Experienced swimmers and professionals, not to mention keen amateurs and anybody else confident in the water, all know which accessories they need to take with them in their swim bag and how to prepare for training sessions in the pool.
For all those people who, on the other hand, are just learning to swim and need to make sure they have not forgotten anything, here’s a list of 10 things you need to know when going to the pool for the first time.
1. WHAT DO I NEED TO TAKE WITH ME TO THE POOL?
The first thing to do is to pack everything you need in your swimming bag:
- swim cap
- sandals or flip-flops
- water bottle
These items are vital and having the right equipment with you makes all the difference!
2. WHAT KIND OF SWIMSUIT SHOULD I WEAR IN THE POOL?
Choosing a training suit depends on your own personal taste, preferences and how often you swim. It is important to wear a swimsuit you feel comfortable in, so the only thing you need to worry about is swimming!
It is best to avoid swimming costumes for the beach and choose a swimsuit designed for the pool, so you can dive in, make tumble turns, swim and do drills in total freedom, without worrying whether your swimsuit is going to slip down or whether it fits properly.
3. DO I NEED MY TRAINING KIT AND ACCESSORIES WITH ME?
You can take training kit and accessories with you if you have your own, such as fins, hand paddles, pullbuoys and boards.
If you do not have your own equipment, ask the attendants at the swimming pool: most swimming pools provide swimmers with various accessories they can borrow and then return when they have finished training.
4. DO I NEED TO WEAR A NOSE CLIP OR EARPLUGS?
Generally speaking, unless you need them for health reasons, you do not need to wear earplugs for swimming. If you suffer from frequent ear infections or the sound of the water in your ears bothers you, then earplugs can be a very useful aid.
Nose clips are always a matter of personal preference: for example, lots of swimmers find them really useful when swimming the backstroke or using a snorkel, but it is best not to use them when you are learning proper swimming technique.
5. WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO START GOING TO THE POOL?
Swimming really is for everybody! You can start taking young babies to the pool when they are just a couple of months old. Many pools organise neonatal swim courses for babies and their parents, and there are often special courses to help children gain confidence with the water and learn how to swim while having fun playing games and splashing around.
6. I AM SCARED OF THE WATER, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Sometimes going to the pool for the first time can be unnerving, but do not worry! There are plenty of swimming courses for both the young and old designed to make absolute beginners feel at ease.
Trust the pool’s swimming instructors, who will assess your standard and suggest the ideal course for your own specific needs. If you decide to take group classes, you will be able to enjoy training with lots of other swimmers!
7. DO I HAVE TO SIGN UP FOR A SWIM CLASS OR CAN I SWIM ON MY OWN?
If you are a beginner, our advice when going to the pool for the first few times is to take lessons. This will help you improve your technique and learn the basics, so you can become a better and more confident swimmers.
If, on the other hand, you are already a good swimmer, you can take an advanced class or just swim on your own!
Almost all swimming pools allow you to swim on your own at specific times and in special lanes if you are not interested in taking a class or a lesson and want to do your own thing.
8. HOW DEEP IS THE WATER IN THE POOL?
Not all swimming pools are the same shape or size but, generally speaking, the shallow end for swimming is 1.20 m reaching 2.5 m or 3 m at the deep end. An any case, you might end up swimming in pools with all kinds of layouts:
- with a flat bottom or, in other words, the same depth for its entire length
- with a sloping bottom, so the water is much shallower at one end gradually getting deeper towards the other end.
- with the deepest water in the middle and shallower at both ends.
The depth is usually indicated at the side of the pool but, if in doubt, you can always ask the swimming attendant before entering the water.
9. CAN I DIVE IN?
Here again, it varies from pool to pool. Every pool has its own diving rules, both from the blocks and the side of the pool, depending on the depth of the water or the kind of activities the pools caters for. This is to guarantee the safety of all swimmers.
If you like diving in, check the pool rules or ask the staff before entering the water!
10. IS IT ALRIGHT TO EAT BEFORE ENTERING THE WATER?
It is very important to have enough energy for training, so you are free to enjoy a healthy snack or a light meal but avoid large meals or heavy or complex foods.
According to the time of day when you train, small protein snacks can come in handy before going to the pool.
Due to the Covid-19 health emergency, extremely strict rules and regulations are currently in force at swimming pools to guarantee the health and safety of both swimmers and anybody else at the pools.
Before going to a swimming pool, find out about the rules and procedures to be followed: staff at the pool will be only too happy to inform you about all the rules and regulations.
Enjoy your training!