Female swimmers FAQ

Swim England period wear guidance can be found here.

  • My daughter has started her periods. What do you advise for swimming?

When it comes to working out, everybody is different. Energy levels may vary at different points in a woman’s cycle, or they might feel strong all month long.

If you really feel you need to give training a miss, please either speak to your coach or email them to let them know. Letting your coach know you have your period can help them adapt your training to best fit your cycle – all we ask is that you’re honest.

If you are contacting a coach on behalf of a swimmer, please keep the swimmer in the loop – over time, they may feel less embarrassed about speaking to their coach directly.

  • Period wear – what can swimmers wear?

Some swimmers will feel comfortable wearing a tampon or similar. But if you do not, don't panic – other options are available:

  • A specific period swim costume
  • Period pants underneath a race costume

Either can be worn during training (at any time) or where competitions are held under Swim England Laws and Regulations. This includes all unlicensed and licensed swimming competitions, and Swim England national competitions for age group and Masters swimming.

Swim England policy does not permit swimmers to wear two full swimming costumes.

  • What happens during competitions?

The following practices are required to prevent swimmers from being embarrassed if an official reports them for wearing a second layer without realising it is period wear:

  • Referees must be advised in an advance of a race that a swimmer will be wearing period pants – this can be done by the swimmer, or by their coach or team manager. If your swimmer feels uncomfortable discussing this, please email their coach or the Welfare Officer, so we can take the necessary steps to protect them. Please let your swimmer know you are doing this. Swimmers’ privacy will be respected by all individuals.
  • Referees should ensure that swimmers and their team manager or coach can discuss the matter in a private space, wherever possible. They should discreetly inform the other referees appointed for that session.
  • If no notification is provided prior to the race, the swimmer will be disqualified for wearing two costumes – referees should always check with the lead referee that no notification has been provided prior to making a disqualification for this infraction.
  • What happens if I leak poolside?

If you can, let your coach know that you need to go to the toilet – but failing that, please go straight to the toilet. Clean yourself up, re-group and head back to the pool. Let your coach know if you haven’t already.

Tip: our Performance girls say that wearing a dark-coloured costume can give you more confidence.

  • How do I keep track of when my period is due?

There are plenty of free apps available to use. Team Bath AS swimmers use FitrWoman, which allows athletes to track their menstrual cycle, so they know when their period is due and understand what is happening to their body. It provides information about how they can exercise, as well as what they should eat throughout their menstrual cycle.

A bonus of using the app is that you can look at trends and data over time, and better understand the connections between your activity, sleep and cycle symptoms. Please ask your parent’s permission before downloading any app.

  • I don’t feel comfortable doing pre-pool warm-up while on my period.

We recommend you wear shorts on poolside, do your warm-up and then pop your shorts in your bag and get ready to swim. Hopefully, this will make you feel more comfortable.