Why Do Olympic Swimmers Wear Coats Before Race?

The world of Olympic swimming is a captivating spectacle, where athletes display their exceptional skill and endurance in the pristine waters of the Olympic pool. But why do these elite swimmers don coats before diving in, even in scorching summer? It’s not just about staying warm; it’s part of meticulous preparation. Swimmers, who have trained relentlessly for months or even years, follow a carefully planned race day routine.

This routine includes pre-pool showers, not just for hygiene but also to aid swim cap adherence and reduce water resistance. Now, just before taking the plunge, swimmers don lightweight, specially designed jackets that provide insulation while allowing freedom of movement. These garments are tailored for swimmers, considering factors like hydrodynamics and aerodynamics.

Also Read: Why Do Olympic Swimmers Shower Before & After Swimming?

Why Do Olympic Swimmers Wear Coats Before Race
Why Do Olympic Swimmers Wear Coats Before Race

Why Do Olympic Swimmers Wear Coats Before Race?

Swimmers wearing coats at the Olympics may seem unusual, but it’s a critical part of their race preparation. This practice has multiple purposes:

Temperature Regulation:

The first reason that Olympic swimmers wear coats before a race relates to maintaining optimal body temperature. The swimming pool environment is meticulously regulated to ensure fair competition, with water temperature typically set between 25°C and 28°C (77°F-82°F). 

However, these temperatures might be on the cooler side for some swimmers who prefer warmer conditions to achieve peak performance. By wearing coats, which are often insulated or made of materials designed to retain heat, swimmers can regulate their body temperature and keep their muscles warm prior to diving into the pool.

Energy Conservation:

Swimmers engage in intense physical activity during competitions, expending significant energy throughout each race. 

Therefore, it is crucial for them to conserve their energy reserves beforehand. The act of wearing coats acts as an insulation barrier that helps retain body heat and prevent unnecessary energy expenditure by keeping the swimmer’s core temperature stable. 

This conservation of energy allows athletes to channel greater effort into their actual race performance rather than expending it during warm-up routines. Moreover, this practice also encompasses psychological benefits for swimmers. 

Psychological Comfort:

Stepping onto the Olympic stage can be an overwhelming experience filled with anticipation and nerves. Wearing coats provides a sense of comfort and familiarity as it replicates the feeling of being wrapped in one’s own personal warmth zone before plunging into intense competition. 

In essence, these coats play a vital role in helping swimmers give their best at the Olympic stage, blending science with athlete preparation.


In conclusion, Olympic swimmers wear coats before races for both practical and psychological reasons. Firstly, it helps them maintain body heat in cooler pool environments, ensuring their muscles are ready for intense exertion. Secondly, it offers a sense of comfort and security, reducing pre-race anxiety. This tradition, which combines practicality and symbolism, reflects the resilience and determination of these athletes in pursuit of excellence. So, the next time you see a swimmer in a coat by the poolside, remember the multifaceted reasons behind this ritual and celebrate their remarkable achievements.

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