Hats Off…to Swim Caps

While at swim team practice at our club pool during summers of the 1970s, the girls were expected to wear swim caps. The rules were clear:


Seriously, folks, everyone in the 1970s had long hair, even the boys, but somehow, they escaped the horror of wearing the thick, white, rubbery beast.  It felt like a helmet, enveloped the head since it was simply too large for most young girls (one size fits all!!).  Thankfully, there were no chin straps, or large flowers throughout to make things worse.



There’s been an on-again, off-again love affair with wearing a swim cap.  Rarely used during my high school and collegiate competitive swimming days, my hair fell victim to the “chlorine invasion.”   Hairdressers could tell immediately who was a swimmer by the golden-sheened strands, the disintegrating ends, and, for the poor blond-haired kids,  that unmistakeable green tinge.



Anti-chlorine shampoos weren’t invented then, in fact, my swim club teammates thought it would be cool to use the hair lightening product known as “Sun-In” on their hair to really “blond it up” after swim practices.  Why? Because being blond was THE THING back then when it came to popularity (and probably still is).   Trouble is, many of the kids were brunettes, and this early version of Sun-In turned their hair orange.  Some of our teammates looked like a bunch of cute, brassy-haired children from Ireland.

One of my college teammates was a faithful cap wearer, and her hair, for the most part, stayed “normal” looking where the rest of us could pull our wet hair in different directions and it would stay. (Oh, the fun we had on Halloween…).

Today’s caps are superior to the boxy caps of old. Thinner, quite colorful, and shaped more like someone’s head, they aren’t as cumbersome and odd-looking, not to mention they look pretty cool when worn with mirrored goggles.


As my very first Masters swim meet in “a few” years approaches, I get to choose one of many of my new, updated caps to don.  I cannot wait!  However, my biggest fear is of this meet is not the huffing and puffing I’ll do after the 500 Free, but that my goggles will fall off after I dive in, so I’m considering wearing a cap over my goggle straps – and another cap underneath.

Kind of like a goggle sandwich.


There is a great deal of gratitude I feel towards today’s swim caps, and wearing a contemporary, well-fitting cap at this meet will boost my confidence like never before.

Stay tuned to see how I survived my first meet in 33 years…it should be interesting and fun!!




Author: sinkorswim204

I'm a “veteran” Broadcast producer as well as a former high school and collegiate swimmer who still loves to write. I hope to inspire others to stay afloat in these often turbulent waters while enjoying some new challenges in my middle age.

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