How to Care for your Swim Suit & Save Money

Swimming, as I’m sure you are learning, is an expensive sport.  So for a lot of us it is important to figure out how to save money.  One way to do that is to learn about proper swim suit care. Believe it or not, having separate competition and practice suits and learning to properly take care of them will save you money in the long run,  and it will make your swimmers faster.
Before I begin, I have a confession…during my kids’ first year of more serious competitive swimming I was the stupid swim mom. To make matters worse, nobody was kind enough to inform me of my idiocy until we joined a different team a year later.  If today’s Becky could talk to past Becky I’d ask her what the heck is that thing you’re allowing your child to swim in?  You see, our team didn’t have a team suit, so since my son had a suit still from summer rec that fit, I figured he was all set.  He wore it to every practice, and every meet.
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Don’t worry though, I diligently washed and dried it for him often.  By the end of the season his jammers were threadbare and hanging so far below his knees that they were bordering on looking like old lady capris.  Honestly, looking back it was so bad that somebody should have put me in swim-mom-jail, or at least pointed me toward the nearest swim shop.  Since then, I’ve thankfully learned some important swim suit care rules…
  • Do not wear your competition suit to practice.  Competition suits only have so many good wearings in them.  The more you wear them the more they stretch out…the more they stretch the more drag they create in the water…the more drag you have the slower you swim.  Invest in some practice suits and save that team suit for meets.  It is a long season, if they practice it their team suits they will need new ones before the end of the season. Investing in practice suits will be cheaper and better for your swimmer. If you are looking for a good choice Speedo’s Endurance line of suits are made to endure multiple wearings at practices and hold up very well.
  • Step away from the wash machine! 
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    After practice or a meet rinse your suit out (chlorine will eat away at the suit over time, especially if you don’t rinse it out) and let it air dry.  You can also use a few drops of mild laundry detergent  in a sink full of water and and gently hand wash the suit to help get the chlorine out. Or if you want to really get the suit clean but still extend it’s life you can also get special swim suit cleaners made specifically for this purpose.  Do not twist the suit, just glide it around the sink a few times. It is worth the extra effort, wash machines will absolutely ruin your suits.
  •  Do not dry it in the drier or the sun.  Both heat, and the turning of a dryer will weaken the fibers of the suit and it will lose its shape faster.  Heat from the sun is also bad for both fiber strength and fading.   Instead gently squeeze the water out (no twisting) and lay it on a clean towel to dry.
  •  Do not wrap it in a towel for long periods or leave it in the bottom of a swim bag over night.  This will make it lose its shape…plus it will create that wet dog smell most swim parents know all too well.
  •  If possible let the suit dry for 24 hours before wearing it again, this allows the fibers to get back to their original shape as closely as possible.

None of us are perfect and of course there will be times that it’s just not possible to give great care to your suits…

There will be those occasions where your swimmer leaves their swim bags in the car overnight in the dead of winter, and when they are getting ready for 5 am practice they discover the only Speedo they can find is frozen solid.  On those occasions…yeah the drier maybe needed.

Worse yet, when the dog days of summer are upon you and you notice that distinctive smell in you car, only to find your swimmer’s swim bag stuffed full of moist towels and forgotten suits….you will have a Will Smith moment as you drag their stinky bag from your car. In this case some more heavy duty washing maybe warranted.

Still even with the best care suits will eventually wear out. So when you find one of your swimmer’s practice suits is starting to look like that horrific thing my poor son wore years ago, fear not, it still has some usefulness left in it!  Save it for the end of the season…when the kids are getting ready for championships they’ll start wearing double suits, drag suits, and things like that to practice.  Those old beat up suits are great to put on over your newer practice suit to increase drag and give the kids an even better workout. Old competition suits have use left in them too, once they are out of season (because your team changed suit styles) and/or they become too worn out to compete in, then they become great practice suits.
Technical Suits:
These suits are a whole different ballgame.  LZRs, Fast Skins, etc.. we will talk about these expensive little wonders of the swim world in a future post.



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One Response

  1. How to Choose a Swim Team
    How to Choose a Swim Team September 26, 2014 at 1:11 pm |

    […] Equipment, uniform, and suit costs – You’ll have to pay for most of this, and remember swim suits don’t last forever, especially when you are swimming several times a week. Check out my entry on how to save money by properly caring for your suits! […]

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