Over the past year or so, I’ve seen ads for Michael Phelps’ new MP line, and obviously, Michael wearing his line’s gear while competing, but I haven’t seen these products on anyone in person yet. A vendor at this past summer’s LCM Nats had the MP silicon race caps though, so I bought one in basic black because I’ve been wanting to any brand of the silicon “dome” wrinkle-free race caps.
I decided to test the cap’s proposed “reduced drag” capacity during last week’s 45-49 age group 3K. Yep, I know what you’re thinking – a 3K race is probably not the smartest time to try new equipment. Perhaps I should have waited for a much shorter race, or even better, tried it out in practice…but I was also thinking, “reduced drag could really add up more over a 3K than a 1650!”
When I first put it on, it did feel different than any practice silicone cap I’ve worn –smaller and lighter, forcing me to adjust my goggles a tad tighter during warm up (and subsequently loosen the strap again once back in practice with my regular silicone cap.) Also, the front rode lower on my forehead. Maybe this is to help me achieve that million-mile-fierce-swimmer stare that Michael has down pat?
My head did feel more streamline while swimming with MP cap on, mainly because my practice silicon cap is always mashed up and yes, super wrinkly. I’d prefer that the MP band be a tad tighter however; whenever I flipped, a little water seeped in.
Part of my fit issue may be because I didn’t wear another cap underneath. I know most swimmers layer a dome silicone cap over a latex one, but I’m allergic to latex. And two silicone caps seems excessively bulky. And hot – if I had worn two silicone caps during the 45-49 age group 3K I think my head would have burst into flames.
With the fit a little loose on me, I’d want to test the MP racing cap in practice during a 100 IM set to ensure it doesn’t shift dramatically during a stroke race before wearing it for a 400 IM or 200 fly. Over all though, I liked the upgrade to an actual racing cap and hope to wear it again in the future.