Lap Swimming Equipment: The Athlete Approved Guide

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Swimming laps is one of the best things you can do for yourself. The exercise is amazing for your health. The zen is great for your mind. The feeling of accomplishing a swim workout just makes your day better!

The right swim equipment will maximize your results allowing you to show up acting like a pro (instead of a total newbie).

Since lap swimming is so popular, the options for the best swim equipment can be overwhelming. There are tons of different equipment, so we are here to help you learn the absolute best things needed.

Athlete Approved is dedicated to helping lap swimmers, so we created this all-in-one guide to help you quickly determine which swimming tools are essential for you.

This ultimate lap swimming guide consists of the following topics. Feel free to jump ahead to any section with these quick links:







Swimsuit For Lap Swimming

When you show up to the pool to swim laps, there are two must-have items that are non-negotiables. The first is a swimsuit. The second are goggles.

You may be thinking: “Doesn’t everyone know you need a swimsuit to go swimming?”. After managing and being around pools for over 30 years, you would be surprised to learn how many people show up without one.

Swimming with no cover usually does not happen (and I wish I could say it has never happened, believe me). The more common site is swimming with shorts, tank tops, or sports bras.

Pool staff will kick you out right away if they spot this for three reasons:

Firstly, clothing absorbs extra weight which will increase likelihood of drowning.

Secondly, clothing materials tend to carry contaminants that are unhealthy for the pool water.

Thirdly, it is not a socially acceptable norm. Even though underwear covers the same parts as swimsuits, it is not appropriate to wear underwear in a pool.

The best lap swimsuit for women is the Speedo Women’s Swimsuit One Piece Endurance+ Super Pro:

  • Quality – Made of highly durable fabric that is meant to last hours in the pool
  • Coverage – This swimsuit offers great support and coverage, making it a good choice for women who want to feel confident in the pool
  • Quick-Dry – The Endurance+ fabric is also quick-drying, so you won’t have to spend long hours waiting for your suit to dry after a swim.

The best lap swimsuit for men is the Speedo Men’s Swimsuit Brief Endurance+.


  • Durability – The Endurance+ fabric is made to last longer
  • Support – Provides support while giving free rotational and kicking movement
  • Speed – Designed to help you swim faster
  • Color Options – Check out the Endurance+ Printed Color Suits for more designs of this suit

Goggles For Lap Swimming

Goggles are the second most important piece of equipment that lap swimmers absolutely must-have at the pool.

If you are even the least bit serious about lap swimming, you need to wear goggles for a number of reasons.

Goggles allow you to see underwater. This is important so that you do not collide with other swimmers, the lane line, or hit your head on the wall. Having clear sight can prevent serious injury to yourself and fellow lane-mates.

Additionally, it is uncomfortable and harmful to keep your eyes open underwater for prolonged periods of time. The chlorinated water will turn your eye color red in no time.

The best goggles for lap swimming are the Speedo Vanquisher 2.0:


  • Versatile – Extremely popular option for both beginner and advanced swimmers
  • Vision Clear visibility with clear, blue, and tinted lens options
  • Proven Comfortable leak-proof suction


Snorkel For Lap Swimming

Do you want to know the single best training tool? It’s a snorkel.

Lap swimmers should use a center-mounted snorkel. These are designed specifically for lap swimmers. They run from your mouth through the center of your face.

Do not use a traditional snorkel that goes to the side of your face. That type will create drag and should be used for leisurely snorkeling adventures.

Snorkels are so popular for lap swimmers because they allow you to breath whenever you want. This allows learn-to-swim through Olympic swimmers to focus solely on their technique.

The best snorkel for lap swimming is the Finis Original Swimmer’s Snorkel:


  • The Original – The original swimmer’s snorkel, time tested and proven by Finis
  • Durable – Made of high quality material
  • Design – Sturdy, but not bulky

Fins For Lap Swimming

Fins are a vital training tool for lap swimmers and the easiest way to swim faster. While some swimmers think fins are a form of “cheating”, that could not be further from the truth.

Fins increase leg strength by making your legs work harder. Yes, you are going faster, but you have to work for that speed.

They help understand the proper kick technique. Wearing fins will amplify flaws in your kick, helping you understand where you need to improve.

Fins promote ankle flexibility, which is the fastest way to improve your kick. Swimmers want their ankles to freely whip with their leg motion; similar to a fish’s tail. That is why some runners with no flex go backwards!

Finally, they are fin! There is nothing wrong with strapping on a pair of fins to get the amazing feeling of water wizzing by your face and hitting an all-time personal best time in practice.

The best fins for lap swimming are the Arena Powerfin Pro:


  • Comfort β€“ Silicon material does not blister feet
  • Thrust β€“ Provides the ideal speed for training
  • Design β€“ Promotes ankle flexibility

Paddles For Lap Swimming

Paddles are fan favorite tool for lap swimmers with a number of benefits.

Similar to how fins build strength in your lower body, paddles do this in your upper body. They help you get that extra bit of work in your lat, chest, shoulder, and tricep muscles.

Paddles can also improve your technique. If you pull correctly, they stay on. If you pull by crossing-over or lose grip on the water, they can fall off.

They also provide just enough variety to your training to help you mix it up and stay engaged.

The best paddles for lap swimming are the Speedo Power Paddle Plus:


  • Design β€“ Perfectly crafted edges with holes that allow water to pass through
  • Durable β€“ Made of high quality material that is made to last
  • Trusted β€“ Manufactured by industry leader Speedo

Kickboard for Lap Swimming

Kickboards are used to isolate your kick. The best swimmers in the world are the best kickers in the world, so never skip the kick set!

Since your legs have largest muscles in your body, kicking is also a great way to warm up and increase your heart rate.

Using a kickboard will also help you focus on learning the best technique for your kick. It is a nice way to add variety to your swim workouts and there are also many fun ways to use a kickboard.

Kickboards are the most commonly found shared equipment for lap swimming, so you can typically find these at your local pool. They tend to deteriorate and get moldy over time if they are not dried properly, so it is worth considering picking one up for your use only.

While there are some special kickboards designed for technique, our top kickboard for lap swimming is the simple and durable TYR Kickboard:


  • Versatile β€“ Great option for swimmers of all ages and levels
  • Durable β€“ The 2-inch EVA foam is build to last because it is chlorine resistant and does not absorb water
  • Buoyancy β€“ The ideal buoyancy for kicking

Pull Buoy For Lap Swimming

Pull buoys are a lap swimmers best friend. Using one of these will build upper body strength, while keeping your lower body afloat.

Lap swimmers will often pair paddles with a pull buoy, but that is not required to get the benefits of pulling.

We recommend placing your pull buoy as high as possible between your legs. However, if you want to increase drag, then hold it between your ankles. The added resistance makes for a tough upper body workout.

Similar to kickboards, most pools have these in their equipment bins. However, they easily attract bacteria and visible mildew when not taken care of properly.

If you are going to use a shared pull buoy from an equipment bin, be sure to practice the old-time tradition of shooting it back into the equipment bin like a basketball. This will help remind you why you are a swimmer.

The best pull buoy for lap swimming is the TYR Pull Float:


  • Quality β€“ Long lasting EVA foam material
  • Trusted – Made by industry leader TYR
  • Buoyancy β€“ Provides the ideal buoyancy for lap swimmers of various levels


Swim Cap For Lap Swimming

Swim caps for lap swimmers serve a number of important functions. Swimmers with long hair will wear these on every swim.

First off, they protect your hair from pool chemicals. No one wants to have dry or brittle hair. The swimmer green-hair-tint is not a fashion statement.

Caps also keep hair out of your face. When you turn your head to breath, you want air, not bunch of hair in your mouth.

Lastly, swim caps make you faster. They reduce your drag and can even increase buoyancy.

Swim caps by our measure are recommended, but not 100% required. Some pools require you to wear a swim cap if your hair is a certain length. However, this is rarely enforced (like showering before entering the pool).

It is important to note that no swim cap will keep your hair dry. If you want to swim with dry hair, try kicking with a kickboard, water-jogging, or aqua-fitness.

The best swim cap for lap swimming is the Speedo Silicon Cap:


  • Fit β€“ Designed to be a comfortable cap that stays put
  • Durable β€“ The silicon material is made to last
  • Trusted Brand β€“ Made by Speedo

Earplugs for Lap Swimming

Earplugs for lap swimming prevent water from entering your ear.

Some swimmers are more susceptible to ear infections than others. For those swimmers, earplugs are the answer.

Swimmer’s ear is a bacterial infection within the ear canal. They are painful and easily prevented with earplugs.

There are different types of earplugs designed for swimmers. You can get pre-molded or silicon putty. Both do the trick, but we prefer the custom fit of silicon putty.

The best earplug for lap swimming is the Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Putty Earplugs:


  • Trusted Brand – Mack’s is the leader in the earplug industry and these are the Official Earplug of USA Swimming
  • Comfortable Seal – The most comfortable earplug available
  • Fits Any Ear Size – Silicon material molds to every ear

Nose Clip For Lap Swimming

The worst feeling at the pool is getting water up your nose.

The rush of water into your nostrils is painful and will leave you coughing. Not to mention, it is embarrassing and makes you look like a total beginner.

Luckily for us, nose clips are cool again. Just watch any high level swim meet and you will see top swimmers sporting nose clips.

Olympic level swimmers wear them to decrease the amount of water they need to exhale during turns and when kicking underwater on their back.

Everyday lap swimmers to wear them for the added nose protection and peace of mind.

The best nose clip for lap swimming is the Speedo Liquid Comfort Nose Clip:


  • Secure β€“ The contoured shape securely fits to your nose
  • Comfort β€“ The soft material provides a tight and comfortable fit
  • Storage β€“ Easy to stow in the handy carrying case

Chlorine Removing Shampoo For Lap Swimming

There are many benefits to swimming laps including health, relaxation, and socialization. Not included in this list is hair health.

Chlorine does wonders for keeping pool water clean and sanitized. One down side is that it can be tough on hair.

Hair is naturally porous, so it easily absorbs chlorine and other oxidized metals.

Wearing a swim cap is the first step to protecting your hair, the second step is using chlorine removing shampoo.

You can protect your hair and restore its natural sheen by following hair care tips for swimmers and using chlorine removing shampoo.

The best shampoo for lap swimmers is UltraSwim Chlorine Removal Shampoo:


  • Proven – Industry leading shampoo and conditioner for swimmers
  • Designed for Swimmers Tough on chlorine, but gentle on hair
  • Conditioner – Pair it with conditioner for the best repair

Swim Bag For Lap Swimming

Now that you have all your swim equipment, make your commute to the pool easier with a bag designed to carry swim equipment.

While fins, kickboards, paddles and other swim gear are great, they do not come in the most convenient sizes for transportation. That is why swim bags are specifically designed for this purpose.

The main features we look for in a swim bag is size, water resistance, air ventilation, and pockets for thing that need to stay dry (like your phone).

The best swim bag for lap swimmers is the Speedo Teamster 2.0 Backpack:


  • Size and Shape β€“ 35 liter swim bag with a sleek body
  • Ventilation β€“ The ventilating pocket helps air dry wet equipment
  • Pockets β€“ Multiple pockets to separate dry and wet items


Parka For Lap Swimming

A parka may look odd to non-swimmers (aka muggles)… but for swimmers they are almost a right of passage.

These extra large jackets keep you warm before, after, and between swims.

They designed to give full body coverage when you are wearing a swimsuit only. It is also big enough to put over any clothing as an extra layer.

Bonus points to parkas that are water proof and have enough space in them to discreetly deck-change under.

The best parka for lap swimmers is the Speedo Team Parka:


  • Inner Fleece β€“ Warm inner lined fleece makes it extra soft and fast drying
  • Design β€“ Sleek and modern look that can be zippered from the inside or outside
  • Trusted β€“ Made by industry leading brand Speedo

Robe For Lap Swimming

Robes are popular for lap swimmers to stay warm. They are an alternative for swimmers looking for something a little less intense and more light-weight than a parka.

Swimmers often use robes to cover up from locker room to the pool. It is awkward walking through a building half-naked.

The toughest part about swimming laps is actually getting in the water. Robes help make that transition just a little easier (and warmer).

Our favorite robes for the pool provide cover and also double up as a towel.

The best robe for lap swimmers is the Arena Unisex Core Soft Robe:


  • High-quality β€“ This robes is made of high quality fabric.
  • Absorbent β€“ The plush cotton terry cloth absorbs moisture quickly.
  • Made by swimmers β€“ Look the part with a swim robe made one of the world’s largest swim brands.

Towel For Lap Swimming

Nothing gives you a bigger sense of accomplishment than finishing a challenging swim workout. And to top off the feeling? Soak up that post-workout satisfaction with a luxuriously cozy, plush pool towel.

The best pool towels are soft to the touch and perfect for drying off after taking a dip.

Additionally, it is important to have a towel that is big enough to dry off with, but small enough to fit in your swim bag.

The best towel to bring with you to go lap swimming is the Chakri Turkish Linens Store Cabin Towel Pool:


  • Soft – This towel is extremely soft, fluffy, and smooth, when you wrap it around your body you won’t want to take it off.Β 
  • Luxurious – This product is 100% cotton and absolutely luxurious.Β 
  • Eco-Friendly – This product is eco-friendly, it is made from natural cotton and there are no harsh chemicals, dyes, or synthetic fibers in it.Β 


Waterproof Headphone for Lap Swimming

Runners listen to music. Bikers listen to music. Weightlifters listen to music. Why not swimmers? They can now with waterproof headphones.

Music is a powerful tool to help you up your lap swim game! Research indicates that listening to tunes while exercising can increase workout intensity, reduce fatigue and pain levels, as well as boosting mood.

We love waterproof headphones that use bone conduction. They vibrate sound through your cheek bones into your ear canal vs. earbuds which have in-ear placement.

Bone conduction sounds clearer and you don’t have to worry about getting water trapped in your ear behind an earbud.

The best waterproof headphones for lap swimming are the Finis Duo:


  • Bone Conduction β€“ Amazingly clear audio with patented bone conduction technology
  • Streamlined Design β€“ Easily secured to your goggle strap
  • Storage β€“ Stores 60 hours of playback

Pool Noodle For Lap Swimming

A pool noodle is a helpful, versatile piece of equipment that’s often overlooked. Lap swimmers don’t typically think of using one, but after completing a workout, it can provide support and encourage much needed relaxation.

Lying on top of a noodle in the pool promotes minimal resistance against the water; helping swimmers enjoy simply drifting around and recharging their batteries.

If you cannot find a kickboard, use a noodle as a substitute.

You can also use a noodle when working on “catch-up freestyle”. In this drill, you hold a noodle (or any object) out front with your lead hand, take a stroke, then hand it off to the other hand. This promotes distance per stroke and patience for Hip Driven Freestyle.

The best pool noodle for lap swimming is the FixFind Pool Noodle:


  • Versatile and functional for exercise, playing, and floating
  • Comes in multiple colors
  • Made of durable vinyl material


As a swimmer, coach, and aquatics director with over 30 years of experience, I know how important it is to have the right lap swimming equipment. I have also observed how daunting starting up can be to new swimmers.

I created this guide to help you find the best gear for your needs. Lap swimming is a great way to get exercise. It benefits your physical and mental well-being. With the right tools, you can make it even more productive and enjoyable.

Use this guide to help you choose the best equipment for lap swimming, so that you can have a great experience every time you hit the pool.

*Get the most out of your next swim with our Athlete Approved Guide to Lap Swimming Equipment! Equip yourself for success with our ultimate swim gear guide.*

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