The summer swim season is fast approaching. It’s time to psych yourself up to get through those long, hot, fun days by the pool. I reached out to some expert swim parent friends for tips on the must-have summer swim gear to get you through swim meets this summer. Enjoy!
Summer Swim Gear Shopping List
- Laminated packing list for each family member: I have to put this one first, because this will help you organize and remember all the items to come! One swim friend swears by her laminated packing lists, so no one forgets the essentials. I can’t link you to one for sale, you’ll have to DIY (a local copy store should have a laminator), but it’s a great idea, you have to admit. The younger your kids, the better this will work. Teach them to manage their own stuff ASAP!
- Collapsible off-road wagon: You’ll need something to haul all your stuff from the trunk to the poolside. This is the perfect way to go. Pro tip: keep your folding chairs packed in the bottom all season to minimize packing/unpacking. The kind you can buy at Costco got the most votes from swim parents.
- Cart/dolly for the setup crew: This is one for teams to buy, to help with setup and tear down. Suggested by our CEO, computer rep for his team for 15 years, this is what helped him move around the team’s computer and printer.
- Number-key keyboard: Another suggestion for the computer team. If you have to hand-enter times, this keyboard will be your best friend, as the mechanical keyboard offers tactile feedback.
- Folding chairs for parents: Friends seemed to like the chairs with shades, as parents don’t get a designated “tent” like the littles do.
- Folding chairs for kids: For kiddos, the pockets and storage are key—a spot for goggles, water bottles, etc.
- Cheap tarp for the ground: Keep your kids one level away from the wet grass and dirt (maybe there’ll be fewer ants?).
- Tote bags: Check out these mildew-resistant bags made from recycled sails. Use bigger ones for towels, smaller ones for knick-knacks.
- Cooler bag: Smaller cooler bags for the kids means they can keep their own snacks close by. A soft outer shell collapses down once it’s empty, for easier transit.
- Microfiber sports towel: Keep your kids’ towels dryer by having them get the bulk of the water off with these microfiber towels before wrapping themselves in a big, cozy, real towel.
- Warm stuff: Socks, swim parkas, hats. Even in a Texas summer, the first few meets are chilly in the mornings!
- Sharpies: For arm marking, and to mark your kids’ name on all this STUFF! Fine tip sharpies are safest for application on the skin, since kids will likely also kill time drawing all over each other.
- Colored highlighters: To highlight your kids’ upcoming swims on the heat sheet… Type A swim parent pro tip: use different colors for each of your kids 🙂
- Ribbon book: The perfect way to keep and show all those ribbons that accumulate. This handy ribbon book can be customized with your team logo.
- Swim-Fan phone case: On the off chance that you’re not getting enough of the swimming pool. For iPhones 5-8, including plus sizes.
- Neck-hanging phone holder: No one wants their phone to fall out of their pocket and land in the pool while timing or judging. Lightweight silicone stretches to fit most phones in or out of a case.
- Hydration: WATER, plus some electrolyte hydration packets to get you through. Click for some extra hydration tips.
- Drink rambler: This one is for parents. Depending on whether the team has morning or evening meets, I got pretty different suggestions about what to put in it 🙂 Maybe your team should add one to their swag offerings…
- Small plastic tub: Easy for your kids to throw their gear in (flip flops, goggles, etc), and won’t get wet and soggy on the bottom like a bag might.
- Snacks: Think healthy, think protein as well as carbs… Think about any team kids that might have allergies and be mindful of what you pack.
- Games: Waterproof cards and UNO are a hit.
- Extra cap and goggles: They break so easily, you can’t be over-prepared.
- More extra goggles: See above. My son liked to bite his goggle straps in the ready area the year he was 7. We went through so many pairs!!
- First aid kit: Keep one handy for those minor emergencies. Include waterproof Band-Aids and liquid skin. I’m making the assumption you have fully trained and well stocked Life Guards for most everything else.
- Sunscreen: I wish I had the magic product that let your kids’ sharpie stay on, but just make sure parents don’t forget to apply their own too! Check out this resource on sunburn safety.
We hope you liked our summer swim gear shopping list. Special thanks to expert swim friends for their input: Amber, Dana, Erin, Fran, Jessica, Juliet, Larry, Luisa, Mason, Misty, Rich, Rosie, Samie, and Shannon.