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Common Swimming Myths and Their Surprising Truths

Chances are that you’ve heard at least a few of these commonly repeated swimming myths. Sometimes inaccurate ‘facts’ get tossed around so much that they are hardly ever disputed. But AquaGear® is here to clear the air on some of the most common swim myths. Take a look below and see if you’ve been misinformed after all these years around the pool.

Avoid swimming myths by staying informed.
Swimming myths, like holding your breath underwater, are detrimental to your performance.

Myth #1: Always wait 30 minutes after eating to go swimming.

Truth: Feel free to jump in at any time!

The old wives tale of waiting at least 30 minutes after eating before getting in the water turns out to be a big waste of time. The idea behind this common myth is that when eating food your blood pools to the digestive track and takes away a crucial amount of blood from the extremities. Truth of the matter is, some blood does rush to the core to aid in digestion, but there is more than enough to keep your arms and legs properly functioning. If you don’t feel bloated or excessively full, feel free to hit the water.

Myth #2: A pool that smells of strong chemicals must be a clean pool.

Truth: Those strong chlorine smells don’t always mean the water is the cleanest.

While it may sound contrary to common sense, a treated pool that has little to no smell is actually the cleanest of them all. Pools that have a heavy chemical odor are often the result of a negative chemical reaction. The mix of chlorine and contaminants releases a strong smell and has a hard time disinfecting the water as well as a properly balanced pool.

Myth #3: I’m a sinker, not a floater!

Truth: Anyone can swim with the right practice and state of mind.

If this myth were true, then any Olympic swimmer, all of whom have a lower body fat percentage than the average person, would technically be a sinker. It doesn’t matter how much body fat you have or how lean you are – anyone can be a good swimmer, or even just a floater. Buoyancy is best achieved by relaxing and is not necessarily attributed to body fat. And, of course, swimming has moved far beyond just floating and requires strength and technique, not fat, to function.

Myth #4: Always hold your breath underwater.

Truth: While you don’t want to suck in water, you should be exhaling air.

We all learn from an early age to hold our breath while underwater. It only takes one lung full of water to learn that lesson. But, when it comes to swimming, holding your breath actually works against you. To make the most out of your stroke, you should be exhaling your breath underwater so that when you come up for a breath, your lungs are able to quickly take in as much oxygen as possible. If you have trouble with breath control, start your pool time out with some deep-water bobs – breathing out while under the surface and inhaling quickly and sharply above the surface. Bobs should always occur in rapid succession in order to gain control of the exhale. Not a fan of bobs? Just add a swimmer’s snorkel to your repertoire and remove the issue from the equation.

Myth #6: If I showered earlier, I don’t need to shower again before swimming

Truth: You should always rinse off before hitting the lanes.

Without even knowing, microscopic residue builds up on our skin throughout the day. Sweat, oil, and other wastes cling to our skin at all times, regardless of how hygienic your routine is. And because these things can easily wash off in pool water, it’s always best to shower before and after swimming. This sometimes unknown step will help keep you, and the pool, as clean and healthy as possible. Try to find a shower gel made specifically for swimmers to remove chlorine and bromine residue post-swim.

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