What are ‘Swim Caps’ and why do we need to use them?

I am learning swimming. It’s a revitalizing experience!

On the first day of the swimming course, though I had purchased the ‘Swim suite’ as a precautionary measure, the coach asked me to purchase a ‘Swim Cap‘.

I was perplexed! I had a series of unanswered questions zipping through my brain – Why on earth should I purchase a Swim Cap? What advantage does it have? Is it one of those marketing strategy to augment the sales of Swim Caps?

This post is meant to answer few of the above listed questions and provide insight into why a swim cap plays a noticeable role in swimming.

What are Swim Caps?

The Free Dictionary – Encyclopedia defines the term ‘Swim Cap’ as – “A swim cap, or bathing cap, is a silicone, latex or lycra cap worn on the head by recreational and competitive swimmers.”

The basic advantage of a ‘Swim Cap’ is to relatively keep the human hair dry and ears free from chlorinated water and avoid filters in swimming pool being clogged with human hair.

Swim caps were invented in late 1900s and the initial ones were made out of rubber. By 1920, latex based caps appeared followed by silicone ones.

In India, the typical cost of  a swim cap varies between INR 60/- and INR 130/- depending on the quality of the cap and the material it’s made out of.

Types of Swim Caps

There are roughly four types of swim caps:

  • The usual silicone swim cap
Image source: Amazon.com

Image source: Amazon.com

  • Long hair swim cap
Image source: Amazon.com

Image source: Amazon.com

  • Neoprene swim cap
Image source: Amazon.com

Image source: Amazon.com

  • Flower swim cap
Image source: Headcovers.com

Image source: Headcovers.com

Advantages of Swim Caps

  1. Swim caps protect the hair from chlorine which is known to cause decoloration or damage to human hair over a period of time.
  2. Wearing a cap provides what is know as ‘Hydro dynamic effect‘, meaning the swimmer will be able to move through the water more rapidly with less resistance.
  3. Swim caps tend to reduce drag that is usually caused by free-flowing hair.
  4. Long hair also results in visibility problems when in the pool. Swim caps help avoid such a situation.
  5. For swimmers with closely cropped hair, a swim cap can help maintain body warmth.

Tips on usage and maintaining Swim Caps

The below listed tips will be useful when using swim caps (borrowed from Swim-Caps.net)

Always rinse and hang dry after use. Otherwise the swimming cap will wear down much more quickly.
Put it on carefully. No matter what the material, swim caps can tear if handled roughly.
The fit should be snug and comfortable.
You may want to wet your hair before putting the swim cap on if possible. This makes sure no air is trapped between the cap and your head. Otherwise the cap could come off in the pool.
  • It is better to rinse and hang dry after every use, else swim caps are prone to wear down quickly.
  • Make sure that your nails do not damage the swim caps when you wear them.
  • Always be sure that the cap fits comfortably.
  • Wearing the cap on wet hair ascertains that no air is trapped inside and makes sure that the cap sticks to it’s location during it’s usage.


  1. The Free Dictionary Encyclopedia: http://encyclopedia.tfd.com/Swim+cap
  2. Headcovers.com (Men->Swimming caps): http://www.headcovers.com/t/men/swimming-caps/196/187/
  3. Swim Cap.net: http://www.swim-cap.net/
  4. Swim Cap (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swim_cap
  5. Human Swimming (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_swimming
  6. Why people use swim caps to keep their hair dry: http://www.helium.com/items/1107413-why-people-use-swim-caps-to-keep-their-hair-dry
  7. Advantage of Swim Cap by Chris Josephhttp://www.ehow.com/about_5180634_advantages-swim-caps.html
  8. Advantage of Swim Caps: http://www.answerbag.com/articles/The-Advantages-of-Swim-Caps/5550e7f8-e7d4-e2f5-eb31-8e7d47248894
  9. Advantage of Swim Caps by L. Maloney: http://www.trails.com/list_3304_advantages-swim-caps.html


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The information presented here is collected from several sources. The reference section above lists the sources that were taken into account while scanning for information.


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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] What are 'Swim Caps' and why do we need to use them? « My … By sks8 Swim caps tend to reduce drag that is usually caused by free-flowing hair. Long hair also results in visibility problems when in the pool. Swim caps help avoid such a situation. For swimmers with closely cropped hair, a swim cap can … My Experiments in Life! – https://sks8.wordpress.com/ […]

  2. Hi Santhosh,
    Just wanted to mention a different kind of swimming hat, but it’s more related to swimming in the outdoor pool. We got the $10 UV protective swim hats from nammuhats.com and we love them 🙂 Kids won’t even take them off.

    Adnan S.

    • That’s good to know Adnan!
      Thanks for the information.


  3. Your method of telling everything in this post is actually nice, all be capable of
    without difficulty be aware of it, Thanks a lot.

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