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Equipment

The following is a list of the most commonly used equipment. There are certainly other types of swimming equipment available.
Suits
For the women: Most will want to wear a one piece, racing style suit usually made out of lycra material. Racing suits are made by a number of manufacturers, though each manufacturer has a different cut and feel. It is suggested that you become aware of the size, style, and manufacturer that you feel most comfortable wearing.

For the men: Most will want to wear a racing style suit though it is not required. For men who are not familiar with racing style suits, they can improve performance better than baggier trunks. Racing suits are made by a number of manufacturers, though each manufacturer has a different cut and feel. It is suggested that you become aware of the size, style, and manufacturer that you feel most comfortable wearing. Men who have not worn a racing style suit will need a period of time to adjust to wearing the more revealing cut, but will soon appreciate its sleeker, streamline feel once in the water.

There are a number of styles of racing/workout suits for men; the most common is the brief which is the most revealing cut. For men who prefer a more modest cut it is suggested they consider a square cut or a jammer suit which looks like bike shorts. When considering material most briefs and jammer suits come in only a lycra material and with repeated use will last between six and 18 months. Some of the square cut and/or drag suits are made out of either nylon or polyester. It is suggested to spend the few extra dollars for the polyester as they tend to with stand the wear and tear of weekly workouts better than the nylon suits. Nylon suits usually don't last much longer than a year; where as the polyester suits can last as long as two years.

Goggles
Goggles are not required equipment, but are highly recommended. Goggles not only help you see better underwater, but also protect your eyes from the chlorinated water. If you wear contact lenses, you may wear your contacts under the goggles in order to aid your vision. Goggles are made by a number of manufacturers, and like suits, you should remember what manufacturer and style best fit you. It is not necessary to spend a large sum of money on goggles; usually a $6 pair will work just as well as the $30 pair.
Flippers/Fins
Fins come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can aid beginning swimmers in learning proper body position and speed up your kick dramatically. Fins usually run around $40, but they will last you years and are a good investment in your swimming.

Caps
Though not required, swim caps are an excellent way to help prevent hair damage from pool chemistry. Coach Tom Mester often has swim caps available for purchase, or you can purchase one through a local retailer or by mail order. Latex caps usually do not last much longer than a year, but are the best in protecting your hair from damage. Lycra caps allow water to flow through and do little to protect the hair. Caps also help decrease drag in addition to keeping hair out of the eyes. A lycra cap will run about $5.

Hand Paddles
Hand paddles are used to create more surface area for resistance in the pull phase of the stroke. Again, paddles come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some of the advantages to using paddles include: allowing a more powerful pull phase and cutting down on the number of strokes per length, assisting in learning how to do bi-lateral breathing, learning to follow through with the stroke. Some of the disadvantages to using the paddles include: giving you more power than you'll ever receive while swimming without the paddles and stress on the shoulder possibly creating pain in the shoulders and arms. Paddles are a personal preference and are often combined with the buoy, they are not required.
Kick Boards
Kick boards also come in a variety of shapes and densities, and look like miniature surfboards. Unfortunately, doing lots of kick sets using the board creates bad body position. Many times kick sets with the board are given, allowing you to keep your head above the water, and to socialize with the people around you (often referred to by the coach as social kicking).

Water Bottles
It is strongly suggested that you bring a water bottle along with you to every practice. Though you are surrounded by water, most swimmers do not drink enough water to keep adequately hydrated (you should not drink pool water). We encourage to you bring water or other sports drinks in plastic containers only.
Pull Buoys
Pull buoys come in a variety of shapes the most common shapes are two cylindrical foam shapes tied together with a rope of some type. The purpose of these buoys is to raise the legs, preventing them from sinking, and allowing you to work the upper body. The problem with pull buoys is they artificially do what you need to teach your body to do. SLM often uses the pull buoys for sets. It is important to concentrate on good body position—something the pull buoy allows you to cheat on. If you have shoulder problems using a pull buoy may aggravate the condition.