Swimming Gear

So riddle me this. I checked out the local gym today, and the pool had women-only hours while I was there. I popped my head through the door to take a quick peek at what the pool looked like, and saw some women swimming. I saw religious women in robes and turbans IN the pool alongside those in swimsuits. This was a time for only women. There were NO MEN around. Is there an idea somewhere that even amongst women we have to cover everything?

When I use the pool I plan on wearing my regular swimming costume – no large tee shirt to cover me. I am not going there to parade around – I am going there to work out. Surely it is not safe to wear a robe IN the pool?

(Nor do I feel it is safe for the guys to be running on the treadmills, stair-masters or elipticals with their tzitzit flying, but that’s a rant for another day).

16 responses to “Swimming Gear

  1. lady lock and load

    Hah, your gonna see alot of interesting things at this gym dahling!

  2. Did you ever read “the romance reader” by Pearl Abraham?

    That’s one of the great arguments in the book: No bathing suit, even at an all-female swimming pool…

  3. At our local pool during womens hours you see it all, from robes to bikinis and these are Frum tznius women. I think it is what you feel comfortable in. I cover my hair 23/7 so I always wear a tichel or snood and I wear an aquamodesta swimming dress. This works for me because I would feel so weird wearing a suit after so many years of covering, but that is my comfort level. To all the lady’s sportin bikinis in womens only hours I say ROCK IT!

  4. When I was in Israel on Birthright(a frum trip!), we went to the dead sea, to ein bokek because they had separate swimming. While in the women’s section, a few beis yaakov girls came and went in with their full garb on, including stockings! I guess their scrapes didn’t hurt as much as ours, but it lead us to have a conversation with our female staff member about it. Some have the opinion that there is ‘modesty in front of men’ as well as ‘modesty before Hashem’, and the case for these girls is clearly the later. It is important to dress modestly in front of the opposite sex, but equally to dress modestly before Hashem as well. I am sure these same girls will grow up and marry and cover their hair in bed, no matter what, as well as wearing only tznius nightgowns and the like.

    Personally, when it is mixed swimming I cover up. I jumped in Ein Gedi with all my clothes on, for sure! When it is girls only, regulated as such, I’ll wear a bikini if that’s the bathing suit I picked out that day!

    One of the swim instructors at the camp I worked at last summer wore a stretchy bathing suit material bandana thing as a head covering, then wore a short sleeved rash guard and what looked basically like biker shorts. This was a women’s only pool(there were two pools in camp, one for boys and one for girls). Not as drastic as wearing a robe in the tub, but some people just feel more comfortable while covered up!

    • You shouldn’t underestimate the risks involved in swimming with clothes on, especially in the death sea: the clothes get soaked with water and weigh you down.

      So be carefull: if you go swimming, take tighly fitting clothes, possibly from synthetic material, so that they won’t get too heavy when soaking up the water.

  5. I think Leah Sarah put it well with the “modesty before Hashem” concept. I also remember going to the beach in Tel Aviv (the ladies’ only beach, that is), and seeing women in full garb. I wore a long-sleeve shirt and knee-length skirt, mainly because I didn’t feel comfortable wearing only a swimsuit (I’m with Sheva, though – if you wanna wear a bikini, more power to you!).

    The robes in the pool thing doesn’t seem dangerous to me, but it’s definitely not going to help set any speed records.

  6. For goodness sakes, it is safer to swim in a bathing suit. There are many made with the genuine purpose of simply getting exercise. You know, like Speedos.

  7. I think that what to wear in a separate swimming pool it’s a personal decision based on one’s comfort level & one’s background or current level of observance.

    50 years ago, my mom worked in a chasidic girl’s camp one summer when she was a teen & she & her BY friends thought it was strange that all the campers were so proud that they wore “shvimming klaider”-swimming robes while bathing in an all-girls pool with no men in sight & a large gate around the pool to further keep out the men-folk. yet, despite that, this was how the girls in that Chassidic sect were taught to dress even in a completely separate swimming environment. My mom & her friends who were BY girls thought this was strange b/c in their BY camps, girls wore regular bathing suits as I did while attending a Lubavitch sleepaway camp for many summers as a child.
    Therefore, while i personally have no issue wearing a regular bathing suit while swimming in an all-girls’ pool, many other more stringent women might not be comfortable doing so & I respect their decision even though it i don’t feel it is necessary to do so nor is it my “way” of doing things. My feeling though is live & let live :)!!

  8. I have a feeling that your hubby is going to be running into *my* hubby there. Let’s see what happens :). My husband wears *actual workout gear*. Why in the world men feel that they have to wear (and ruin) actual (black and white) street clothes on the gym machines is beyond us both.

    My husband refers to the locker room as the Mikva locker room. It ain’t pretty.

  9. I believe that you should be able to cover up as much as you like in the pool, but within safety limits. I think I robe would be a safety issue, although the extra drag in the water would give you a wonderful workout, wouldn’t it? 😉

    I used to live on a yishuv that had separate hours for women’s swimming (with a female lifeguard), and there would be busloads coming in from the religious neighborhoods of Jerusalem every time. The women were dressed in the entire spectrum of swimming attire, although I think one woman hit the limit when she started walking into the pool fully clothed, shirt, skirt, stockings, hat, shoes and all. The lifeguard called out, “Will the woman with the laundry please leave the pool!”

  10. The Girl in the Wetsuit

    It might not just be a modesty issue. Most bathing suits, even one piece suits, don’t cover very much. There are parts of my body I don’t want to have to shave on a daily basis just to get in my daily swim. Swimming in a t-shirt and shorts is for people that…aren’t really swimming. It’s virtually impossible. I’m actually supposed to wear a wetsuit to the pool because I am highly chlorine sensitive and it dries out my skin and scalp so horrifyingly bad, I can’t describe the symptoms. Instead, I wear a modest bathing suit from Aqua Modesta. I was sitting next to a women at the gym the other day in the spa who was obviously wearing her beach suit to the pool. Even just sitting in the spa, it looked like her breasts were going to pop out at any second and the other half was pretty much an inch or two bigger than a thong. But thankfully, I go to a gym and a pool where people don’t bat an eye no matter what you do or don’t wear. Oh except for the lady in the tight white unitard who screamed out a guy she swore was eyeballing her. We’ll see what happens when I walk in with my dermatologist approved wetsuit.

  11. The Girl in the Wetsuit

    Oh and I forgot to mention that my dermatologist says I have to cover up. No bikinis, no one-piece, not unless I want my entire pale, sun sensitive body to turn into a giant mole.

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