Friday, June 8, 2012

Pack Your Bags! For the Pool & Swim Meet

In my last swim team post, I talked about practice and swim meets.  Now let’s look in our swimmer’s bag. You know he needs a bathing suit and some goggles.  What else?  (And again, thanks to Coach Jenn from RMSC and Tilden Woods, for her helpful tips.)
Ready for the pool!

What kind of bag?
Your child’s bag should be easy to get into, large enough for all of their stuff, and water-proof.  Backpacks made by water sports companies like Speedo are a popular choice, however, these may seem expensive for a summer-only swimmer.  A regular sports duffel/gym bag works well, too.  Put some kind of luggage-tag or identifier on the bag; you can imagine how many blue backpacks are lying around on the pool deck.

In the bag
Be sure to check his bag before each meet.  Yes, because the goggles were there after the last meet, you would think they would still be in there.  But do you really trust that he put them back after playing at the pool with his friends or that she remembered to tell you that her swim cap tore?

  • Flip-flops/Crocs/sandals – water-proof shoes
  • Towel
  • Goggles (2 pairs), favorite pair plus an extra pair in case 1st gets lost or broken
  • Swim cap (2 – for same reason as 2 goggles) – team cap, if you have one.
  • Team bathing suit – Yes, they are a bit more expensive than the one you bought at Sports Authority or Target, but for the meet, Coach Jenn says that its “always nice to look like a unified team by all having the same suit & swim caps.”
  • Team t-shirt
  • Water-proof sunscreen and lip protection (yes, even for the brown-skinned swimmers - they will burn, too, just ask my kids)
  • Hydration – water, Gatorade, coconut water
  • Healthy snacks – peanut butter, nuts, cheese sticks, carbs, fresh fruit, pretzels or chips (but watch the salt – swimmers don’t really sweat too much)
  • Entertainment – book/magazine, cards.  I wouldn’t advise electronic equipment or anything expensive, not only because of the obvious potential for water damage, but the bags are often left unsupervised while the children compete and wander around the pool deck
  • For evening meets – a sweatshirt, tight-woven cap or towel for wet hair
  • For after the meet, if needed: multi-purpose wash/shampoo, swimmer’s shampoo and conditioner, moisturizer
A note on swim caps.  I’ve had a few discussions with parents on swim caps, and here’s my take.  Should your child wear one – yes.  It keeps long hair out of your kid's face, whether that’s long straight hair or long curly hair, even if it is in ponytail, an Afro, or in braids.  Although they don’t keep hair 100% dry, swim caps generally keep hair to just being damp, so less chlorine exposure and that’s better for your hair (not scientific evidence, this is my own opinion).  And for swim times - the point of swim caps is that their smoothness gives the swimmer a little more glide in the water and keeps them from getting weighed down by the water in their hair. Granted, the design and quality of the cap should be comparable to the skill of your swimmer, hence, why the Michael Phelps swim cap is like $40 and the regular swimmer’s cap is about $10.

Family bag
Parents may also want to carry their own water-resistant bag of supplies, especially if there are other siblings coming to cheer on the swimmer.  Depending on the meet, swimmers will stay with their team and parents will stay in the viewing area of the pool deck or stands, so separate bags is important.  Most of this is stuff you would also take with you for just a fun day at the pool.

  • A couple dollars for the concession stand and the swim program – this is the printed line-up of the events, swimmers, and their seed times
  • Water-proof shoes
  • Folding chair
  • Hat with brim
  • Sunscreen
  • If its looks like its going to rain - rain jacket, hat – swim meets will often go on despite the rain as long as there is no lightning
  • Water
  • Snacks, lunch – don’t have to worry about cramps and jumping in the pool, so pack whatever is desired
  • Entertainment – book/magazine, portable games, small toys for siblings.
  • Camera to capture all those beautiful strokes
  • Plastic, ziptop sandwich bags – I put my phone and camera in them so they don’t get splashed.
  • Bathing suits for the other siblings?  Depends on the pool.  Some have a second pool that they can use; some pools only have one and its restricted just for the swim meet.
My bag
The polka dot bag in the photo is what I'm using as my pool bag.  Its large enough for a family's worth of towels and all the other stuff listed above.  It has long handles so I can carry it on my shoulder and is waterproof.  This is the Utility Tote from 31 Gifts.

You're ready to pack your bags - have a great time at the pool!

This is the first of a series of posts - check back weekly for more fun reasons to "Pack Your Bags" this summer and a chance to win a bag of your own from 31 Gifts!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, great!!:-)