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Swimming Cap

The three most common types of triathlon swimming cap materials are Lycra, latex and silicone, each with their own advantages and drawbacks. Personal preference and affordability tend to be the major factors when deciding between the three types.

Lycra Cap

Lycra is the same fabric found in most swimsuits, but it is not water proof, which is why it tends not to be used when in any competitive situation, such as a triathlon. Using a Lycra swimming cap reduces your speed in the water, so you should only use a Lycra cap for practice. The advantage Lycra has over silicone and latex is that it does not pull on the hair when using, making it much more comfortable for frequent users.

Latex Cap


Latex is perhaps the most popular material for a triathlon swimming cap, and being the least expensive it allows you to purchase several in a variety of colors to match any swimwear. Latex bathing caps are the type are most commonly distributed by triathlon staff during the signing in process. Latex is waterproof, so there is no drag once it gets wet like with Lycra caps. Though the latex may be prone to tearing, the low cost does make them easy to replace, and if treated with baby powder after drying, they can provide service for quite some time.

Silicone Cap

Silicone is similar to latex in waterproofing, and reducing drag when in the water, since it is designed to be water resistant in composition. Resistant to tearing, though not immune from it, these caps are slightly higher in price than the latex version. The silicone caps also come in a variety of colors to match with any swimwear, and require little in the way of maintenance to get long lasting wear from them. This type of swimming cap is also ideal for those who are allergic to latex.

Neoprene Caps

Specialty caps made for swimming in colder water and early season swimming are also available, and they are made of Neoprene. These caps are expensive in comparison to the three common types, and truly are for special situations when retaining heat is important.

Does Style or Color Matter?

An important bit of information for those new to competitive swimming in open water would be that the color of the cap is important. Make it the brightest color you can find, to enable you to seen when in the water. This is a time when gaudy and bright is better, and can help save you if there should be a problem, since you will contrast with the surrounding area and be easy to spot.

Whether new or experienced in the world of competitive triathlon swimming, choosing the right gear will increase your performance as well as your enjoyment while competing. While a swimming cap may not seem to be an essential part of your gear, it can make a big difference. The right cap will fit correctly and have no drag, giving you less resistance in the water and increasing your speed. When looking for your next triathlon swim cap, keep these things in mind and you'll find the perfect cap for you.

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