Originally Posted by CoachBillG
The swim cap is literally, a mini wetsuit for your head. It is basically rubber and it floats. If you don't believe me, take it off and throw it in the water. That is added buoyancy for your head which makes your head float easier.
Swimming requires a great deal of sensitivity and your body receives a great deal of feedback. That extra 1-2mm on your head is a huge change!
I just had one of my triathletes who is new to swimming return from Costa Rica from vacation. He swam every day for 10 days down there. When he returned and jump back in the pool, for the entire session he was completely out of whack, off balance and uncomfortable. He emailed me very concerned that he "forgot" how to swim. I told him not to sweat it and that he just became very use to the buoyancy of the salt water. It took him two pool sessions just to become familiar again with pool water.
Thinking you are cheating by wearing a swim cap is like saying it is cheating wearing a swim suit and a pair of goggles ;-p
Yes indeedy on both counts here!
I swim in the pool and in chilly, salty open water. When I swim a lot of crawl in ow, I find that my balance in the pool is a real challenge. It's amazing how different the 2 kinds of water feel to me. I'm still working on some fundamentals of my stroke, so maybe the difference will narrow as I develop.
As for caps, I just realized after reading this thread that my thermal cap is what I don't like when I swim in ow. The thermal is *really* like a mini wetsuit for the head, and it's hard for me to keep my head aligned just right. I don't use a wet suit, so the rest of my body doesn't get the extra boost from neoprene. Maybe I just need some more bioprene!
Recently I've had a shoulder problem so have been swimming breaststroke about 85% of the time. In saltwater, with a thermal cap, it's more work than in the pool. Hard to do a real good underwater alignment (head between arms), so I don't bother.
I'm not yet ready to get rid of the thermal cap, though. I got a custom one recently, and it doesn't have quite as much buoyancy as my other thermals. I'm swimming through this (pretty mild) winter, so I hope to ditch the thermal when the water warms up to the high 50's F.