quite easy to put on and don’t pull the hair as they go.  As these caps are used more they tend to stretch and lose their elasticity a little so should be washed and hung out after the lesson to keep them in good condition.

Goggles should be worn only when a swimmer is confident submerging under water and can open their eyes under water and return to safety.  Goggles can often give swimmers a false sense of security for viewing underwater.  It’s important to remember that when children fall in the pool they may not be wearing their goggles so they should continuously practise a little bit of swimming without goggles in their lesson/play time.

There are many different types of goggles available for swimmers.  WWSS recommends that parents spend money on a pair of goggles that are all one moulded piece and don’t have any small parts around the nose or side that can snap and break or the parent/instructor will have to spend time fiddling around with.  The side pieces should be easily loosened/tightened and should be able to be used and adjusted by the swimmer.

Caps and goggles that are sold at your swim school are usually good quality and can usually be adjusted by swim school staff to fit your child properly.


Swimwear – be practical!

Swimwear should be comfortable for the swimmer but try not to dress swimmers in too much clothing.  Board shorts are better suited for beach attire than swimming lessons as lots of material tends to get in the way and weigh swimmers down.  1 or 2 piece swimwear works well too.  Underpants shaped or bike pant length swimmers work well for older swimmers.  Be sun smart if participating in lessons in an outdoor pool but remember that the more material surrounding the swimmer the harder it is for their propulsive skills.  Tighter swimwear works better for movement through the water.
To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!


Laurie Lawrence


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