What Do Swimmers Wear to the Pool? (5 Options)

When you’re headed to the pool, you want to be comfortable. Depending on the season, your age, and the level of swim, your attire will change.

Swimmers wear comfortable, practical clothes to the pool. If no changing rooms are available, wear your swimsuit under sweatpants, a T-shirt, and a jacket if needed. Tennis shoes or slides are common footwear. Competitive swimmers will typically have a swim parka and swim bag.

When you’re a kid it’s fine to wear your swimsuit to the pool with a towel wrapped around. I even see kids with their cap and goggles on already. 😂

But as you get older you’ll want to wear something to not only cover up, but also to fit in. Weather obviously plays a factor.

As a parent of kids who swam in high school and club level, here are some common things I’ve seen swimmers wear to the pool.

What to wear to a pool with a changing room

If the pool has a changing room, you can just wear normal street clothes.

However, depending on the weather and how much time you have before swimming, you may want to wear something different.

Since you’ll be changing, wear clothes that are easy to take off and put back on when you’re done.

My daughter, who is in high school, will usually put her practice suit on at home if she has time. Then she wears a T-shirt, Adidas sweat pants, and a sweatshirt or swim parka.

When she gets to the pool it’s quick and easy to change and be ready to swim.

Because she does dryland warmup and/or weight lifting before or after practice, she also wears comfortable, supportive tennis shoes or lifting shoes.

If she doesn’t have time to change at home before practice, she’ll just wear her school clothes and take her suit in her swim bag.

Just make sure you allow time to change so you’re not stressed about being late to practice.

A comfy pair of sweatpants for the ride home is nice.

What to wear to a pool with no changing room

If there’s no changing room at the pool you’ll obviously put your suit on before you leave.

As stated above, wear comfortable clothes over the top that are easy to take off and put on. Sweat pants, T-shirts, and parkas seem to be most popular.

It is NOT appropriate to change in the parking lot. Even if you’re in your car. There may be people walking by your vehicle or folks waiting in their cars for practice to be over.

Go into a bathroom stall to change into your swimsuit if you need.

Now let’s look at what to wear in other situations.

Do swimming pools have a dress code?

It may sound strange, but some pools have a dress code.

Public pools will often have a dress code for what you’re allowed to wear in the pool. The dress code may specify the type of swimsuits that are appropriate, but also what other clothing is allowed in and around the pool.

Some people like to wear a T-shirt or other top over their suit. A pool may have restrictions on the fabric or style of these clothes.

Certain fabrics may shed and clog swimming pool filtration systems.

Public pools may restrict what you can wear in the pool

Check the website of the pool you’re visiting. You don’t want to get there and not be allowed to swim because of something simple like what you’re wearing.

Pools that are part of a larger sports complex may restrict what you can wear in the lobby area. They might not like someone wearing a bikini, brief, or other revealing swimwear to walk in uncovered.

Country clubs, where lots of summer swim teams practice, can have a dress code. Especially if swimmers have to pass through or use the clubhouse.

Make sure to check the clothing and swimsuit requirements before going to a new pool.

What to wear to high school swim

High school swim is great because it’s usually a “no cut” sport. Anyone that can swim down and back is able to make the team.

High school is also a time most kids want to fit it. Luckily my daughter’s experience with high school swim teams has been very positive and inclusive.

Do not feel pressured or obligated to invest in fancy swim attire.

Get comfortable goggles to protect your eyes.

You may have to buy a team suit and cap. Sometimes you’ll have a team T-shirt to wear during meets. Because most athletic departments have meager budgets, you might have to spend a little money.

High School Swim Practice

Practices may be before school, so either wear your school clothes or take them to change into after practice. It can be cold in the early morning too so a coat or parka is recommended.

High school swim usually requires girls to wear a one-piece swim suit for practice. It can be a tie-back suit, but normal back suits are easier to wear.

Wearing matching suits and caps makes you feel like a real team

Boys should wear either a brief or jammer style suit. Wearing a beach style suit may be okay for practice, but not for meets.

Normally you would not wear your team suit for practice. Have a couple of practice suits to rotate so you don’t wear one out too quickly.

If your team suit is all you have, that’s no problem.

High School Swim Meets

High school meets are so much fun! They are fast paced, with lots of cheering.

Matching caps and T-shirts make you look like a real team.

For swim meets you’ll wear either your practice suit or team suit. Warm up is 30 minutes to an hour before the meet starts. Make sure you have time to change in a locker room or other appropriate place.

NOTE: Changing on deck during a meet, even if you have a towel around you, will result in disqualification if caught! It’s not worth it.

If you’re new to swim, ask your teammates and coaches about where and when to change before and after a swim meet.

What to wear to club swim

Club swim is a higher level of competition and commitment.

This type of swim also has more clothing choices than high school swim.

Getting to and from the pool, you can wear normal street clothes, although I’d recommend wearing something easy to take off and put on.

Teams often have parkas, T-shirts, and other clothing with the team logo. A swim bag with the team logo is also common. You’ll certainly have more equipment to carry for club swim.

Club Swim Practice

As with high school swim, club swim practice may be before or after school. Sometimes both.

Heading to practice, wear what you’re comfortable in, remembering that you may have to rush to school shortly after finishing.

Club swim is a higher level of competition and commitment

Early morning practice is difficult enough, so make clothing choices that are simple and practical.

Some kids will wear PJ pants or sweatpants with a T-shirt over their suit.

Club swimmers will want to have several practice suits. Swimming 5 or 6 days a week will stretch and wear out a suit. Be prepared with a few suits to rotate through.

Girls may wear a tie-back suit or regular back one-piece. Bikinis are not allowed.

Club Swim Meets

Club meets may require travel. So wear something comfortable to the competition.

A long drive in a tight swimsuit is not a good idea.

Every club meet pool I’ve been to has dressing rooms with plenty of space. You can change into your practice suit for warmups.

If you have a tech suit, you will wait and change into it after warmup, unless you’re in one of the first swim events.

NOTE: Like high school swim, deck changing is strictly prohibited and you will be DQ’d if caught.

Some girls will bring a tie-back bikini top to wear with a tech suit during warm downs.

Tech suits are super tight, especially in the shoulder straps. So girls will go to the dressing room, and wear the bikini top with the tech suit straps pulled down.

Just make sure what you’re wearing is appropriate for others to see.

Tommy Sikes

I swam as a kid. But most of my experience is as a swim parent. My kids did summer swim, high school, and club swim. My daughter has committed to swim at UGA in 2024 as a sprint freestyler. I share what I learn about training, swim equipment, and the college recruiting process.

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