Why Do Olympic Swimmers Wear Parkas Before Racing

Why Do Olympic Swimmers Wear Coats Before Racing?

Wondering why Olympic swimmers wear coats before racing? Here are the reasons swimmers rely on swim parkas to swim fast when it matters most.

Each time the Olympics come around the interwebs get flooded with questions about all of the idiosyncratic things competitive swimmers do.

Things like: Why do swimmers slap themselves? Why do they wear two swim caps?

And of course, why do Olympic swimmers wear coats behind the starting blocks?

Swim parkas might not be the most aesthetically pleasing to look at, but they are all utility!

Here are the main reasons swimmers rock out with parkas on the pool deck:

A swim parka maximizes their warm-up.

Competitive swimmers perform a warm-up routine in the hours and minutes leading up to racing. This is to keep their muscles warm, joints loose, and have them in peak physical mode for racing to the top of the podium.

A swim parka helps them retain these elevated body heat levels so they can be ready to rock and roll when they get up on the blocks.

Why Olympic Swimmers Wear Swim Parkas

Keeps them warm.

Anyone who has been to a swimming pool knows that it can be quite chilly on the pool deck, especially after you hop out of the water and your wet skin meets cool air.

Swimmers are in and out of the water a lot at swim meets. Consider that they do at least one warm-up (a second warm-up if their first race isn’t until later in the session), they race, perform a warm-down, and so on.

They can be in and out of the water up to a dozen times in a single racing session. A swim parka helps to keep them warm when they are in and out of the water.

A place for their stuff.

The loadout each swimmer is just about the same, including swim goggles, swim caps, spare equipment, water bottle, music player, headphones, and their credentials for pool access.

A swim parka is a storage tool for all the essentials a swimmer needs to excel on race day. When they are diving off the blocks, and racing towards that gold medal, all of their stuff is stored in their parka, waiting for them when they get out of the water.


More Stuff Like This

The Swim Meet Warm Up: Everything You Need to Know About Preparing to Swim Fast. From the science behind it, what you should do if the water is too crowded, to best practices for fast swimming, here is everything you ever wanted to know about the swim meet warm-up.

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of YourSwimLog.com. He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.
Olivier is the author of the books YourSwimBook and Conquer the Pool. He writes all things high-performance swimming and is passionate about helping swimmers, swim coaches, and swim parents  master the pool. His articles were read over 4 million times last year and his work has                                  appeared on USA Swimming, SwimSwam, STACK, NBC Universal, and more. He’s also                                    kinda tall and can be found hitting noon-hour lap swims. You can learn more about                                       Olivier here.

Olivier Poirier-Leroy Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of YourSwimLog.com. He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.

Olivier is the author of the books YourSwimBook and Conquer the Pool. He writes all things high-performance swimming and is passionate about helping swimmers, swim coaches, and swim parents master the pool.

His articles were read over 4 million times last year and his work has appeared on USA Swimming, SwimSwam, STACK, NBC Universal, and more.

He’s also kinda tall and can be found hitting noon-hour lap swims. You can learn more about Olivier here.

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