What to Wear After Swimming


No access to locker rooms?  It's cold outside! How do I get out of my swim suit for the ride home?  Won't it be cold?  These are some of the most common questions we've had since we re-opened the Natatorium.  Gracefully changing out of your wet suit into dry clothes after a swim with no access to locker rooms is no easy task. Swimmers call this “deck changing."  Have no worries, swimmers, as well as runners and triathletes are no strangers to changing their wardrobe in public. Due to the nature of these sports, swimmers, runners and triathletes are more comfortable with fewer clothes. This is “acceptable” behavior, it’s a “swimmers thing."  However, if you're new to the public change, it can feel a bit daunting.

Here's how to complete a deck change on the pool deck, patio, or near your vehicle without a wardrobe malfunction:

Step 1.  Make sure you have an adult sized towel. This is very important; it keeps you covered! Robes or wraps with Velcro also come in handy in this type of situation. You may also want to check out a changing/transition towel.

Step 2. Standing up, wrap the towel around your waist (guys) or under your armpits (gals) and secure by tucking the top corner into the rest of the towel.  The towel should be wrapped securely but not so tight you can’t move.

Step 3. Proceed with caution. You will only be wearing a towel once you gingerly pulldown your straps and shimmy your suit off under the towel.  Go slowly to ensure the towel is covering you the whole time. If you are nervous, face away from others. Practice one or two times before you try it in public.

Not ready for deck changing?  Here are a few more strategies to dry off and stay warm for your car ride home:

  • Bring an extra towel for the ride home.
  • Wear thicker/heavier sweatpants and sweatshirt that can absorb the water.
  • Before your put clothing over your wet bathing suit, try the deep squat technique to remove excess water. Wrap a towel around your waist and then get into a nice deep squat. Squeeze the back of your legs against your calves and push your hips back to squeeze any extra water out of your suit into the towel.  Ladies, if you lean forward bringing your torso to your thighs, you'll get some of the excess water out of the midsection of your suit.
  • Wear lots of layers including a hat, warm socks, and gloves based on the weather.
  • Once you get in your vehicle for the ride home you can turn on the heat.

A group of swimmers leaving the pool in the winter is quite a sight all huddled together with their parkas, towels, hats, gloves, and furry boots, but they're warm and you will be too!  Keep swimming and don't let closed locker rooms keep you from enjoying a recreational splash!


About Author

Jennifer Strobel

Recreation and Fitness Program Coordinator

Jennifer has worked at SAS in Aquatics & Fitness for 15 years. In addition to teaching Adult Swim Instruction, water exercise, and planning aquatic events she is a personal trainer and TRX Instructor. When she’s not teaching Aquatic and Fitness classes at SAS, she enjoys running, coaching Odyssey of the Mind, Girls on the Run and couponing.


  1. Harriet Lindor on

    Thank you for your tips! My friends and I are going to go swimming at a local pool today, and changing can be a pain. I'm sure these tips will help a lot.

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