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Buying Equipment

Here’s the scenario: You’ve just rushed home – grabbed your check book and child – and then proceed to a location where you incur a substantial registration fee, a stack of perplexing forms, fund-raisers and parent’s guidebooks, and other materials intended to “help.”

Kudos! Your child is now a member of your local swim team. The proceeding observations are intended for youth swim team novices, both children and parents alike.  In this installment we’ll delve into the essential equipment needed to compete.

The basic items needed are a racing suit and competition goggles. Competition suits are designed to provide a snug fit, so that the swimmer can be as efficiently stream-lined as possible. Buying a suit to grow in to is not recommended, as it will only slow the swimmer down. For boys, the suit should be a brief or the new variety of spandex “jammers.” For girls, the suit should have a high neck line and a closed back. It’s recommended that an extra suit be purchased. As a parent, I’m sure you can think many reasons why – but I’ll still provide you with a couple: He or she left their suit at practice or has been composting it in their swim bag for a week. Enough said.

Goggles protect the eyes from chlorine and allow your child to see under water. There are many styles. The goggles that tend to last the longest are of the rubber-gasket variety. They will have soft gaskets that conform to the eye sockets. If your child has problems with the rubber variety, try foam gaskets. “Swedish” style goggles (a hard plastic goggle that sits inside the eye sockets) are not recommended for beginners. Also, consider a goggle with anti-fog coating. Fogging can be a problematic for a swimmer. The coating will deteriorate over time, but your child will have lost their goggles way before that time occurs. For goggles without the coating, try dipping them in water or applying a little saliva before putting them on.

Other helpful equipment can include a swim cap, swim bag and chlorine shampoo. A lycra cap provides the most comfort and protection for your buck. A silicon cap gives more protection and is easier to put on, but is considerably more expensive. Swim bags are useful because they contain compartments that are meant to separate wet and dry items. Finally, chlorine shampoo is nice weapon to have in your arsenal as a swim team parent. When your child’s hair begins to resemble that of Tina Turner, or when they permanently smell like a walking toxin, the shampoo will become a welcomed friend.

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