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View Full Version : Is a swim cap a device that makes you swim faster?



Mark Savage
September 30th, 2009, 09:26 PM
Just wondering what y'all think...

chaos
September 30th, 2009, 09:46 PM
depends on how much hair you have.

__steve__
September 30th, 2009, 09:49 PM
Popov wasn't concerned about needing one.

But studies show they help.

Glenn
September 30th, 2009, 10:54 PM
I don't think it "makes " you swim faster, but it may allow you to swim faster. According to Ernest Maglischo's book, "Swimming Fastest", hair is a source of frictional drag. So anything that will reduce frictional drag will allow you to swim faster. That could be a cap or as someone else has suggested, shave your head.

I believe I read that shaving down can improve your time by .5 - 2 seconds per 100. Thus the advantage of the "old" tech suits!

Mark Savage
October 1st, 2009, 12:35 AM
That rule 102.15.9 which says swimmers can't wear a device that helps their speed- then why doesn't it apply to caps?

geminidragonizer
October 1st, 2009, 01:14 AM
Rule 102.9.1 Swimwear - Design

A. Swimwear shall include only a swimsuit, cap and goggles.



"Swimwear" is clearly defined, so I'd assume that any "device" describes something that is not one of these three above.

Mark Savage
October 1st, 2009, 02:33 AM
ok, it's not a device- thanks.

I've been reading through various threads trying to get up to speed on this tech suit issue, and the other day I thought, "What about caps?"

We wear caps to reduce drag so we can go faster- doesn't this go against that rule that says no device allowed?

But it sounds like because a cap is not defined as a device, it can't be seen as illegal even though it helps a swimmer swim faster than he would without it.

Is this why the situation with the tech suits was able to go on as long as it did? Tech suits weren't "devices" so they couldn't be declared illegal even though swimmers were swimming faster with them than they were without them?

frankiej
October 1st, 2009, 08:14 AM
If you have long thick hair like I do, it helps a bit.

It also seems to help me with my neck position for some reason.

knelson
October 1st, 2009, 10:45 AM
I really have no idea how much it helps. When you swim your hair tends to get plastered down to your head. Is this really less slippery than covering your head with a latex or silicone cap? I'm not sure.

I never wore a cap until this year (unless required in an OW swim or something). I finally figured if I was going to wear an expensive full body suit it would be sort of silly to not wear a cap, too, if it could possibly help make me faster.

DolphinGirl
October 1st, 2009, 11:05 AM
It definitely helps me swim faster, mainly because it keeps my hair out of my face so I can breath:)

__steve__
October 1st, 2009, 11:11 AM
Does rulebook state anything about plastic surgery to make you faster?

Bobinator
October 1st, 2009, 11:42 AM
Good point! I may get a dorsal fin attached instead of a facelift this month! :afraid:jk!

Paul Smith
October 1st, 2009, 12:36 PM
For most people yes.


For Geek its a way to cover up his early onset balding and sport his Tri entry number (he doesn't wash the marks of his legs and arms for weeks either).

thewookiee
October 1st, 2009, 12:46 PM
For most people yes.


For Geek its a way to cover up his early onset balding and sport his Tri entry number (he doesn't wash the marks of his legs and arms for weeks either).

Geek doesn't bath but twice a year. Once at Christmas and once in the middle of the summer.

hofffam
October 1st, 2009, 03:17 PM
My hair is thick but medium length. I train without a cap but race with one.

I notice immediately that my distance off the wall is greater when I have a cap on. Even more so with the new Speedo thick/stiff cap.

Bobinator
October 1st, 2009, 03:28 PM
Double capping w/silicone base layer definitely keeps you warmer in ow!

ande
October 1st, 2009, 04:03 PM
A cap is an approved device that can help some swimmers go faster.

Swim Faster Faster Tip 228 is V-lieve it or Not (http://www.usms.org/forums/showpost.php?p=158912&postcount=825)

I'd go further to say it's a good idea to have short hair because wet hair is weight. Caps hold hair still, they trap heat (which can be helpful or not depending upon water temp), they can conceal goggle straps. ( Strap under Cap. )

Some swimmers wear 2 caps, usually a latex cap under an Aqua V or a silicone.

I prefer the aqua V for Sprints because it has fewer wrinkles.

I don't like to wear a cap in warm water or on long swims, I keep cooler without a cap. Some swimmers shave their heads for BIG meets.

Some swimmers race with giant google straps dangling all over the place, snip em short.

geminidragonizer
October 1st, 2009, 04:35 PM
Then again, you can swim without a cap AND goggles and win gold! Hey, it was good enough for Pablo.




YouTube - Pablo Morales 100m Fly Finals at the 1992 Olympic Games

Thrashing Slug
October 1st, 2009, 06:24 PM
I don't notice much drag reduction with the cap, but if I swim breaststroke without one the water runs down my face and makes it harder to breathe. Kind of strange.

Chris Stevenson
October 1st, 2009, 07:52 PM
Then again, you can swim without a cap AND goggles and win gold! Hey, it was good enough for Pablo.

I never get tired of watching that race.

rtodd
October 1st, 2009, 10:18 PM
Nice race,

He did the "Cavic" but it worked.

orca1946
October 2nd, 2009, 12:56 PM
Never in practice, but in big meets - yes.

Muppet
October 2nd, 2009, 01:03 PM
i did a test on this a few years ago, and for a LCM 50m free, i was about a quarter second faster with a cap.

FindingMyInnerFish
October 4th, 2009, 06:58 PM
It definitely helps me swim faster, mainly because it keeps my hair out of my face so I can breath:)

Agree... of course, I learned the hard way that it REALLY helps if the cap stays on!

Recent open water swim: I expected to be slow, just wanted to swim the distance, get a baseline time for how I'm handling two miles these days. Well, slow would have been acceptable, instead of which due to a cap sliding off every several minutes, I had no real sense of how I'd have done without equipment interference, and my finish set a new standard of slow. :cane: (Well, at least it set a new standard of something....)

The cap was issued by the race, but I don't blame them b/c caps they've given me in other races stayed on. The swim went partly against the current, partly with, and it seemed as if I had more of my trouble when swimming against the current.

Note to self: do this swim with short hair next time--or request a cap with a chin strap, maybe one of those floral models. ;)

lapswimmr
October 11th, 2009, 12:33 PM
LOL There are some SF Bay swimmers who use the flower caps to swim to Alcatraz and across the Golden Gate.

The bubble strap caps work very well in open water either over or under a race cap. Several SF bay swimmers use these. as well as some Catalina Channel swimmers/English Channel swimmers.

http://www.geocities.com/lapswimr/coldwatercaps.html

http://www.geocities.com/lapswimr/scg.html

lapswimmr
October 11th, 2009, 01:30 PM
SF Bay Swimmers have lots of fun

YouTube - South End Rowing Club (Merry-Go)Roundtrip Pier 39 swim 6-26-09

YouTube - SERC Golden Gate Swim 2009