Obviously you will need a swimsuit to learn how to swim. For men, these are usually swim briefs or
swim trunks. Boardshorts aren’t very good for swimming as they create too much drag.
Furthermore, they are forbidden in certain pools for hygienic reasons. For women, the most
comfortable swimsuit is the one-piece swimsuit.
In most cases, a swim cap is required when swimming in a public pool. And a swim cap is also very
useful if you have long hair and want to avoid that it gets into your face while swimming.
If you are serious about learning how to swim, swimming goggles are also mandatory as they will
allow you to put your head under water without getting water in the eyes. This will permit more
relaxed and streamlined swimming.
When you are learning front crawl or backstroke, it takes coordination to integrate breathing into
the stroke, and it usually takes a while to learn how to do this. Using a nose clip keeps water out of
the nose, so it’s one thing less to worry about during the initial learning stage.
Swim fins are a great tool to have while learning the crawl and butterfly strokes. They give you an
efficient kick and allow you to focus on the arm motions in crawl and on the body undulation in
butterfly. My preference goes to the short kind of swim fins, like Zoomers or the Speedo Biofuse, as
they put less strain on the Achilles Tendon.
The pull buoy is a figure-eight shaped flotation device made of foam which you put between your
legs. It gives the lower body enough buoyancy so that you don’t need to do leg work and is great to
learn arm motions. Certain swimmers also use it to do front crawl lap swimming, but in my opinion
this isn’t very useful as it masks balance problems.
Water noodles (also called swim noodles) are long colored flexible cylinders made of foam. They
are great pool toys but also interesting to use as flotation devices that support the upper body while
learning correct leg motions.
The kickboard is also used to isolate leg work and can be interesting in certain cases. However, it
can strain the shoulders, especially it is held in front of you with extended arms, and that’s why I
prefer to use a water noodle in most cases as an alternative.