10 Essential Items for New Synchronized Swimmers
Were you that kid always doing handstands at the neighborhood pool and shouting "Watch this! And this!" at your mom? Have you signed up for every activity you can find from dance, to swimming, to soccer? Or maybe you saw synchro in the Olympics, and it was love at first sight. Whatever it was that hooked you on synchro, get excited—you’re about to enter an amazing new water-sport culture, nose clips, sequins and all!
Here is a top ten list of essential items you need to get started.
- A practice suit: Choose an athletic cut. Two-pieces are okay, as long as they are better suited for hours of treading water than lying on the beach.
- Goggles: Goggles protect your eyes from chlorine, help you see your newfound teammates underwater and where you’re going at all times!
- Swim Cap: A cap will keep hair out of your face and mouth, which is one less thing to worry about when taking a breath! Plus caps reduce drag, so you can move through the water more efficiently.
- Nose Clip: Keep water out of your nose when you’re learning positions that are upside down and swimming routines with the trademark piece of synchronized swimming equipment: a nose clip.
- Swim bag: Choose a bag to use only for your synchro swim gear. Many swim bags have sport specific features like mesh pockets to help goggles, caps, and suits dry between swims and a designated place for those nose clips that always seem to go missing.
- Shampoo/Conditioner: Washing your hair right after practice gets the chlorine out before it can do too much damage. It also helps save time, since you can get showered and dressed right at the pool before heading straight into the next item on your to-do list.
- Flip-flops: Pool decks can be cold and locker room floors… less than sparkling clean. Flip-flops or any waterproof shoe will protect your feet from chilly surfaces and whatever else may lurk between the tiles.
- Warm-ups: Wear or bring some clothes to practice that keep you warm and are comfortable for any land training your coach might have planned. Impromptu land drill and stretching sessions are not uncommon.
- Videos of Major Competitions: A lot of athletes use videos or pictures of previous competitions as a way to stay motivated or help improve their performance. YouTube is a great place to start, especially since they can go anywhere with you now that many MP3 players have the capacity to hold downloaded videos and pictures.
- Waterproof Sunscreen: Long synchro practices are sometimes more than unprotected skin can bear, so it is always a good idea to pack sunscreen. You should put it on before every practice, but keep a stronger SPF protection for the longer, sunnier days.
The Bonus List
Have extra room in your swim bag? Then here are a few bonus items you can add:
- A CD player or MP3 player: Your coach might ask you to land drill your solo, duet, or other extra routine during practice time. Bring your own player and routine music, so the coach doesn’t have to provide for everyone.
- Snacks: You might have time for a snack during longer practices, but make sure to eat a food you feel comfortable swimming with in your stomach—something fresh and light is usually the best choice.
Figuring It Out
After a couple of weeks of practice, you will start to figure out exactly what items you don’t need or may want to add to your synchro bag. Either way, this list will get you started on the right track.