Even the Sunshine State needs to bundle up every once in a while. See these must-haves for making it through the next few brutal months of toe-numbing, biting cold (even if you can run to the beach after practice).

  • A big, fluffy parka: For centuries, scientists have wondered why swim parkas are so warm and cozy. Is it the fuzzy inside? The waterproof outside? The everlasting smell of chlorine that hasn’t come out in years? The world may never know what makes a swim parka so amazing, but it needs to be shoved in your swim bag.
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  • Huge towels: While parkas may top the list, having a nice, soft towel is absolutely a necessity. Pro Tip: wrap yourself in your towel UNDERNEATH your parka to achieve maximum warmth and coziness.
  • Hand warmers: Although more geared towards meets, a good hand warmer is nothing to underestimate. These can last for hours, providing just a *hint* of warmth and feeling to your fingers.
  • Every bottle of lotion ever sold: A swimmer’s skin, plagued by the biting of chlorine all year, is always ridiculously dry. The dryness of winter can make it seem as if one’s skin took a weekend trip to the Sahara Desert. Moisturizing lotion can be a saving grace for swimmers pushing through the dead of winter.
  • Fuzzy socks: Besides pulling up to the pool in style, a pair of fuzzy socks can be a lifesaver for swimmers who haven’t felt their feet for the entire two hour practice. The brighter the colors, the better.
  • A two-gallon drum of hot chocolate: After a quick (few hours) dip in a vat of water so cold you can’t believe there weren’t icebergs, gulping down a few dozen mugs of this sweet elixir of warmth is a must for any outdoor swimmer in the winter.
  • Warm thoughts: Just remember, in a few months you’ll be begging for the cold to be back. In true Florida style, slap on a pair of sunglasses, some flip flops (with the fuzzy socks?), and watch the palm trees blowing in the wind, because it may be just above freezing outside, but that pool is nice and warm (at least, that’s what Coach said).

Written by Ryan Gibbons