What’s Up With Swim Caps?

Question of the day.
How can race organizers and athletes know the quality of the gear they purchase?

Here’s what got me thinking.
Before today I put minimal thought into swim caps and race-day swim caps.  I buy them as needed.  And thankfully, costing $2 – $12, they are not the most expensive piece in the gear bag.

However, I purchased three this year.  And, this morning I couldn’t find my training cap, so instead of purchasing another one I decided to wear an old race-day cap.  So, while rummaging into an old gear bag my fingers touched upon a sticky mess.  Inadvertently, I discovered race-day swim caps are not the same.

On race day, athletes do not have a swim cap choice.  They must wear the cap that the race organizers give them.  And that’s because the cap posts the race and the athlete’s race number.  And having the race number is vital in case of emergency.

Watch pro racers (1,2, & 3) swim into T1 from the 2015 Ironman Oceanside.

I think most athletes are like me.  They toss the cap into a bag without much thought as to where it came from, what it’s made of.  They love keeping them as a keepsake, as a great reminder of their accomplishment, and if needed use them again.

Still, after seeing how two different caps weathered with time (the best of both being older), and gaining some insight into the products race organizers give to their athletes, I’m just wondering does their cap choice simply come down to money?

Where am I going with this???   I don’t know.
But my socially responsible mind is curious.  How are caps made?  Where are they made?  Why did one turn to muck?

Those questions started brewing a few months back after the purchase of my latest cap, as mentioned halfway through this video.

If you have answers, please share.
To get us started, here are a few swimming cap resources:

Choosing a swim cap
The difference in swim cap materials
Swim cap history

Always tri.  Never stop.
Featured image: Weekly Story Book