Iron Mike's Marathon Swims The life so shorte, the crafte so long to lerne

12 Days of Christmas Gifts: Day Two

December 15, 2017 / by ironmike

Iron Mike here presents to you twelve days of gift ideas for the marathon swimmer in your life. Check back daily!

Day two: Friday, 15 December. Caps.

If you’re like me, you didn’t start out wearing caps. Didn’t seem to be a need. My hair has always been short enough that the goggle straps stayed put, for the most part. But as dear readers of this blog know, I learned my last time here in Moscow that caps are required in some pools. So I’ve gotten used to wearing them.

But, a swim cap is a swim cap is a swim cap, right? Not quite. You have choices when buying your cap. For marathon swimmers, I would recommend buying a highly visible silicone cap. Color doesn’t matter in a pool. The lifeguard is going to see you. But in open water, you want the drunk jet skiers to be able to see you from as far off as possible. I like bright orange and yellow. These colors stand out more in open bodies of water whether it is a sunny day or an overcast, rainy one. For caps, I am less attached to a brand than I am to the material (silicone) and colors.

The picture above is an example of the importance of bright colors. Look at the kayaks. Most of them are red or orange. Do you see the three that are not? They are lighter, white or light blue. Harder to spot. Imagine driving a boat at 30 knots.

Now look at the swimmers in the water. The heads that pop out at you are the ones wearing yellow. The ones wearing green are just a bit less visible.

Now this picture is of an overcast day. But look almost all the way across the river to the shore. See that little, round yellow buoy? And is that a yellow pedal boat? Even through the splash of dozens of arms, the main color that you see (besides wetsuit-black) is yellow from those caps.

Bottom line: Be visible.

Speedo silicone cap. Available in a nicely bright orange for the best visibility. I always have an extra one of these on-hand for when I bring a newbie to the lake with me. The more orange heads the better, as far as boaters are concerned.

TYR silicone cap. Available in a few bright colors, including pink (if you’re man enough).

2 thoughts on “12 Days of Christmas Gifts: Day Two

  1. Eric says:

    Same thing holds with diving. When you’re out in the middle of the water, no one can see you when you’re yelling and waving your arm but add a compressed air horn and a six-foot inflatable signaling device (orange on one side, yellow the other) and you greatly increase your spotting potential.

    • ironmike says:

      Stay tuned Eric for a future post on a highly visible piece of equipment I recommend for all open water swimmers!

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