Due to how similar swim caps look to bath caps, which are primarily used by women, they are often associated with women as well. However, if you’ve ever had the chance to look at any swimming competitions, you’ll notice that everyone wears swim caps, guys included.
In fact, there are some swimming pools that even have a rule that all swimmers must wear a swim cap, and naturally this includes men as well. So it’s not even a question of “should guys wear swim caps”, but a more interesting question is why they should wear swim caps in the first place.
To properly answer this question, we need to distinguish the difference between a shower cap and a swim cap. A shower cap is intended to protect sensitive hair by keeping them dry. A swim cap is not designed to keep hair dry; it is intended to streamline one’s head shape to make one more hydrodynamic.
Once you understand this difference in functionality, it should be quite obvious why guys would also want to wear a swim cap – they want to swim as fast as possible as well. Plus, there are even more benefits like warmth, increased visibility, and keeping hair from shedding into the pool, something that all swimmers can benefit from.
In this article, we will discuss why wearing a swim cap is great for all swimmers, guys included, and why it’s the norm for guys to wear swim caps as well.
Guys can have long hair too
The main way that swim caps can increase one’s speed in the water is by tucking in one’s hair tightly so that it’s not freely floating in the water. Hair that is not covered increases drag and can potentially get caught on the lane rope or get in someone’s way when swimming laps depending on how long the hair is.
Generally speaking, women are more likely to have longer hair than men, and thus they have the most to gain from wearing a swim cap. Conversely, guys tend to have shorter hair, and some male swimmers are bald, so men are the group with the least to gain from wearing a swim cap. With that said, it’s still a good idea for men to wear a swim cap anyways.
As the heading of this section states, guys can have long hair as well. Not that having long hair is a requirement for wearing a swim cap, but it’s all the more reason to wear one. Keeping long hair covered is beneficial not just for reducing drag, but also for keeping hair out of the pool.
Few things are worse to experience in the swimming pool than randomly grabbing a clump of hair that is floating around, or having strands of hair end up in your mouth. If only these long-haired people were considerate and wore a swim cap! The swim cap would catch all of the hair and keep it out of the pool where it can’t bother other swimmers or clog up the pool filter.
Even if guys have short hair, that little bit of hair can still increase drag underwater. There is no minimum length of hair required for a guy to be eligible to wear a swim cap; if they want to swim as fast as they can, it should not matter how long their hair is, they can and should wear a swim cap.
Even bald men can benefit from wearing a swim cap
The longer your hair, the more underwater resistance, or drag, you will experience. A swim cap covers up all of that hair, keeping it nice and compact, streamlining your head so that it’s like you don’t have any hair. Well, bald men literally don’t have any hair on their head, so does that mean they don’t need to wear a swim cap?
If the only factor swimmers cared about was being as hydrodynamic as possible, then no, bald men don’t need to wear a swim cap. However, a swim cap does much more than reduce drag.
We’ve already discussed how swim caps can keep hair from shedding into the pool, and that benefits all swimmers because someone else’s hair can end up in your hands or mouth even if you are bald.
Another couple of very important benefits of wearing a swim cap is warmth and sun protection. If you plan on doing any open water swimming where the water is much colder and the sun will be shining down on your exposed head, you need to cover your head with a swim cap if you’re bald.
Neoprene swim caps are the most insulating swim cap. Neoprene is the same material that wetsuits are made of and they work by preventing heat from being lost from the head.
In addition to being water resistant, neoprene is also UV resistant. It will absorb all of the UV rays and keep it from reaching your head, so you don’t have to worry about getting sunburnt or applying sunscreen on your dome.
That’s not all. Depending on the color and design of your swim cap, you can also drastically increase your visibility in the water. Again, this is a safety precaution for open water swimming so others can easily spot you. But, even in a crowded pool or a swimming competition, it’s good to be easily identifiable.
As you can see, swim caps do a whole lot more than just make you more hydrodynamic. As a man, bald or not, why wouldn’t you want all of these other benefits?
Don’t let women have all the fun
Fellas, if you thought that swim caps were something that only women could and should wear, think again. You have every right to wear a swim cap whether you have long hair or not, and whether you’re a competitive swimmer or not.
Swim caps have many advantages for swimmers of all skill levels, and that’s why they are even mandatory in some swimming pools. In fact, most swimming competitions require all of the competitors to wear swim caps anyways, not just the women.
Men, if you want to keep drag to a minimum, keep your head warm, increase visibility, keep hair from shedding into the pool, or to get used to wearing a swim cap in preparation for a competition, then you have every reason to wear a swim cap. Long hair or no, guys can and should wear a swim cap when swimming.