Swimming caps were not designed to keep your hair dry nor cover your ear from getting wet. But these benefits we are getting from recent swim cap manufacturers.
I thought keeping the hair dry was the main reason to wear a swimming cap. But my first swim cap didn’t keep my hair dry. Also, I didn’t cover my ear with that swim cap (Speedo swim cap). But my new swim cap keeps its promise. My hair is completely dry after my one-hour swim and prevents my ear from getting wet.
Swimming cap has other benefits too. I will discuss the benefits here and the types of swimming caps available on the market. I hope it will help you decide which swim cap you should use or whether you even need a swim cap.
Why I Wear Swimming Cap
There are 9 top benefits that I get by wearing a swimming cap during my swim. Not all of them are important, but some are essential. The benefits depend on many factors, like where you swim, when you swim, or the reason for your swim. Here are my thoughts on why I wear a swimming cap:
1. Keep Your Hair Safe
I wear a swim cap to protect my hair from chlorine. Most swimming pools add chlorine to their water, forming a weak acid to kill germs. It helps to keep the water clean and safe for swimming. But excess use of chlorine or regular use of chlorine water can make your hair dry and weak. This can lead to hair breakage and hair fall. So, to keep your hair safe from chlorine, you should wear a swim cap.
2. Keep Your Hair Dry
Another good reason to wear a swimming cap is to keep your hair dry. However, not all the swimming caps can keep your hair dry. You have to make sure the cap is fitted to your head size, it covers your ears completely and does not leak during the swim.
Previously there was only one size of swimming cap available, but now I have seen many sizes. Unfortunately, my first swimming can didn’t cover my ears, causing water to leak into my hair. But my new TYR silicone swim cap comes with a contour cut around the edge preventing water from leaking into the hair.
3. Cover Your Ear
When I started my swimming lesson, I saw many people wearing swimming caps while leaving their ear open. So I thought that’s how it’s done. But it was wrong. Swimming caps are meant to cover your ear too. It will prevent your ear from getting wet.
Water trapped into my ears several times before I used to cover my ear with the swim cap. But now, as I cover my ear, I don’t face any water trapped issue.
4. Keeps Hair Out of the Face
I discovered this problem one day as I forgot to bring my swimming cap to the pool. As a result, my hair was getting in my face while swimming. It’s like pocking into my eyes. That’s so irritating.
Though my hair was not too long, I could feel the pain of how long-haired people feel without a swim cap. So if you have long hair like Jason Momoa, you must wear a swim cap before jumping into the water.
But people with short hair will not face this issue.
5. Helps to Swim Faster
The same day when I left my swim cap home, I discovered my hair getting into my face, keeping me slow during my laps. I had to stop in the middle to remove my hair or slow down to get rid of the hair by slowly moving my head.
So definitely, a swimming cap helps you to swim faster. Another scientific explanation is there swimming cap helps to eliminate drag in the water, increasing hydrodynamics to speed up your swimming.
Read more: how to swim faster?
6. Gives You Confidence
Do you remember the screen of the Iron Man suit-up scene of Mark III? Robert Downey Jr. looked super confident, right? I know wearing a swimming cap won’t give you that much confidence but as Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Imagine you are at the edge of the pool, wearing your swimsuit. After your warm-up exercise, you slowly put on your swim cap and goggles. Make some adjustments to your goggles and dive into the water with confidence. Imagine you are in the Olympics, and everyone is watching you. That’s how you should feel every time dive in. I may not have the Iron Man suit, but I have my swimsuit. And I feel confident when I wear it.
7. Keeps Your Head Warm
Swimming pool water temperature should be 78 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, according to WHO (world health organization). But I think my swimming pool water temperature is less than that. So, swimming in the cold water for 45 to 60 minutes is not easy though it boosts your immune system.
If you don’t put on a swim cap, your head is contacting with cold water continuously. But wearing a swim cap can prevent the cold water and keep your head warmer. So the heat transfer from your head to your body keeping your body warmer in the cold swimming pool water.
8. Makes Swimmer Visible in the Water
My swim partner (colleague too) wears a neon orange color swim cap. No other people in my swim club have this color. So it helps me to identify my colleague in the pool.
I know it’s not a big deal, a swim cap is not meant to give you identification, but I thought it benefited me. Maybe parents will get more benefit from this. They can track their children while swimming.
9. Keeps the Pool Clean
Last but not least, a swimming cap helps the pool owner. Imagine you are swimming, and you see some hair floating on the water. It is normal to lose your hair but losing it in the pool will make others uncomfortable.
Also, long hair can clogged in the water filter system. So it is advised to put on a swim cap to keep stray hairs in the pool.
Does a Swim Cap Keep Hair Dry?
Understand the main reason why the swimming cap was introduced. Swimming cap was created to help competitive swimmers reduce drag in the water so they can swim faster. But for those who are not participating in competition also need to wear swimming caps, the 9 reasons discussed above. Keeping your hair dry is one of the reasons I mentioned.
Not all swim caps can keep your hair dry. Previously I used Speedo swim cap, which can keep my hair dry up to 80%. This is because the water was seeping in from the back and ear side. But my new TYR silicone swim cap prevents water from seeping in. As a result, it keeps my hair 100% dry.
So if you want to keep your hair dry too, the swim cap best fits your head size. Also, I have seen many wearing two swim caps together, which makes an adequate seal to prevent water leaks.
Should Swimming Cap Cover Ears?
Water does enter your ear while swimming, so it is important to cover your ear. Unfortunately, not all swimming cap covers your ear. That is why some swim caps come with earbuds. But if you buy the perfect swim cap from a reputed brand, it should cover up your ear and protect you from getting wet while swimming.
Nowadays, some swim caps are available specially made to protect your ear from getting wet. For example, Lahtak makes seamless 3D ear protection swimming caps that protect your ears from getting wet and keep your hair 99.9% dry.
Do I Need a Swimming Cap?
To answer this question, you need to ask yourself two more questions. The reason for your swim and where you are going to swim?
For example, if you swim in the swimming pool, you must wear a swim cap as it will protect your hair from chlorinated water. In addition, some swim clubs strongly suggest using a swim cap as it also helps keep the water filter system clean. But if you swim in a lake or river, you may not need to wear a swim cap.
Again, as a swim cap helps you to swim faster, wearing a swim cap is crucial in a swimming competition. But if swimming is your hobby and you swim for regular exercise, then you may not keep track of your swimming speed; hence swimming cap is not essential.
Types of Swimming Cap
Depending on the material, there are three types of swimming caps available.
- Silicone Swim Cap
- Latex Swim Cap
- Lycra Swim Cap
- Neoprene Swim Cap
Silicon Swim Cap
As the name suggests, this cap is made from silicon. Silicon caps are great for competitive swimmers and are the most common type of swimming cap on the market. Its popularity is mainly due to its durability and solidity, which don’t sag over time. However, they are flexible enough to put on and wear off after swimming.
You may feel its heavy weight of it, and its thickness of it is pretty noticeable. But if you need a lightweight, thin swim cap, Latex is for you.
Latex Swim Cap
If you don’t know what Latex is, the answer is simple. Latex is rubber. Then why don’t we just say it Latex swim cap? I don’t know, either. Maybe there are some other materials mixed with the rubber.
Latex swim cap was introduced in the 1920’s. Unlike silicon caps, Latex is lightweight and thinner. Also, it is cheaper than silicon caps. But the limitation of Latex is you can’t have many colors on it. It comes in uniform color and is less durable than silicon caps.
Lycra Swim Cap
Lycra is a kind of synthetic elastic fiber. Lycra is the lightest weight swim cap than latex or silicone counterparts. But the problem is Lycra is not waterproof. So, chlorinated water may damage your hair in the long run if you continue using a Lycra swim cap. So why do people use a Lycra swim cap?
I don’t know. Maybe they are more comfortable. Unfortunately, I haven’t used any Lycra swim cap, so I can’t tell.
Silicon vs. latex swim cap
Here is a brief comparison between Silicon and Latex swim cap:
Swimming Cap Sizes and Shapes
You must buy the correct size if you want the most benefit from your swim cap. Though initially, swimming caps had a uniform size and shape. But with time and customer demand, the manufacturer produces different sizes and shapes of the swimming cap.
Now the caps come in sizes. Small, Medium, and Large. A small cap has a diameter of 19.5 inches, whereas a medium size has a 20.5 inches diameter. Most adults use the medium size cap, and the small one is for children. For people with large heads, the large size of swimming cap is introduced. It is also suitable for people with long hair as they need more space in the cap. The large one comes with a 21.5-inch diameter.
Swim Cap Care
Many people think swimming gear must be changed often as it is used in chlorinated water. The swim cap is the most stretched and pulled gear you use in swimming. And they are used for some specific reason. So it would be best if you took care of the cap properly.
To be honest, I don’t do much about it. After my swim, I simply fold it wet and keep it in the pouch (which comes with the cap). After reaching home, I keep it in the open air and let it dry. I make sure it completely dries in and out. Also, the pouch needs to be dry completely. Once both are dry, I fold it again and put in the pouch again. That’s it.
Here are some other things you can do to store your cap safely:
- Put some baby powder or talcum powder
- Keep a small town or tissue inside
- Don’t try to heat up to dry the cap
- Keep sharp things away from the cap
How to put on a swim cap?
To get the most benefit from a swimming cap, it is necessary to know how to put it on. Coach Robb Beams demonstrates it simply in his video. Have a look.
For those who have long hair, here is a video on how to put on a swim cap with long hair:
Most people wear a swim cap just to maintain the rule of the pool. But if you want to be a good swimmer and participate in a competition, you must know the swimming cap’s basics and how to benefit from it. But I think whether you participate in any competition or not, you must wear a swim cap. The benefits are discussed above.
I hope this article gives you the reason to wear a swim cap. Please share this with the people who don’t wear a swim cap during their swim. You must keep the water clean and hygienic. Happy swimming.