Will a swim shirt help keep me warm in the pool?
September 10, 2012 2:41 PM   Subscribe

Is there a swim shirt that will help keep me warm in the pool?

Newish to lap swimming, love it but chill easily. I've seen a couple women at the pool wearing long sleeved shirts in the water. I believe they are 'rash guards' and are meant to help keep people from burning. I can't seem to find good info on whether they'll also help keep me warm or not. Has anyone had experience with these? I'm not cold enough to consider a wetsuit, or anything, but a little warmth boost to help diminish that brief feeling of awfulness I have before and during getting in the pool would be nice.
posted by toomuchkatherine to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, these are rash guards, used originally to prevent rashes from sliding around on a surf board. They also block some sun rays (I got one when I wanted to continue snorkeling after I got a pretty good burn the first day).

In my experience, they also help conserve temperature. O'Neill makes good ones (though mine's on the thinner side), and my husband (who has trouble staying warm) got a thicker Billabong one that has kept him warm in cooler water. Look for a thicker one in a dark color (if you're outside).
posted by bookdragoness at 2:52 PM on September 10, 2012

mrs_goldfish wears a swimsuit made of wool. Wool retains some warmth even under water.
posted by feral_goldfish at 3:00 PM on September 10, 2012

You can also look for dive skins, which are just thin wetsuits.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:02 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm very sensitive to temperatures, and have been using a rash guard for the last few years. I highly recommend swimoutlet.com, specifically this. Of all the ones I've tried, this is the only one that worked on my body type (swimmer's shoulders and bigger chest). It will still be tight, but this one allows me to breathe. (It's also pretty inexpensive!) I found that long sleeve ones were much to long on my stumpy arms, which is why I went with a short-sleeve one. I also found that I was most sensitive to the cold on my back and upper chest. YMMV.

I tried a zip up swim jacket type things, but wouldn't recommend it-- it had WAY too much drag. (Which was good for training, but when I would do sprints I had to take it off... and have a skin reaction to the cold water.)
posted by veryhappyheidi at 3:18 PM on September 10, 2012

You could get a Triathlon Top or suit. They're designed to be worn under wetsuits during a triathlon and then on the bike and run, so they're not bulky, are made for performance and look more badass than a rashguard. :)
posted by floweredfish at 3:24 PM on September 10, 2012

As a general note, the type that veryhappyheidi linked to is called raglan sleeve construction, which typically works best for people with wide shoulders and can accommodate more shoulder shapes. Many of the rash guards I've seen (and many athletic shirts) have raglan sleeves.
posted by bookdragoness at 3:53 PM on September 10, 2012

I've used a long sleeved leotard or tight fitting nylon lycra shirt to help me stay warm in the water. That was for staying warm after getting in though.

The cold when you first get into the pool though -- I don't think you can avoid that easily. There's a trick scuba divers use to warm up a wetsuit when winter diving, where you pour warm water inside the neck of the wetsuit. If your swimming involves extending the arms past your neck, you'll find that you have a new moment of shock when cold water suddenly hits your armpits.

Not sure what you mean about the brief feeling of awfulness before getting into the pool. If it's chilly walking toward the pool, maybe a garment that is very quick to remove would help reduce the time when you are exposed to the air. If thinking about getting into the cold pool is a bother, try to avoid watching other people doing this before you get in yourself.
posted by yohko at 4:09 PM on September 10, 2012

NRS HydroSkin is good, but look around the website for lots of options.
posted by The Dutchman at 8:26 PM on September 10, 2012

Yes, it will keep you slightly warmer--I usually don't notice the difference until I take it off and realize how much colder I would have been without it. Make sure you get one that fits well/tight, especially in the sleeve area. I like my NRS Hydrosilk rashie.
posted by anaelith at 1:06 AM on September 11, 2012

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