Whether you're cooling off during a weekly swim in the local outdoor pool or training daily for a triathlon in a state-of-the-art aquatics center, you'll want to outfit yourself with gear made for the pool. Presenting the 10 best summer swimming products for 2011, from suits to shampoo.
Right before you jump in, rub on some DermaSwim pre-swimming lotion ($14; dermaswimpro.com). The thick, white cream blocks the absorption of chlorine into the skin, which helps prevent drying, itching and that chloriney odor that often lingers after a long workout. You'll feel a little greasy, but only until you start swimming. And don't worry, the lotion doesn't make the pool water gross.
Zoot's Lush suits ($75; zootsports.com) come in funky mosaic patterns. The straps, which aren't sewn together where they cross in the back, tend to twist annoyingly when you put the suit on, but after you straighten them out, the suit is comfortable and flattering—even during super-long training sessions. The Lush, which also comes in a sporty two-piece, is lined and chlorine resistant.
Can't decide between thick or thin straps? Compromise with Barracuda's ASSYM ($55; barracudausa.com), which rocks an asymmetrical style. If you're used to logging laps in a racerback suit, you might find the shoulder openings a little confined at first, but after a few thousand meters, you'll hardly notice a difference. The ASSYM is a high-quality product that fits well and offers good coverage. The suit makes its debut in July.
Sable WaterOptics anti-fog goggles ($45; sablewateroptics.com) will fit any face, thanks to removable nose bridges that come in three sizes. Silicone liners create a watertight seal, and the non-slip strap is easy to adjust. Customizable prescription lenses are available at an extra cost. The 922s (pictured above) are ideal for training sessions, while the sleek 101s ($50) are great for racing.
If you're looking for less expensive eyewear, consider the Barracuda Vision XL goggles ($22; barracudausa.com). The self-adjusting nose bridge means these goggles will sit comfortably on any face, without swapping out parts. The large lenses offer good peripheral views and come in a variety of mirrored and non-mirrored ($20) colors, such as blue, smoke and silver. All styles use the latest anti-fogging technology.
If you don't want to rely on those hard-to-read pool clocks, or if you can't remember if what lap you're on, check out Finis' Lap Track ($75; finisinc.com). This little gizmo attaches to the pool wall via suction cups or mounting brackets and will record your laps, pace, splits, calories burned and more. The numbers are large enough to read on the fly, and all you have to do to record a lap is press down on the face. Powered by two AAA batteries, the device has a memory capacity for up to 50 laps. See how many you can swim.
Italy-based Cressi has been a leader in the diving world since the 1940s. In 2005, the company created a line of swimming specific products, which now includes the impressive Palau light fins ($26; cressi.com). The soft, short blade allows for easy kicks without cramping, and the foot pocket is easy to get into, even in the water.
Swimming might be great for your body, but it's not so great for your hair. Pool chemicals can make your tresses dry and brittle. Put some life back into your locks with UltraSwim's chlorine removal shampoo and conditioner ($5; ultraswim.com), which are formulated to attack chlorine build up in all types of hair. And they smell good, too.
Fuel up after your swim with Kate's Real Food Stash Bar ($2.69 each, $19.14 for a package of six; katesrealfood.com). This dark chocolate and peanut butter tasty treat contains hemp, which means you'll get 9 grams of good post-workout protein. Stash Bars, like all of Kate's products, are made with whole, unprocessed, natural ingredients. Yum.
That's a lot of gear, huh? Well, pack it all up in L.L. Bean's waterproof duffel bag ($119; llbean.com). At first glance, this polyurethane-coated nylon bag appears gigantic, but once you stuff it full of swim gear, a towel, a change of clothes, a hairdryer, toiletries, etc., you won't have much room to spare. Plus, you can leave it on the pool deck without worrying about the insides getting wet -- or leave it in your car and know that moisture from wet items inside won't leak out.