Choosing a Women's Competition Swimsuit Back Style

Countless hours in the pool make you realize how important comfort and coverage (or the lack thereof) is when it comes to your swimsuit. From competitive swimmers to Masters regulars, swim athletes spend a generous portion of their day kicking, stroking and pulling towards their swimming goals.

A swimsuit's fit and coverage become one of the most important aspects for any swimmer (just ask them!). Each swimmer is different in what they like to train depending on their stroke of choice, age, skill level, build and body type.

Based on preference, level of comfort and the ongoing effort to avoid tan-lines, there are a few different options when it comes to women’s competition and training swimwear.  This guide will explain the different types of women’s back styles carried at ranging from minimalist to modest. They are: Racerback, Crossback, V-back and Microback.


A racerback is the most commonly known swimsuit style across all water sports. This is for two reasons: 1) it’s the original, standard training style; 2) it offers extra coverage and comfort. This particular range of swimsuit features wider straps, and a smaller key-hole opening in the back providing a more modest fit.

This swimsuit is good for the beginner who needs a solid starting point in terms of what to buy. It is also a great option for someone with a larger bust, who wants more support and coverage throughout their swim.


The crossback style is exactly how it sounds. It’s composed of thinner straps which cross in an ‘X’ shape on the back. The cool thing about the crossback is that no style is the same. Each brand has a unique design with their crossback making it different from the others. You will find various sizes of key-hole openings, tie-backs, extra strappy details, minimal straps, etc. But in the end, the straps cross and that’s the defining characteristic.

The crossback offers less tan-lines than V-back or the racerback, and more fashionable designs, but still allows for a decent amount of coverage.


If the racerback and a crossback had a baby, it would be the V-back. A V-back style takes the thinner straps from the crossback and combines it with the modest coverage of the racerback swimsuit. While this style offers smaller, less restricting straps, you still get the full, comfortable key-hole style that offers maximum back coverage.

The V-back is probably one of the more popular styles for both age group swimmers and master swimmers alike. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for something less restricting,but with the same great coverage of a racerback style.  


The microback style is the skimpiest of the bunch. The straps get even thinner, and the amount of material covering the back is slim-to-none. In most microback styles, you’ll find that the high, wide cut of the swimsuit hardly covers the back at all. In fact, the back opening generally stretches to the sides of the swimmer, offering very minimal coverage.

These styles are ideal for the younger, trendy swimmer or for anyone looking to avoid tan-lines, and who wants more freedom of motion with less restricting material.


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