Sun’s out, you’re out, and swimming’s in.
Maybe you’re hitting the pool for a good cause in this year’s edition of Swim For Hope (register here!).
Or perhaps you just want to take a casual dip, splash around with the kids or keep healthy.
But, are you really all packed and ready to dive in? Here’s how you can get to the pool all prepped, easily and in a jiffy by referring to our checklist of 10 things – some essential, some less thought about – that you ought to bring along for your swim.
Plus, some spiffy swim bags to stash them in so you can look good out of the pool as you do in it.
So obvious, you might think this is a no-brainer. Trust us, there are those days when you think your favourite trunks/swimming costume/swim shorts/leggings are auto-stuffed in the bag. That’s until you’re by the water, when you suddenly realise, nope, they’re not.
So, to make things easier on you, always keep one extra piece of swimwear in your swim bag as an ever-ready back-up, even if you are already wearing one under your casual clothes when heading to the pool.
You never know – your just-right-and-tight swimwear might suddenly rip or have a tear while you’re halfway there (yes, it could be one of those days).
Another essential. So essential for drying off, you should bring two. It could be a larger one for your body, and a smaller face towel if you are that particular about cleanliness. Also, in case you drop one onto the changing room or bathroom floor – the 5-second rule doesn’t apply, ever.
Choose micro-fibre travel-sized ones; they are absorbent, quick-dry (so you can throw them back into the bag after leaving them out to dry a while) and not so huge (so it doesn’t take up that much space in your bag).
A must – unless you like the sting of chlorine in your eyes.
It’s especially useful for newbies new to swimming or if you are spending a long time doing your laps, to help you see where you’re going (so as not to bump into other folk) and protect your precious orbs from being irritated by chlorinated water.
4. Swim cap
This one’s for those with longer hair or who really want to swim their best. A swim cap helps to keep your follicles from distracting you (or others) from your lap – yes, hair in your face is not a good look, but it’s even uglier if loose strands get slapped onto other people’s faces.
But, if you feel uncomfortable donning a swim cap, then at least put a pack of hair ties or bands in your bag for tying up your mermaid/merman tresses before you slip into the water.
5. Flip-flops or slippers
If you aren’t wearing them straight to the pool, then pack a pair in your bag. A couple of important reasons why – you might suddenly need to pop into the bathroom mid-swim for a “wee bit”, and you can also put them on instead of your shoes to head out of the swimming venue stat while waiting for your feet and toes to dry.
Make sure they have good traction and are not slippery when wet.
Tanning oil may not be necessary, but sunscreen definitely is, to protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation. Whether it’s spray-on, a cream or a lotion, mineral or chemical, just check that it has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 50, and is sweat- and water-resistant so that it stays on while you’re paddling in the pool.
Tip: Apply liberally at least 20 minutes before you get into the sun, and reapply when needed, especially if you are out facing the rays for long periods of time.
Also, you might want to read the ingredient list or do a patch test on your skin with your chosen sunscreen before using it at the pool, lest you’re allergic to anything in the formula. Ensuring that you do not look lobster-red because of sunbeams is as important as not looking itchy-red because of sunscreen allergies.
Some pools still use coin-operated lockers, so if you do intend to utilise them to store your swim bag and other personal items, do bring the right amount of change. Besides, they are handy to have for paying for some small snack-ish rewards after a swim.
8. Water bottle
Your body may be in the water, but not enough water might be in your body. Swimming is a form of exercise, and thus, hydration is important.
Bring a bottle of water to the poolside. You might not notice how much you could be perspiring while inside the pool, so it’s best to take regular sips to refresh and hydrate yourself, to avoid feeling thirsty and unwell when you are done going the distance.
The chemicals and accidental dregs or waste in the pool water can leave skin and hair, dry and dirty, so it’s advisable to take a shower after freestyling it.
Travel-size shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and facial wash are basic essentials that you can stuff into a handy toiletries pouch. Or, make do with an all-in-one if you don’t want to lug different products around.
And after washing up – especially if you are heading out – dab on some soothing moisturiser, body lotion, or even hair product and some perfume, to look and smell like a winner, and not like a wet dog.
10. Wet bag/plastic bag
Nothing’s worse than having all your necessities in a great-looking bag, only to have it sopping wet because you have to throw all your wet stuff – towels, goggles, swimwear, etc., – into it after you’re done gliding like a butterfly.
Reuse your clean shopping or grocery plastic bags, or better yet, eco-friendly wet bags, to pack all of your wet items separate from the rest of your other belongings in the swim bag, to keep the latter and the bag itself, dry and clean.
11. Swim Bags To Look Swimmingly Good
Done with the checklist of must-haves for pool day? Time to put ’em in the right bag. It’ll make prepping to clock the laps for Swim For Hope 2021 so much easier. Try these ones to keep everything (and yourself) sorted.
Hub Sporty Duffle Bag, $169, Crumpler
Trust Crumpler to have the right-sized bag to suit your active lifestyle. This duffle in Eucalyptus from the Australian brand has some of the best-est Crumpler features: tricot webbing, secure top opening zipper, front and back zippered pockets as well as three internal slip pockets to store and organise all your smalls and whatnots.
It also comes with a detachable across-body strap (for when your arms are too sore to carry this), and an external yoga mat sleeve with ladderlocks so you can head straight from pool to gym for your yoga session with mat in hand.
Barney Rustle Blanket (Waxed Canvas), $229, Crumpler
Prefer a signature classic from Crumpler? This is your “It” bag then. The iconic Barney Rustle Blanket is now available as a 25th Anniversary Limited Edition, upgraded with Scottish waxed black canvas with a unique printed 300D ripstop internal lining. Which means it is soft, weather- and water-resistant, and will last you way past your final laps.
BONUS: SAFRA members enjoy 10% off regular-priced items, with an additional 5% off during birthday month. Click here for more details.
Nike Utility Power Graphic Training Duffel Bag (Medium), $99, Nike
This 56cm (L) by 28 cm (W) by 30cm (H) carrier in Midnight Navy and Black should be roomy enough to hold all of your swimming gear. Either throw them all into the spacious main compartment or store them separately in the zipped exterior pockets. The thick, woven polyester makes it a sturdy bag for safekeeping your precious goods; it even comes with built-in ventilation to let your sweaty or wet sports gear breathe and dry.
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE
BONUS: SAFRA members enjoy 15% off regular-priced footwear and apparel at selected Nike stores. Click here for more information.