The Racing Cap – An Underestimated Necessity

Swim Tech
Written by: Michael Coiner at 15 March '18 0
You are reading: The Racing Cap – An Underestimated Necessity

As swimmers, swim caps are our constant companions. After wearing them during practice day after day, you wonder why any sane person would go in the water without one? But once race day hits, the swim cap tends to get pushed to the back of the mind. Swimmers will focus more on their warm-up routine or their racing suit rather than which cap to wear and why. In reality, the swim cap is very important during a race. Here’s why:

Movement through the water

Swimming is all about hydrodynamics. We want to make our bodies as smooth and slick as possible when moving through the water. Resistance or drag, no matter how small, can affect the outcome a swimmer’s race. The same can be said about swim caps. Traditional latex or silicone caps typically create wrinkles on top of the head, which in turn creates drag (see image below). Your head is one of the first things to hit the water when diving in. That drag from the cap will slow the swimmer down right off the bat.

A dome cap eliminates this problem. This type of cap is 3D-molded or formed around the shape of a human head. This molding process removes the wrinkles and provides a smooth surface across the top of the head. A dome cap makes a difference in a race and can help you improve your time. Competitive swimming experts agree wearing a dome cap, “is the easiest thing someone can do to swim faster.”  

3D Soft Cap – Combining Performance with Comfort

We know we want to wear dome caps during our races, but let’s face it – the majority of them are not very comfortable. In the past, swimmers have preferred a helmet-like race cap like our current 3D Ultra. In recent years there has been a call for softer caps with a second-skin effect. The 3D Soft cap is the answer to that call. This cap replaces the 3D Ultra as our most premium molded racing cap. It is made of a soft, flexible silicone material whose quality is higher than the market standard. Although it is very thin, the material is very resistant. Available in three sizes, the cap fits securely on the head, but does not squeeze the head and is, therefore, more comfortable.  The sticky surface on the inside prevents the 3D Soft from riding up the forehead. It is also incredibly easy to put on. In short, the 3D Soft combines all the benefits of a true 3D race cap with the comfort and ease of a silicone cap. More importantly, this particular cap is exclusive to arena. No other brand offers a cap like it.

What about the other caps?

Although our 3D Soft cap is our newest and most hydrodynamic cap, we do offer two other racing cap options. The 3D Ultra cap is designed with varying thicknesses throughout. The material is twice as thick across the top of the head and thinner along the sides. This provides maximum balance and buoyancy. The 3D Race cap is similar to the 3D Soft and is made out of a high-grade silicone, which provides superior compression and sticks to your head.

In the end, caps are important and should not be overlooked. A proper racing cap could mean the difference between first and second place.   


Written by:

Michael Coiner

Michael Coiner spent over a decade in the competitive swimming world. Her love for the sport drove her to compete through college. Now she lives the life of a “swammer” - hopping in the pool whenever she can, eager to tell her stories to other up-and-coming swimmers. She has always had a passion for writing and has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest in the United States and takes full advantage of the pristine outdoors that surround her home.