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How to Deal with Swim Caps During Triathlon Training


Have you struggled getting it into a swim cap, worn your cap wrong or tore one right before a swim? You are not alone friend. Swim Caps were one of the simple triathlon training things I needed help with as a newbie. Nuisances like dealing with swim caps, are partly credited for why I am hosting a women's Triathlon Clinic March 2021 and sharing this quick Triathlon training tip blog post.


When I first started training for Triathlons way back when, I remember a few weeks into training, I was still trying to figure out how to put on a swim cap correctly without hurting my face, pulling out my hair, breaking a nail or ripping it half. In fact, I was kindly told that I had my cap backwards during a group swim training session!


Huh? How can you put on a cap that is round/oval wrong? You'll be surprised at the method and ways I have seen some people use to try and put on a swim cap.


How to Put on a Swim Cap (Triathlon Swim Training 101)


Swim Cap Unwritten Rule #1:

The Seam should line up in the middle of your head - like an imaginary fin - not ear to ear - like I was rocking my first month of training for my first triathlon. Yes friends. Check out this pool side quick demo video on the correct way to wear a swim cap:



Swim Cap Unwritten Rule #2:

Caps are meant to protect the pool from your hair and hair products. Not to keep your hair dry or to save your do. Most Swim Caps will get your hair damp and some even soaked.

After personally buying countless swim caps to keep my hair dry - I gave up! I’ve come to just embrace the wet and learned how to rock a low bun or slick back.


Alert: There are a few new Swim Cap Designers that hit the market recently that deliver on keeping your dry. But I have not tested them nor do I have any Tri or Swim Buddies who have. Check out the Swimma brand on Amazon.


Swim Cap Unwritten Rule #3:

Silicone swim caps are the way to go. Let me preface that statement with saying that is my opinion. Latex swim caps are just EVIL and torturous in my opinion.


They pull on your hair, tear easily, wear out in shape, colors fade quickly, sometimes snap back and bite you and are not pleasant to put on in a rush.


Triathlon races customarily hand out latex swim caps to all athletes in their registration swag bag. So you have to deal with them.


I still proudly have my very first triathlon race cap from 6-7 years ago. I keep it as a souvenir and a motivational reminder that I #doepicshit.


Now don’t get me wrong - I do rock my race day latex swim caps all time. But I do so carefully on a limited basis. I've built quite a collection from doing so many races and attending Triathlon Clinics & Training Camps over the years.


Truthfully, I've some bad memories of me trying to stuff my hair into a latex swim cap and they usually ended in tears, cussing and often a ripped swim cap.


When I was training for Half-Ironman Waco in August 2018...I made this swim vlog for my training diary. Oh I was furious & went on a confessional rant. Just listen to me go off...



Silicone swim caps offer great value for female triathletes. They maintain their shape, color, are easy to put on, come in cute designs and last longer. I prefer to use silicone swim caps for training in the pool and open water swimming.



General Triathlon Training Swim Cap Tips


Below you will find advice from Real Athletes, GCN and US Master’s Swimming mashed together that we’ve collected over the years that have helped our triathlon tribe succeed.


New Swim Cap


If you've bought a brand new swimming cap, you'll find that it sticks to itself, your head and your hair. Best way to avoid this is add a little baby powder on the inside and the out. Give it a rub and then it'll be nice and comfortable and ready to wear. No baby powder...use some athlete foot powder, cornstarch or old loose makeup powder.


Tip For Long Hair


It's down to personal preference but Anna likes to just tie her hair in a bun at the back of her head and then she puts the swim cap on from the back to the front. You can try going from the front to the back but you're usually left with bits sticking out the bottom.


Race Day Cap


The race organizers will usually put in your packet pick up bag a swim cap that must be worn throughout the swim leg of the race, so don't go swapping it before your event as a specific color will have been assigned specifically to your swim wave. Don't panic if your race day swim cap splits or gets a hole on race morning - race directors will usually have spares.


Wear Your Cap Correctly

You'd be surprised the variation in position of swim caps on some swimmers & triathletes heads. Swim caps customarily have a line running down the center and you should aim for that line going from the front to the back of your head.