October 06, 2008

Ask Swim Mom

This week on "Ask The SwimMom," we are going to discuss swim wear and swim gear.  Once you have joined the swim team or started a regular routine of swimming one of the first things you are going to have to do is invest in swim wear that is chlorine friendly. When I say chlorine friendly I mean able to with stand the material eating, goggle deteriorating, bacteria killing chemical added to all public pools to keep them safe.  While chlorine is our friend, in that it keeps us safe, keeping harmful bacterias from hurting us, it is not a friend to swim gear. I have personally seen a swim suit fall apart in less then a week of regular use in a public pool.

Now is the time to resign yourself to the fact that the days of $12.99 suits are over.  Now is the time to resign yourself to the fact that in order to keep a suit you are going to have to hand over some cash.  I know it hurts believe me I resisted spending $65.00 on a swimsuit for my seven year old.  That year I probably bought 8 $12.99 suits.  I am refusing to do the math but I do believe that is more then if I just would have bought the $65.00 suit. 

(cute suits, bad for everyday swimming)
After you resign yourself to spending the money the first thing you are going to do is stop looking at the suit and start looking at the tag.  If the suit says 100% polyester or 50% polyester and 50% PBT then take a look at the suit. If it says Lycra or Nylon anywhere on the tag keeping looking.  Polyester suits last the longest in chlorine water and hold their shape longer.  With Lycra or Nylon you may find yourself climbing out of the pool one day with your backside showing.  I know this because it happened to a friend who to this day can't believe she had to walk across deck trying to hold her suit together long enough to make it to her towel. (I'm not laughing right now, nope not me)

The second thing you are going to have to do is make sure you take care of the suit. "Well duh!!" Most of you are saying right now.  But believe me more than one rookie has lost a suit because they took care of it the wrong way. I know this because another "friend" lost a suit this way. Ok, yah it was me but the rear hanging out wasn't I swear. Number One, after getting out the pool rinse your suit in cold water. Number two, hang the suit to dry.  Easy right? Here is what you should Never Ever do, let me say this one more time NEVER EVER, wash and dry your suit.  Your dryer is your swimsuits worse enemy.  The combination of polyester, chlorine & heat will break down the fibers in your suit faster then you can order and ship a new suit. The truth is your suit will last the longest if you simply rinse and hang and never wash it.  Think about it you are swimming in a bacteria killing agent there really isn't a reason you have to wash your suit. Unless you left it bunched in the bottom of your bag and it really stinks but believe me after you spend $65.00 on a ugly suit you will do your best to take care of it.

Where do you find these suits?  I have had a hard time with big sports box stores finding the right suits.  They tend to carry the cute Nylon, Lycra suits so I have generally used the web.  My favorite spot to pick up a new suit is Speedo.com.  They always have suits on clearance and I just buy the cheapest 100% polyester suit I can.  We are buying for functionality people not looks. I would like to add that recently friends of ours from swim team have just expanded their running business to include tri-athletes.  Which means they are carrying the suits we need.  If you live locally you should check out Striders new store.

(For some reason Sam has always preferred pink goggles)

As for the other equipment you will be using goggles, swim caps, and flippers a good rinse and being left out to dry will aid in extending the life of all your equipment.  A good routine of after swimming care of your equipment will save you hundreds of dollars every year.

I know all of this is just way to interesting but the thing is these are some of the lessons I have learned over the past five years.  I wont tell you how upsetting it was to ruin a suit because I washed and dried it.  There are million little things I have learned along the way that I wished I had known the right person to ask.  Or hey, I wish I had known to ask.  Who would have thought washing a swimsuit was a bad thing. So hopefully a few people will trip on to this blog and have a question or two answered.  

Next week on "Ask  theSwimMom," I will be answering Willows questions.  I have to admit 
that if she keeps asking questions like those below this might actually be an interesting post. Love ya Willow you make me laugh.

Okay SwimMom, why is it that beach volleyball players play in the smallest bikinis this side of Europe, yet the swimmers swim in full neck to ankle wear? Are those hideous suits really necessary?

Also, how is it that Speedo thinks that all swimmers are horrible flat chested? Can a girl get a Speedo suit with some... support?

Finally, How did Speedo become the brand of competition?

Be warned, I may have new questions next week.

Q.  Okay, I can accept streamline. Still, those womens' suits look sufficiently uncomfortable to keep me from swimming competitively. Notice I say that like I would totally take up swimming tomorrow were it not for unattractive, unsupportaive  suits.... HAHAHAHAHA... I am so not anywhere near athletic!!!

Next question, why in a 4x4 relay will the swimmers wear the ankle to neck monstrosity, yet in a single event Mr. Phleps wore just some scandalously tight trunks?

Also, was anyone else concerned that the camera might catch a shot of Phelps's Finkle as he was jumping and cheering on deck whilst his suit (the full body one) was half pulled down? I swear, I was really nervous that the swimwear would slip and we would see "the full Monty."

Obviously will be discussing competitive swim gear.


ashleeeee said...

Poco Loco!

Willow said...

A most important question:

Should one of your swimmers qualify to go to London in 2012, do you need an interpreter? I am fluent in both American and British English. Also, I have some experience using the busses and tubes (with minimal time spent being lost). Further, I can provide a list of popular, cultural, and historical attractions to enjoy when not practicing or competing. I can pack light and be ready in about 30 minutes. =)

No pressure or anything... just offering my services. ;)

Krissi said...

Not a fan of poco loco...bad service...bad selection...expensive. Rather do business on line.

Scott and Stacy said...

Ok ok you got me. After thinking about it all day I'm going to go for it. What can it hurt? I'll be in better shape and health if I do this right? So count me in. Scott keeps reminding me that that will be my second week of vacation for next year since we're taking a week off in Feb. A few days before the trek I'll have to come up and we'll go riding somewhere to help me adjust to the altitude change. Where is this going to take place? Oh what am I doing?