Swimwear guidance for the pool

Swimming is one of the most accessible and inclusive activities and everyone should feel confident and comfortable while in the water.

Over the years swimwear has come on leaps and bounds. So have policies relating to guidance about what you can wear in pools. It’s important you feel confident and comfortable – but that you are also safe.

What to wear in the pool

There are different styles of swimwear. These include

  • One-piece swimsuit
  • Tankinis (long top)
  • Bikinis
  • Skirted swimsuits
  • Swim shorts
  • Trunks
  • Swim briefs

Depending on your local pool policy or the activity you are doing, a range of other types of clothing may be worn. This can include:

  • Fitted t-shirt or leggings under swimwear
  • Wetsuit style or fitted swimming t-shirt
  • Burkini swimming costume
  • 3/4 length swim shorts in thin nylon material
  • Swim or board shorts
  • Leggings with or without shorts

What not to wear in the pool

The important thing to note is that clothing shouldn’t be overly baggy or made of heavy materials such as denim or wool. These can become water logged and heavy, making it difficult to swim or float. It is also important to make sure pieces of clothing can not get stuck in filters or other parts of a pool, which makes lycra a good material to wear.

Other clothing which shouldn’t be worn includes:

  • Leggings over swimwear
  • Baggy t-shirt and trousers
  • Tracksuits or jogging bottoms
  • Outdoor shorts or trousers
  • Jeans

Please note: The above is guidance only. Please contact your local pool for further information and guidance on suitable swimwear.

You can find contact details for your local pool using our PoolFinder listings.

Competitive swimwear

In 2017, new swimwear guidance for competitive swimming was introduced which allows swimmers who wear full body suits to compete in all Swim England licensed swimming meets and national events.

Read the full guidance on our Competitive Swimming website.

What else will I need to take?

Picked a new swimsuit but not sure what else you will need? Read our how to pack for swimming article for more ideas and inspiration.