Swim Team

When my kids joined the swim team, I learned a lot.  We needed a lot of stuff, and it was a learning experience.  Now that we are familiar with how the swim team works, here is our list of essentials!

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Hair ties

Since my girls need to have their hair in a cap, that means hair ties, and usually more than one, since we do a ponytail and then a bun.  Hair ties break and get lost, other girls will ask if we have any – so we can never seem to have enough hair ties!  I keep them in our swim bag, my purse, my pockets, my wrist!

Swim caps

Swim caps are awesome.  Even if your child is hesitant about wearing a cap, I highly recommend it for every practice, not just meets.  The swim cap saves hair from chlorine and getting tangled.  The better caps often keep my daughter’s long hair completely dry, which is fantastic!  Some water usually gets in around the edges, but the cap actually keeps hair from getting tangled and knotted.

I recommend buying several, since caps can get lost or tear, so you at least want a back up one for swim meets (remember how Michael Phelps ripped his cap moments before a race in the Summer ’16 Olympics?).  I could see the difference between my daughter on swim team who always wore her cap, versus her sister who never wore a cap (and her hair was like straw).

You’ll need swim caps for both practice and for competition – so keep in mind that you’ll be buying a swim cap that is custom designed specifically for your team, or at least a team color.  Otherwise, my kids like fun swim caps for practice!


This is something else we can’t seem to have enough of.  We have a couple pair for practices, and then our best few pair set aside for meets.  We do go through goggles as they undergo wear and tear.  Straps break, goggles get lost, the coating on the lenses gets ruined or the straps start to degrade.  Or, other swim team kids forget theirs and borrow ours in a panic and then don’t return them.  I keep our swim meet pair in a special place, but otherwise we do go through quite a few.  Always have more than one pair with you!  A lot of kids also opt for a bungee cord in lieu of goggle straps, since they can be more reliable.

Swim suits

This is pretty obvious.  But have a good swim suit for practices and then a swim suit for meets.  Your team will probably have you buy a certain color or a specific suit for meets, so that the team wears matching suits.  I try not to wear out the swim meet suit too much, so we have a couple practice suits.  These should fit well – something your child is not going to fuss with.  We buy competition-style suits for practices, and those hold up well as far as quality but also because they don’t need constant adjusting and are more or less fidget-free.

We are a fan of Dolfin Uglies, which is the #1 practice suit, and comes in really fun designs.  We also like Sporti.


Another obvious item – but again, have a lot.  For one, you aren’t going to want to wash towels every day, so it is nice to have a bunch available.  Bring a couple to each practice and meet.  You never know how many times your child is going to get out of the water or how many towels they might need.  I like to have a big microfiber towel on hand, which doesn’t take up a lot of space, but is super absorbent.

Swim backpack

While this is not necessary, I at least recommend some sort of large tote or bag for keeping all the swim stuff in one place.  It is great if you can dedicate a bag to all the swim gear so that you know right where it is.  I keep a separate bag for swim meets, which includes the swim meet swimsuit, favorite goggles, towels, and other things.

We have a Speedo Teamster swim backpack, which is very popular.  It comes in a variety of different sizes and colors, so check out all the different options.  It is nice because it has plenty of pockets, including a mesh pocket and compartments for wet items.

Some other things you may end up needing to get may include:

~ flip flops (or other shoes for the pool deck or shower)

~ swimmer’s shampoo (if your child’s hair has too much exposure to chlorine)

Also check out my list of what to bring to swim meets here.

Happy swimming!