Beauty Problems Only Swimmers Will Understand


Beauty Problems Only Swimmers Will Understand

Any athlete will tell you that, sometimes, the game gets messy. It’s not designed to be glamorous or cosmetic. Instead, it’s about getting into the competition and getting the job done. It requires grit, determination, and pushing the limits of mind and body, and all of these things can certainly be reflected in an athlete’s appearance. Sports, especially swimming, come with specific problems and issues that may unwillingly identify a swimmer even when they’re not in a suit on deck. Here are a few issues surrounding beauty and hygiene that swimmers may exclusively struggle with:

Dry, Brittle Hair

Do you want to (healthily) change your hair color? Do you crave the thick curtain of hair that cascades down your back in beautiful waves or forms tight ringlets of cute, bouncy curls? Well, then you better find and invest in some good hair products, because the pool is not your friend to achieving any of the above goals. Only swimmers know a complete disregard for haircare not because they don’t want to try, but because their hair is so beyond help already.

Chlorine is a cruel mistress, and very little escapes her drying and brittle clutches, least of all an athlete’s hair. Non-swimmers may assume swim caps help, but that’s the misconception of the century. So if you’re as passionate about your hair as you are about your sport., do your research, talk to a hairstylist or professional you trust, and be prepared to follow a dedicated and likely in-depth hair routine.

Chlorine = Perfume

Chlorine is not only a cruel mistress but also one who leaves her mark. A mark that, no matter how many showers you take, will still be detectable to sensitive noses. Chlorine is a strong chemical, for the whole purpose of it being involved in pools is to keep them clean. With the strong cleanliness comes a strong smell that, when you swim in it as much as competitive swimmers typically do, sinks into your pores and won’t get out. Wear it loud and proud because that odor tells people you’re a top-notch athlete who is serious about your craft.

You’re Nails Will Never Stay Done


Photo Courtesy: Sue Borst

Nail polish is a great way to express feelings or passions, have fun, and overall feel good about what’s going on with your hands. Yet, in a match of chemicals, the harsh ones of the pool usually win out over even the strongest products available for manicures. Either the chlorine will wear down your nails and cracks the polish, or it slowly eats away at your fresh set, chipping without you even noticing.

Permanent Bruises and Scrapes

On outdoor pools, the deck tends to be pavement, concrete, or some other hard surface that makes scrapes a real possibility. In indoor pools, bumpy grates and high walls are standard that require a lot of pushing and plenty of awkward positions to successfully get out. Those positions and pushing used to leave me with permanent bruises above my knees because of my get-out-of-the-pool-tired-after-practice technique. So long as your bruises and scrapes don’t hurt or raise concerns with health professionals, they’re a necessary evil. Learn to co-exist with them, especially if you follow the other typical swimmer stereotype of being clumsy on land.

Itchy Skin

Being immersed in water for long periods of time is rough for anyone’s skin. If it’s water mixed with the previously established cruel chlorine, it’s even worse. Dry skin is made worse, into a canvas of itchiness where even the slightest lift of a finger or rub against the skin can cause an avalanche of itching that feels like the bite of a thousand mosquitos. It’s not pleasant, but can be solved with the avid application of lotion, and a lot of it.

Clothes Never Fit Right

The muscular frame, the broad, angled shoulders…all the identifying physical features of a swimmer. It makes us look cool and tough, but it makes finding attire incredibly inconvenient. Pants that may fit tight to the calf and thigh are gigantic on the waist. Specific shirts and blouses made in constricting materials make you feel like the Hulk, ready to rip the item if you overextend. Know what you like, be patient when developing your personal style, and wear whatever makes you feel good with confidence. It might not always be what’s trendy, but swimmers are far beyond a brief fad anyway.

You’re not alone in the dilemmas swimming may cause you, and you’re not any lesser because you might not be able to look or feel exactly the same as your friends who don’t face these issues. Being a swimmer is about so much more than surface-level issues, and gives so much more to you than just physical issues. Keep your head high, and remember that your beauty and your value come from a deeper place than the surface of your skin.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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1 year ago

All these are Still true after 30 years of not competing. But I like the, what I’ve convinced myself is the clean smell of chlorine oozing out of my pores with just fitness swimming 4x a week. Much better than any BO smell! I did lose a buddy who couldn’t stand my chlorine “perfume”.

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