DPR Posts Official List of Proper Swim Attire for DC Pools


Back in June a reader wrote in about being banned from Turkey Thicket pool for wearing a “swim shirt”. Here is the definitive list of permitted swim attire from DPR:

The D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) reminds patrons of the current DPR Swim Attire Requirements for all District pools; and provides a more illustrated guide.

The current requirements are as follows:

All persons on the pool deck and/or swimming in the pool must have on proper swim attire.
All infants/toddlers that require a diaper must wear swimmer diapers and proper swimwear.
Clean cotton t-shirts and sarongs are allowed on the pool deck, however patrons must have on proper swim attire underneath.

The following attire is not allowed at District pools:

“Street clothes”, Brazil/French-cut, thong style and/or revealing swim wear, cut-off jeans, jeans, skirts, shorts, sport bras, leotards, leggings, dri-fit wear, compression shorts and compression shirts are prohibited. Underwear and undergarments are not allowed to be worn under swimsuits.

Pool patrons often ask, “Why do I have to wear proper swimwear?”. Here are just a few reasons as to why it is important to only wear pool attire in the pool.

1. Street clothes (especially cotton) can transport airborne and ultimately water borne contaminants into the pool.
2. Lycra and Nylon are the best non-absorbent material for swimming and are the best fabrics for proper swim attire.
a. Other absorbent materials (such as cotton) can break down in the water and cause fibers to clog filters.
b. Any “colored” material (unless specifically made for swimming) can bleed into the pool, effecting water chemistry and balance. This is also a reason for turbidity in pools.
3. Cotton and similar materials can absorb the chemicals in the water, causing the water to become less effective at maintaining the proper chemical balance or may cloud the water.

Photo of permitted swimwear after the jump.


35 Comment

  • No ban on women going topless. Ladies, take note. LOL.

    • There are no laws against being topless in public. Any women could go topless in public whenever they feel like it.

      • yeah right… try it and see how fast you get picked up for indecent exposure.. ask my friend who flashed someone on the street

        • No, it’s true. In DC there is no law against women going topless. The Lesbian Avengers were taken to court by right-wingers back in the day, and the court threw it out.

          • I think V’s point is that many cops are not well versed in the law and will still take you in to the precinct station or toss you out of the pool. No, you won’t face charges, but you will still be hassled. And thus, going topless is not effectively allowed.

          • andy

            Wait. Lesbian Avengers is a real thing?

            Not a comment, just . . . who knew?

  • Ha! “Long sports bra.” Aka…tank top?

    • A long sports bra is a workout shirt with a sports bra built in, it’s not just a tank top. This distinction makes some companies think they can charge you $80 for them. I have never found one that doesn’t ride up like crazy.

  • andy

    It is time for the mankini.

  • About time they issued something definitive like this!
    It looks like the only allowed “coverup” on deck is a T-shirt and/or sarong. I’m a little disappointed to read this — I guess this means that my dress-style “swim coverup” (specifically made to be a coverup) is not permitted and I need to go out and get a sarong if I want to go to a D.C. pool?

  • Religious swimwear? New to me.

  • what’s wrong with jean shorts? that’s ridiculous. i hope these are items that cannot be worn INSIDE the pool. The jean shorts should come off the list. Every summer, jean shorts are a wardrobe STAPLE. especially for folks going to a public pool. this list is all over the place

    • I think the list is of things not allowed on the pool deck, which includes jeans shorts (and would also include men’s shorts). I think DPR wants people to take off their street clothes in the locker room, before you hit the pool deck.

    • I’m confused about this too. Whenever I have gone to DC pools I’ve walked out on the deck in my shorts/t-shirt/dress. Do some pools enforce this and not others?

      • you should shower first, hence, the no street clothes on the deck. now, whether they decide to enforce that is a different story.

    • andy

      they are trying to keep out the nevernudes.

  • Do they mean leotards as in what ballerina’s wear or all one-piece bathing suits for women?

  • Blithe

    A crucial distinction seems to be not just the style of the swimming attire but the material that it’s made from. My swimsuit looks like it could be a dress, rash guard shirts look like athletic shirts, and tops look like sports bras. I appreciate the effort to provide clarity WITH pictures, but I’d hate to be in the position of urging a lifeguard to look at the tag on my bathing suit.

  • This whole thing is absurd. Its amazing that there are hundreds of thousands of pools that dont need this convoluted system of what is allowed where. I was a lifeguard for a long time and they are providing regulations for the .005% of people who want to jump into the pool with street clothes on.

    The idea that cotton clothes have particles that go airborne and could end up in the pool filters, therefore, you cant wear street clothes on the deck is the most outrageous of them all.

  • I was kicked out of the Turkey Thicket Pool because I wasn’t wearing a bathing suit while watching my baby’s swim lesson. My husband was in the pool with our son, and I was told to leave because I needed to have “proper swim attire” while sitting in the bleachers. The explanation they gave to me is that the rule is meant to keep people from coming in off the street and squatting at the pool, and that even my maxi dress, worn at a time when the pool was actually closed to the public, violated that rule. We will not be returning.

  • Now if we can just work on getting the lifeguards to act professionally, we’d be getting somewhere. I send in complaints about twice a summer for unprofessional and dangerous behavior, like throwing each other in, backs turned to the pool, talking with friends, etc. That wouldn’t fly at my hometown pool.

  • When I saw the pic I thought AA had started buying ad space on popville!

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