Whether your child is in a swimming class to improve his technique or you're joining a water aerobics class for fitness, the correct gear can make all the difference for the most comfort in the water. While each course may vary in its clothing requirements, knowing what is generally acceptable can help you feel prepared and confident. Ask ahead of time to make sure that your gear is acceptable and then take the plunge.
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Men should wear swimsuits that offer coverage, but won't drag and cause discomfort in the water. Swimming coach Wayne Goldsmith notes on his website that spending a ton of money on a high-tech suit won't make you a better swimmer. Invest in a practice suit instead and focus less on your clothes and more on perfecting your technique. You may also need a swimming cap if you have longer hair or prefer to not get your hair wet.
For women, a swimming class is not the place to wear a skimpy bikini, which could slide and become uncomfortable. Wear a moderate-coverage practice suit instead. What's more, a practice suit allows your instructor to better see your form so he can correct technique issues more efficiently. You'll likely also need a swimming cap to keep hair under wraps and limit its exposure to chlorine, which can become problematic if you're in the pool often.
If your child is not potty trained, check with the pool rules before you put him in his swimsuit -- he may be required to wear a swim diaper and plastic pants in case of an accident. Older kids can simply wear a swimsuit, so choose one that is comfortable. If your child tends to get cold easily, you can purchase long-sleeved thermal swimsuits that look more like wet suits. These also work well for outdoor swimming classes, because they block sunlight.
While you should always check with the class instructor to find out what to bring to the pool, some accessories -- such as swim caps and goggles -- are usually acceptable. Look for goggles that fit around the head snugly and create a tight seal around the eyes to limit leakage and, unless requested by your teacher, leave snorkel-style goggles at home. Children may be required to bring a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket, so check the class resources ahead of time.