It wasn’t till I obtained into aggressive swimming in junior excessive that I understood the significance of a swimmer’s cap. Like lots of people, I am certain, I believed it was simply an adjunct or a rule neighborhood swimming pools requested you to comply with. Little did I do know, caps play simply as essential a job in your efficiency as goggles do. Let me clarify — for somebody with longer hair like myself, a cap’s goal is sort of apparent, which is to maintain the hair out of your face. Nonetheless, for swimmers with buzzed or shorter hair, it might sound a bit pointless. Quite the opposite, a cap provides the identical advantages to each swimmer, regardless of their coiffure.
You see, whereas a swim cap does assist hold a swimmer’s hair tucked away, it additionally stabilizes their goggles and, extra importantly, reduces drag, which permits athletes to glide by the water extra shortly and simply. A extra environment friendly glide means cleaner strokes and a sooner time. That mentioned, you could discover Olympic swimmers sporting not one however two swimming caps after they race. The explanation for that is pace. Swimmers need to get rid of as a lot drag as potential, and if their goggle straps are uncovered, it will probably contribute to the general resistance they really feel within the water.
Usually, swimmer’s goggles sit on prime of a latex cap, which is then cemented in place by a sturdy silicone swim cap. The friction of the silicone towards the latex acts as a superglue to maintain the highest cap from falling off. Latex is extra more likely to wrinkle and tear as a result of it is constructed from a reasonable, very skinny materials, which is why it all the time goes on first. Plus, silicone has much less drag.
If the silicone cap falls off — and it does occur once in a while, with one notable instance being Dana Vollmer, who swam to a gold medal (and a world report) after dropping her cap on the 2012 London Olympics — there’s a minimum of a backup beneath. A cap will be the distinction between an Olympian going house with or with no medal. Fairly wild, proper?