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Thread: Swim Cap Advantage?

  1. #1
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    Swim Cap Advantage?

    Apologies if the answer to this is in this forum, or on the internet in general, but my searching skills are obviously lacking.

    So, I keep reading that swimcaps reduce drag.

    What are we talking about here - a 1% advantage over not wearing a cap, if all else remain equal? 2%?

    If I wear a cap, could my 40.5sec 50m (which I have done 3x) be sub40?
    M-50m, T-200m, W-800m, T-25m, F-100m, S-400m, S-1600m.

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Cap Advantage?

    For most of us --- it is for big time meets and we might get some time improvement but it might be mental as well??!!
    You might get under 40 with a cap and a better start and a good turn.

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    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Cap Advantage?

    For longer distances I would suppose the drag reduction would be even more noticeable. Maybe not in increased speed, but in reduced energy to go a certain distance. Coincidently, last week just for giggles, I put on one of those old lady swim caps with rubber flowers glued to it and swam a few hundred meters. The drag was really noticable. Obviously your natural hair probably wouldn't cause THAT much drag. But it is something. I kind of think of it like moss growing on the hull of a boat. If you keep the hull nice and clean you get better gas mileage.

    Found this cute swim cap science fair projected results: http://www.all-science-fair-projects...oject_1116_140

    Dan

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Cap Advantage?

    Think it also depends upon how you wear your hair. Short hair? Buzz cut? Bald? Cap probably won't do as much good for you (or it might be less noticeable). Have hair like Fabio? You are probably going to want to stuff that mane up under a swim cap.

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    Very Active Member flystorms's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Cap Advantage?

    Every once in a while I'll try to swim without one and it feels so strange to have the ears out.
    Kari Kennedy

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    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Cap Advantage?

    The biggest advantage of wearing a cap is no hair in the pool to get in your mouth. /pet peeve/

    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

    https://blogs.marathonswimmers.org/ironmike/

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    Re: Swim Cap Advantage?

    Quote Originally Posted by ForceDJ View Post
    For longer distances I would suppose the drag reduction would be even more noticeable. Maybe not in increased speed, but in reduced energy to go a certain distance. Coincidently, last week just for giggles, I put on one of those old lady swim caps with rubber flowers glued to it and swam a few hundred meters. The drag was really noticable. Obviously your natural hair probably wouldn't cause THAT much drag. But it is something. I kind of think of it like moss growing on the hull of a boat. If you keep the hull nice and clean you get better gas mileage.

    Found this cute swim cap science fair projected results: http://www.all-science-fair-projects...oject_1116_140

    Dan

    That's great, thanks. I see roughly 1.5sec over 100m in that experiment. SUB40 50m HERE I COME!!! (I will start wearing a cap tomorrow.)
    M-50m, T-200m, W-800m, T-25m, F-100m, S-400m, S-1600m.

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    Very Active Member Sumorunner's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Cap Advantage?

    Never noticed a difference. I wear one only for open water, and then only because they are required by the club for visibility. I'm partially bald, besides I buzz the hair, so there is nothing there to create drag except for the ears projecting a bit. I suspect the goggles create as much drag as that.

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    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Cap Advantage?

    Another advantage for a cap - if you wear your goggle strap underneath the cap, it is one extra preventive measure (besides tucking your chin) to prevent your goggles falling off when you dive in.

    And, then there's the fashion statements that you can make with a cap ...

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    Re: Swim Cap Advantage?

    Well, today was my first swimcap experience. It took a little bit of warmup time to get used to, but I really enjoyed the way it felt. My 50m effort will come later, but today I pushed 200m: My PR was 3:11, and I've struggled with a couple of 3:12s lately.

    But today I swam 3:08!!!

    I am now a Believer.
    M-50m, T-200m, W-800m, T-25m, F-100m, S-400m, S-1600m.

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Swim Cap Advantage?

    The great Popov never wore caps, even though he may have been a tenth or so faster with one. He is still the fastest non-techsuit swimmer after 2 decades.

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    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Cap Advantage?

    Quote Originally Posted by __steve__ View Post
    The great Popov never wore caps, even though he may have been a tenth or so faster with one. He is still the fastest non-techsuit swimmer after 2 decades.
    Unless you're counting jammers as tech suits, he's not anymore. If you are counting jammers... I highly doubt any elite swimmer is going to do a tapered 50 free in a brief anymore, so that makes it a bit of a moot point.

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    Re: Swim Cap Advantage?

    Popov shaved his head, so I don't think that is a fair comparison......

    Two things not mentioned:
    1. Protect your hair. My hair is a LOT less brittle and stiff when I wear a cap.
    2. Probably (i.e. I am speculating) keeps your hair out of the pool, and helps alleviate strain on the pool filtration system.

  14. #14
    Active Member Zwemmer's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Cap Advantage?

    I always wear one for racing because I feel faster & know that they do reduce drag especially on my underwater breaststroke pullouts & starts.

    Plus this:

    Quote Originally Posted by 67King View Post
    Popov shaved his head, so I don't think that is a fair comparison......

    Two things not mentioned:
    1. Protect your hair. My hair is a LOT less brittle and stiff when I wear a cap.
    2. Probably (i.e. I am speculating) keeps your hair out of the pool, and helps alleviate strain on the pool filtration system.
    Yes! Also to keep my hair on my head. My last regular pool's chlorine levels fluctuated a lot & having a cap helped me not lose hair on my head. Plus, yeah, less hair falling into the water.

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    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Cap Advantage?

    Quote Originally Posted by 67King View Post
    Popov shaved his head, so I don't think that is a fair comparison......

    Two things not mentioned:
    1. Protect your hair. My hair is a LOT less brittle and stiff when I wear a cap.
    2. Probably (i.e. I am speculating) keeps your hair out of the pool, and helps alleviate strain on the pool filtration system.
    I mentioned #2 in my snide comment way above! Can't express in writing how annoyed I get when I partially ingest a long hair and then see swimmers in the pool with long hair (males and females) not wearing caps. This is pool pet peeve #2 after those who don't shower before jumping in the pool. Yuck!
    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

    https://blogs.marathonswimmers.org/ironmike/

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Swim Cap Advantage?

    Quote Originally Posted by JPEnge View Post
    I highly doubt any elite swimmer is going to do a tapered 50 free in a brief anymore, so that makes it a bit of a moot point.
    In a brief without a cap

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