What's in My Swim Bag?

Lately I've been making a splash in Charlotte's public pools. And by splash, I mean I've been doggy paddlin' my way to my first triathlon coming up in June! But let me preface this post by saying: I was never on the swim team as a kid. The only formal freestyle training I got was when it was the only thing standing between me and big girl sleepover camp. Therefore, I'm definitely no mermaid, but nonetheless, I've devoted 2 workouts a week to swimming laps over the past month. 

With more confidence and a stronger chlorine tolerance, I'm slowly becoming part Phelps. Plus, with each lap, I've learned something new about what you need to check off a successful swim. So now I'm sharing the secrets of my swim bag and revealing all of my favorite essentials for working up a sweat, er um splash.

Swimming Essentials

1. A swimsuit.

I think it goes without saying that this is probably the most essential essential. Most public pools aren't too big on birthday suits, so save your public indecency for the locker rooms (something I'm still not totally comfortable with...) 

Plus who doesn't get excited about looking the part for your first dive in the deep end? So obvi the very first thing I did when I decided to start swimming was take a trip to Dick's Sporting Goods. I rummaged through all of those unsightly psychedelic Speedos that reminded me of my youth, and finally stumbled on one that didn't look like I was stuck in the 90s. 🙌

2. Goggles.

Unless you were blessed with Nemo's baby blues, I highly suggest you don't try to open your eyes under water like your 10-year-old self used to. I'll admit, I hate goggles just as much as the next gal, but I'll take raccoon indentions for chlorine-fried peepers any day. 

3. A swim cap.

I recently invested in my very first swim cap and I gotta say... they're weird AF. Not only do I feel like I'm walking around like a balding middle-aged man, but I'm still not actually sure that I'm wearing it on correctly. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ But either way, it does an adequate job of keeping my hair dry and it fools everyone into believing I must know what I'm doing. 👌

So here's the not so fun part about these spandex sombreros: they can be pretty pricey, considering they're nothing more than an oversized condom. I mean 10 bucks for some uncomfortably tight plastic? The darn thing at least better make me grow fins! (Fortunately I snagged my pink Nike one on sale for $7 at Academy Sports.)

4. A water bottle.

Sure it might seem like overkill to bring water to the pool. But do you really wanna be the newb that hydrates on aquatot pee? 'Nuff said. 

5. Coconut oil.

I'll admit it: I didn't come up with the genius idea to bring coconut oil all on my own. I reached out to some of my Instagram pals and a bunch of them actually recommended coconut oil for solving all of your pool probz: dry skin, hydrodynamics, you name it. 😜 The trick is to put it all over your body before you dive in, so that it can provide a moisture barrier between you and The Mean Chlorine.

Side note: I like to stick with organic coconut oils for ingestion, but when it comes to turning my body into an oil stick for a 30-min. dip, any ol' kind of coconut oil will do. 😉 Heck, you could even try olive oil if you're feelin' frisky. 

6. Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Face Lotion

When it's time to dry off, I hop in the shower for a quick rinse then lather my body in lotion. I don't know about y'all but I can't stand feelin' like a dried up prune post-splash. So I turn to Cetaphil to keep me scales-free. I've been using this facial lotion for about 4 months now, and I love how moisturizing and light it is.

7. Ouai Leave-In Conditioner

Yes, in theory, I should always wear my swim cap to keep my hair dry and chlorine-free. But in reality, I don't always feel like looking like a penis. So sometimes, I let my hair down and take the risk of the pool burning my scalp alive. But of course, I don't come unprepared: I always pack a trusty leave-in conditioner to 1) detangle my lion's mane, and 2) give me those effortless beach waves for the rest of my day. Ouai's Leave-In Conditioner is the one I've been using for awhile now, but there are so many other rockstar brands out there as well. To name drop a few: It's a 10, Nevo, Kerastase, and Living Proof.

9. Lucas PawPaw Ointment

I know you're just dying to know: what magical lip balm does Nathalie use to protect her lips from the harsh detriments of chlorine?? Well friends, of course any ol' chapstick won't do. (No, I'm so much more extra than that.) Which is why I turn to an Australian favorite: Lucas PawPaw Ointment, before and after my swim.

So what the heck is pawpaw, you may be asking? Well, it's known as the "hillbilly fruit" and it packs incredible hydrating properties. Technically it's more of an ointment, similar to Neosporin, but from my experience, it blows Eos, Blistex, and Carmex out of the water (no pun intended). And no worries: you don't have to go down under to hunt it down: you can actually find it at your good ol' Wally World, here.


So what are y'all packin' in your swim bag? I'm still pretty new to the game, so any swimming must-haves would be greatly appreciated!