If you are looking for some swimwear to wear while you are training for a specific swimming event or just to keep fit then I put together this quick guide on the different types of training swimwear you can wear.
Swimming briefs, Speedos or Budgie Smuggles. Whatever name you know them by they have a bad reputation outside of swimming circles. But swimming briefs are great for training in. They allow for greater flexibility in your legs and you don't get as warm as you do when wearing jammers or shorts.
8cm vs 14cm Swimming Briefs
You can get different cuts of swimming briefs. The most common are 8cm and 14cm. This is basically the length of the fabric going vertically down your leg. So 8cm are smaller and have less coverage.
Jammers are basically swimming cycling shorts. They finish just above the knee. They are popular because they are a bit more modest the swimming briefs. They can also help compress your muscles if you buy expensive ones. These are usually worn for racing and competitive swimmers can spend around £200-300 on a racing swimsuit. Most professional swimmers do not train in Jammers for the reasons I gave above about swimming briefs.
Racing Jammers vs Training Jammers
Racing jammers are really expensive. They are slightly different to training jammers because they are sealed differently and the fabric is a bit faster in the water. They are usually really tight and therefore compress leg muscles to help maintain energy levels.
They also degrade much faster because the fabric is much lighter. So you don't actually get that many swims out of racing jammers.
Training in Jammers can get too hot
Sometimes when the pool is warm or its summer you may find yourself getting really hot in Jammers. Because they cover more surface area you can find your legs getting really hot and then the rest of you follows.
This is one of the reasons competitive swimmers don't tend to train in them (although a lot of young children train in jammers because they feel more comfortable and so do the parents.)
Mens Drag Shorts
Drag shorts are usually worn over the top of another swimming costume. The idea is to add drag so when you take them off you feel faster. It's the same principal as running with weights in a backpack.
The negatives of drag shorts
Although still worn by some professional swimmers whilst training. There is some debate if it is good practice to wear them because by adding drag it changes your bodies position and can affect technique as your body compensates for the drag.
Modern coaches use tools such as parachutes to have the same affect but only use them during certain swimming training sessions rather than wearing them the whole time.
In fact some swimmers actually wear banned training swimsuits in training to get their bodies used to swimming really fast.
Baggy Swim Shorts
No competitive swimmer ever wears baggy or classic swim shorts or board shorts. This is because it has too much of an effect on drag and slows you down a whole tonne. It's also very difficult to kick your legs whilst wearing baggy swim shorts.
Training in baggy swim shorts is like running in jeans or really baggy wet pants.