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Nose plugs and earplugs are desirable when swimming for great lengths of time. Competitive swimmers really need the protection, as they are moving so fast and turning their head from side to side repeatedly. As a result of this rapid movement, water can easily enter the nose, making it difficult to breath. Also, it can enter the ears, causing a painful condition known as “swimmer's ear”. If water enters the ear despite the added protection, put a few drops of rubbing alcohol in there to dry it out.