What equipment do I need to start swimming?

You don't need a lot of equipment to begin working out at the pool.

You don't need a lot of equipment to begin working out at the pool.

Many people are wary of starting a new sport because of all of the new equipment that they need to buy in order to participate. Luckily, swimming is not one of those sports. With just a few key items, anyone can improve their fitness in the pool. 

Here's what you need:


In order to move through the water effectively, swimmers need suits that are made of a skin-tight material designed specifically for swim training. Men who like to wear board shorts may want to save these items for the beach, and women should avoid wearing bikinis unless they are made for competitive activities. Any suit that you wear should not move when you dive into the water or push off the wall. If you decide to begin swimming competitively, perhaps as a U.S. Masters member, you will need a racing swimsuit.

Caps and goggles

If you will be spending a significant amount of time in the pool, you will need to protect your eyes and hair from chlorine. Swimmers with long hair will also appreciate caps to keep strands out of their face. Goggles are a must, especially if you will be spending a lot of time in a busy public pool. Not only do you want to keep the chemicals out of your eyes, you also need to be able to see all of the other swimmers around you. 

Training equipment

You may be tempted to immediately go out and buy items like kickboards and pull buoys, but your local pool most likely already has these items. Try them out before going out and purchasing your own equipment. Other training equipment that a coach or training partner may recommend to you include fins, paddles or a snorkel.