View Full Version : Swim teams and uniforms

October 29th, 2014, 12:19 PM
Just wondering if there has ever been any research on whether swim team uniforms have an impact on a swimmer's performance, either positive or negative. Any research on the effects of uniforms on the team as a whole?

October 29th, 2014, 12:39 PM
I can only speak from my personal experience. Swimming is thought of as mostly an individual sport, but anyone who has trained at even a semi-high level knows that teammates help you get over that wall and keep pushing through. Usually, wearing a "team suit" is somewhat a source of pride - it represents what you have accomplished with the help of a team.

I suppose if the suit is really ugly or uncomfortable there might be an issue. But even then, there is still the camaraderie of wearing it with friends and a team.

October 29th, 2014, 02:46 PM
cant give a big enough "what he said" above loud enough.

its one thing to have new warmups with your teammates as all 4 or 5 of you walk into jr nationals. super fun being one of the few from your small club. i remember going to a big meet (pretty sure it was World Championship Trials in '82) and the speedo rep giving me a brand new solid green *lycra* racing suit...it was nothing close to our teams colors....but it was a FREE racing suit from the speedo guy. man i was on top of the world!

2 years later it is entirely different when you and your 65 teammates walk into SR nationals and take over an entire lane after weeks upon weeks of 10k workouts knowing that at the end of this week, we will notch another national team championship.
i've talked with quite a few of them (some are now coaches at clubs and universities) and none of us can comprehend what we did and how we did it if it wasnt for those also in the same lanes doing it.

i've done both. being on a little team can be very fun, but being a tiny part of the greatest swimming dynasty ever just doesnt seem to suck either.

October 29th, 2014, 04:38 PM
Esprit de corps aside, is there any evidence that one or two swimmers not wearing a team suit impacts others times or their feeling that there isn't really a team? Just wondering.

Thank you!

October 30th, 2014, 09:46 AM
i dont see how there ever could be any evidence.
you cannot duplicate the situation...ever.

this morning i spoke with the guy in the lane next to me about this topic. he just happens to have THREE (3) NCAA Championship rings on his hand and is a '88 Olympic team member. i asked him about team cap/goggles/suit/warmups being a factor of going fast...he laughed and said "heck, no". when i asked him about team spirit and comradery he said yes that was very much a part helping swim fast. i then asked how he would compare his college team to the olympic team on this aspect and he said his college team was very very tight and the olympic team has such vast age differences "even though half of the men were from his school" and he went on to talk about how much better the national teams are done now and put together to make them so much better compared to then and how they are always getting better.

so to answer you original question from the viewpoint of a 3 time ncaa individual champion, 3 time ncaa team champion and '88 olympic team member...NO a suit/cap/warmups do not influence your swims at all.

Bill Sive
October 31st, 2014, 08:51 AM
Hate to burst your NCAA, Olympic Bubble. When I walk out on the pool deck for swim practice nothing beats seeing all the team members, and coaches, and team owner all wearing team clothing.

Team cohesion, or camaraderie, call it what you want, I stongly believe it has an impact. Teams that do not show up for swim meets, or practice in team gear do not seem to fair as well in competition.

Head Coach
Olympic Team - Sydney Olympics

Assistant Coach
Nine-time All-American
Three-time NCAA Champion (100 back, 200 FR, 400 FR)
Four-time SEC Champion (200 FR, 400 FR (2), 400 MR)

October 31st, 2014, 09:38 AM
i am sorry reading comprehension is such an issue in these forums.
i have no bubble to burst. that was not my info

i agree with whomever you are citing, i think team uniforms to do help mentally, but i do not think they hurt if its a small group and not all are the same.

October 31st, 2014, 09:42 AM
Thank you for replying everyone.

Here is a thought for those in the ivory towers who might need to do some research.

Look at times, places, points, whatever by whether or not the team wore suits. Question: Do teams, perhaps from lower income areas, are smaller, etc., that do not wear team suits/caps fare less well because 1) they aren't wearing team suits or 2) because their times are just slower in the first place? It has been a LONG LONG LONG time since I did academic research and thought about the statistical methods I would use, but I bet the effect of 'slower times to begin with' could be covaried or somehow taken out of the equation.

October 31st, 2014, 12:43 PM
Our local masters team, the Elgin Blue Wave, has team parkas that seem to be a hit whenever I order more. They seem to "tie" us more as fellow "team members" than just sitting as a team.

November 7th, 2014, 01:00 PM
I don't think there is any question that "team" gear makes one feel part of the team (especially for AGers), and therefore more likely to show up for practice, bond with other team members, and adopt the team's training ethic and practices, like working hard during practice - these will clearly produce improvement. As an AGer starting out in the late 50s and 60s and making it onto a new AAU team in West Islip, NY, the suit, sweats and jacket meant a lot to me. I still have my tiny sweats, and also still have my NCAA suit (don't ask if I can fit into it) and somewhat tattered warm-up shirt (I can fit into that). The benefit of team gear is motivational, not that you can't be motivated otherwise; as an AGer we swam against inner-City teams that barely had a pool, and they were motivated.

Somewhat obviously, simply dawning team gear isn't going to make you swim faster and probably has less motivational impact at practice as you get older and as motivation and drive become more internal and personal. Can a "team" make an inspirational difference on the pool deck during a meet - yah! I don't think its the gear at that point, its all of what the team has done getting to that point.

NCAA Football coaches have been using uniform changes to motivate their teams for a big game. I think it has an impact, although not huge or long standing in a game, and it can be over-played. (My guys put on green uniforms when we need to get that luck thing going :) .

November 7th, 2014, 11:50 PM
I agree. I swam at the University of Calgary and we had a pretty stacked squad in the 90s and our loud uniforms (red and yellow) put out storng vibe.

Allen Stark
November 8th, 2014, 10:48 AM
In my junior year of high school we got new sweats right before our meet with our biggest rival.One of my teammates said "wow,we can't swim slow with these on."We were really psyched.

November 8th, 2014, 12:31 PM
Sure - after my reply to the forum, team members are now asking about ordering team parkas for the upcoming season.