Cover photo thanks to Colin Sheridan and Kaybrook Green Hills Swim Club
Choosing a team swimsuit for your summer team is an important task. One of the many great things about summer swimming is learning about teamwork – and if you look like a team, you’ll act like a team! Picking a good-looking, comfortable, affordable swimsuit makes it easy for your team members to look and feel like a team.
With so many styles, colors, and brands to choose from, picking your team swimsuit can sometimes feel overwhelming. Here we’ll discuss a few important factors when deciding which swimsuit is the best fit for your team. And keep an eye out for pro tips from Elisa Kissinger, who’s been selecting the team swimsuit for the Circle C Seals for the last 5 years.
10 Tips For Picking Your Summer Team Swimsuit
1) Work With a Professional
Choosing your supplier is an important part of picking the right team swimsuit. Our years of experience have taught us that it’s better to work with a local retailer than to go with an online supplier. While online suppliers may have lower prices and send you a “kit” so your kids can try the suits on, we think you’ll want some professionals on the pool deck with you at the start of the season to manage in-person fittings and to advise on orders. Especially with summer teams, where lots or parents are new to swimming, how are they going to know if a size 26 fits their 8 year old or not? Swimsuit sizing is not intuitive and is different for every brand and style! It’s ok to let folks order online through a store website or your SwimTopia site, but you’ll also want a brick-and-mortar store where people can go for returns or exchanges, and to see and try other swim equipment too.
Some brands are known to struggle with supplying teams with large orders in a timely way. If there are sizing issues when the suits arrive, restocking can sometimes be a problem. And some brands are known for wearing out more quickly than others. Your supplier should have advice for you about the quality and availability of different brands. Narrowing down the brands you want to work with before looking at specific suits can simplify your decision making.
It can be helpful for teams to pick swimsuits they know will be made for another year or two. If the style of suit is continuing to the next year, kids are more likely to be able to get a second season out of the suit, or parents can resell the suit to a teammate if their kids have grown out of it. Swimsuit manufacturers usually let the swim shop know whether a swimsuit will be continued or not. Your swim shop can advise you on which suits will be available for a number of years.
Elisa: “Choosing suits that will be available for multiple years is one of the most important factors in choosing a suit. Because people tend to wear the suit from the year before, it keeps the team looking like a team. Plus, families can save a lot if they don’t have to buy suits every year. And the added bonus is that it’s easier for me, as I don’t have to pick another suit the next year!”
Some suppliers are able to give price discounts based on particular brands and styles. Depending on the price sensitivity of your team parents, this may affect your choice. Some brands and styles might be more expensive than you think your team parents will want to pay, and you can rule them out quickly.
Elisa: “Most brands and suits tend to be priced pretty closely, but there are one or two cheaper brands to choose from.”
Most teams want a swimsuit that reflects their team colors. If you’ve already narrowed down your selection based on brand, continuity, and price, choosing from the available suits in your team colors is much less dizzying than if you’re given 5 catalogues and you don’t know where to start! Summer swim teams are BIG, which means there are many people to please. Picking colors and patterns that are somewhat conservative may keep the greatest number of parents happy, but you need to balance that with keeping it fun. Also, there are some swimsuit companies that can customize suits with colors, logos, images, or patterns. Ask your supplier for options.
Elisa: “Our team color is orange, which can be both loud, and see-through when wet. I’ve found it’s good to pick a suit with a darker color in the mix to tone it down, and ensure you’re covered!”
There are a few different swimsuit fabric options. The main choices are Lycra® and polyester, plus some suits that use a mixture of the two and/or a texturized polyester known as PBT. The main differences are that Lycra® suits are more comfortable, but don’t last as well. Lycra® can fade, stretch, and wear thin during the course of a summer season if it’s worn regularly. If you choose a Lycra® suit you might want to suggest that team members buy a polyester suit for practices and save their team suit for meets. Polyester or polyester blend suits are easy to take care of and can last two to three times longer. If you want your team swimsuit to last for more than one season, polyester or poly blend suits can be a good choice.
Boys’ swimsuits are pretty standard, most summer team boys prefer “jammers” to “swim briefs.” But some girls’ swimsuits have very different amounts of coverage at the back and sides of the suit. A typical summer swim team has kids that range in age from 5 to 18 years old, which makes it hard to please everyone. How much coverage the girls’ swimsuits have can be a factor when choosing a team swimsuit.
Elisa: “Girls suits tend to come with straps at the back that are either thick, medium, or thin. For our summer team, I pick something in the middle of the road.”
8) Comfort is Key
Yes, it’s important to look good and for the suits to be stylish and eye-catching, but for the summer league crowd, comfort is king. Year-round and high school swimmers are used to squeezing into the most ridiculously tight and uncomfortable swimsuits, but summer swimmers just aren’t up for that. Think of your young and brand new swimmers – you don’t want to turn them off swimming with an uncomfortable team swimsuit! The suit’s fabric and cut both have a big effect on comfort. Before you make your final selection you might want to take a couple of boys and girls with different body types to the store to make sure the suit you choose is going to work for everyone.
9) Poolside Fittings
Once you’ve chosen an awesome team swimsuit that you think everyone is going to love, have your supplier bring a selection of the suits to your pool for the team to try on. Fittings are an important step towards high team satisfaction with the final choice. For the very reason that every brand, cut, and style fits differently, it’s important to encourage everyone on your team to come to the fitting session to be sure they order the right size. Remind your team that underwear should always be worn when trying on a swimsuit and that swimsuits should fit snugly. Bunched fabric, or being able to slip more than two fingers easily under the straps of a girl’s suit, are signs that the swimsuit is too big. We suggest having the supplier come to your pool; the easier you make it for your team, the higher turnout you’ll have. Sometimes you can coordinate the team fitting with a season kickoff party or preseason parent meeting. Your swim vendor will love being invited to come to your pool, especially if they can sell other gear, such as goggles and fins.
Elisa: “Our team likes having the supplier on deck at the start of the season so families can get all their swim equipment for the season as well.”
10) Returns and Exchanges
It’s important to communicate in advance with your team about the supplier’s return policies. Most swimsuits must be returned with the sale tags and tickets attached. Kids should try their suit on and wear it around the house for a while to decide if it’s comfortable, rather than taking it straight to the pool! Unless the swimsuit rips or tears soon after it’s bought (and for a reason that is not your fault), once worn in the pool, you won’t be able to return your swimsuit. Sometimes it can take a while for new orders to come in, so have swimmers try on the suits as soon as they arrive to determine if they need to change sizes.
We hope you’ve found this article helpful. Good luck choosing an awesome team swimsuit for your team next season!