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As a competitive swimmer throughout high school, watching the diving team practice filled me with an overwhelming amount of jealousy. But it wasn’t because they could throw dives I couldn’t even dream of contorting my body into even if I suddenly became Jello — it was because they just looked so warm

Gazing out from the cold pool to see them under their heat lamps drying off between dives made me wish I too could be part of that world. So, I bought my first shammy on Amazon to get as close to it as I would ever get to it and now I’m still singing the praises of the magically absorbent towel.

Whether you’re familiar with the sport of diving or not, chances are you’ve seen those little towels Olympic divers carry around and often throw over their shoulder. You may have even asked yourself, “what is that little towel?” but never actually Googled it, which in that case — it’s called a shammy. It’s a super fast-drying towel divers use to dry off in between their dives as quickly as possible. It’s important that they dry off every little bit of water so their hands don’t slip from their grip on their legs during dives, which include flips and tucks. 

Aside from their status as a diving essential and something of a poolside security blanket for many, the lightweight towels also double as the ultimate packing hack. When I first bought one years ago, I started packing it for my swim meets in lieu of one of my usual full-sized towels.  I was amazed at how much space it saved in my bag since it efficiently replaced my bulky pool towel and could be used back to back instead. Now, I keep one in my car at all times. 

It’s worth noting that if you plan to use your shammy regularly, you’ll want to keep the reusable towel damp in the included storage tube. If you plan to use it here and there, instead allow it to dry out completely and when you’re ready to use it again, just soak it in water before carefully unfolding it. 

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