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Selecting a Womens' Swimsuit

Links to Selecting a Womens' Swimsuit
End UseFit & MeasurementsSize
FabricSuit TypeBack Type
Strap WidthFeaturesCare & Maintenance

Buying the correct swimsuit for your needs will help increase your effectiveness in the water, keep you feeling comfortable and stand up better to the deteriorating effects of chlorine. Look for different fabrics, suit types and features in specific suits to determine which one will best fit your lifestyle.

End Use

To best select a swimsuit, you first need to determine how and where you will use the swimsuit. Whether you're a competitive swimmer on a team, or looking for the right suit to wear to your water aerobics class or just searching for a suit to play a pick-up game on the beach, DICK'S Sporting Goods has the right swimsuit for you.

Competitive Swim

For both training and competition, swimmers should wear high-performance swimsuits. A competitive swimmer needs a suit that maximizes speed in the water and reduces drag by increasing water flow. Many swimmers buy separate suits for training and competitions, but both usually have compression technology, which give the suit a seamless, tight fit.

Racing and Training

Racing and Training suits are used by competitive swimmers during practice and training sessions. These suits need to be able to withstand frequent use, chlorine and constant wear so athletes can rely on them all season long.

  • Practice suits for competitive athletes
  • Fabrication of suits can affect wear, shape and pool time
  • Long-lasting design and fabrication so they can be worn often and during long sessions
  • Do not include bust support, but are front-lined


Championship suits are technical suits used mostly for big competitions and championship meets. They are designed with groundbreaking technologies to enhance competitive athletes' performance in the pool.

  • Technical suits designed purely for intense competitions
  • Typically only worn by highly competitive athletes during big meets and races
  • Feature latest technologies that reduce drag, increase speed and enhance performance
  • Improve hydrodynamics
  • Look for FINA approved logo to be sure your chosen swimsuit follows required guidelines

Aquatic Fitness

Aquatic Fitness swimmers have a wider selection of styles to choose from. Both one-piece and two-piece styles are available and appropriate for aquatic fitness activities like water aerobics and Aqua Zumba.

  • For the fitness-minded athlete
  • Look great while pursuing a healthy lifestyle in the pool
  • Provide comfortable freedom of movement, plus coverage and support
  • Styles can include fuller leg coverage, extra cup support and tummy control
  • Great low impact workout suits for all ages
  • Sizing for Aquatic Fitness suits aligns with standard women's sizing i.e. 4, 6, 8, etc.

Surf / Active Lifestyle

Surf and Active Lifestyle swimsuits are for water activity and sport enthusiasts. From grabbing a game of beach volleyball to riding the waves, these swimsuits will keep you feeling and looking great in the water.

  • Choose from a variety of cuts and styles in coordinating colors
  • For athletic performance and fashion
  • Board shorts and rashguards also available
  • Rashguards shield you from the sun and provide rash and abrasion protection
  • Board shorts can be worn over your suit and provide coverage at the beach or after practice. They also provide specific features to better suit women on the go such as stretch fabric to keep up with your every move, anti-chafing seams for comfort and contoured waistbands for easy flexibility
  • Active lifestyle swimsuits are available in sizes extra small, small, medium, large and extra large

Fit & Measurements

To accurately measure your body for a swimsuit, wear only your undergarments and make sure your tape measure is straight, not twisted. The tape measure should be snug against your body, but not pinching or tight.

Step 1: Measure your waist

Find your natural waistline by bending to one side. While standing straight, measure around your waist.

Step 2: Measure your chest

Measure around the fullest part of your bust. If this measurement is between numbers, it should be rounded, either up or down, to the nearest whole number.

Step 3: Measure your hips

Stand with your feet together and measure around the fullest part of your hips and behind.


Consult the size chart below to determine which swimsuit will best fit your body. If you are between sizes, choose the smaller size in a racing or championship suit and the larger size in an aquatic fitness suit. Racing and Training and Championship suits will fit much snugger than aquatic fitness and surf swimsuits.

  • Sizing overlaps for women's and girl's swimsuits, so smaller women may fit into girl's suits and larger girls may fit into women's suits.
  • When buying a Racing and Training or Championship suit, sizes do not matter as much as measurements. If your measurements do not align to your usual size, do not be alarmed. Buy the swimsuit that accurately fits your measurements.

Things to consider when buying a new swimsuit:


Nylon & Lycra

  • Durable, performance driven
  • Tight fit for streamlined shape
  • Figure-hugging, flexible and lightweight
  • Great elasticity for range of motion


  • Great training suits for competitive swimmers because they can be worn a lot without losing shape and fit
  • Long-lasting wear
  • Chlorine-resistant
  • Durable and comfortable for long use
  • Does not stretch or lose shape as much as other fabrics


  • Lightweight compression fabric
  • Core stabilization
  • Sleek design to optimize body position and reduce drag
  • Water repellant, chlorine-resistant and fast drying

Suit Type



  • Less conservative options in surf and aquatic fitness suits
  • Be sure to have the preferred amount of coverage on both the top and the bottom


Board Shorts

  • Wear over your suit for more coverage
  • Many styles offer added stretch for easy mobility and comfort
  • Moisture-wicking fabric dries quickly and manages moisture
  • UPF protection shields you from the sun's harmful rays
  • Functional for a variety of activities on and off the water
  • Elastic waistbands, snap closures, drawstrings for a secure, comfortable fit
  • Many brands feature advanced technologies to enhance your surfing performance. These features include contoured waistbands for optimal coverage and fit, stretch fabric for easy movement and flexibility, comfortable seams that reduce chafing and rashes, quick-drying and water-repelling fabrics and more


  • Protect you from the sun and rash and abrasions
  • Allow you to stay in the water for longer periods of time
  • Moisture-wicking, fast drying fabric
  • UPF protection shields you from the sun's harmful rays

Back Type


  • Superior range of mobility and movement
  • More flexibility in the water


  • Additional support provided by the racerback and thicker straps


  • The most coverage and support available

Strap Width


  • Offer more support


  • Allow for more freedom of movement
  • Flexibility and unrestricted mobility



  • Shelf: Most suits feature this type of light coverage and support
  • Soft cup: Extra support for more coverage
  • Underwire: Most support available, for women with large busts


  • Reversible and can be worn two different ways


  • Side panel color and pattern detail options can be used to match team colors
  • Popular option for team suits

Care & Maintenance

  • Rinse your swimsuit with cold water after each use as chlorine can wear down the material
  • Hang to dry out of direct sunlight, either in the shade or indoors
  • Do not machine wash or put in the dryer
  • It's time to buy a new swimsuit when it starts losing its shape, color and stretch

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