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Triathlon Swimwear

Many things determine the triathlon swimwear you wear for the first leg of your triathlon: the length of the swim, the temperature of the water and atmosphere. All of these factors play an important role in what clothing you might want, or be allowed, to wear. The speed at which you which to complete the transition to the bike could also be important to you, particularly if your finishing time is important.


For longer swims, or if the water is likely to be cold, you might choose to swim in a wetsuit. Wetsuits are usually only allowed if the water temperature is below 78 F, but this threshold can vary from race to race. Wetsuits have the advantage of keeping you warmer than the other types of triathlon swimwear and increasing your buoyancy. However, wetsuits can be expensive and difficult to remove in the transition stage. To prevent a wetsuit from chaffing, you might want to liberally apply lubricant, but don't use Vaseline - it corrodes the rubber material of the wetsuit.

One of the main problems with a traditional wetsuit is the stiffness of the material, particularly around the shoulders, restricting arm movement through the full stroke and slowing the swimmer down. One solution to this is the triathlon wetsuit, which are made from thinner, more pliable rubber to allow the full range of movement and a faster speed through the water. Triathlon wetsuits often feature long zips you can take them off faster during transition.

Triathlon Suit

Triathlon suits, or "tri-suits" are ideal the triathlon swimwear in warmer climates or even under your wetsuit when it is not so warm. Made from wicking material and designed to dry out quickly during the bike leg, triathlon suits are worn for the entire race. Not only to they eliminate losing any time spent trying to get changed in transition, but they have sufficient padding to make the cycling leg more comfortable. Tri-suits are either one-piece or two-pieces ,with built in support for the ladies. As the Lycra is skin tight, some people choose to pull on loose shorts and top after the swim stage.



Once you've decided what you wish to wear for your swim, you need to complete your outfit with accessories. The two main allowed accessories are a swimming cap and goggles. The caps are usually brightly colored for safety reasons, but can be used to signify the event you are competing in or in which wave you started.

Other accessories that might assist propulsion, like fins, gloves or buoyancy aids are banned by the authorities, and snorkels are banned in some countries but not in others. Canada, Australia, the United States and the International Triathlon Union do not specifically ban snorkels, but they are banned in Great Britain and are frowned upon by top level competitors.

A triathlon is a challenging undertaking, and you need to ensure you have chosen the most suitable triathlon swimwear to make sure that your race goes well. A wetsuit provides the best buoyancy and keeps you warm, but any time you make up in the swim you might lose again in the transition phase. So instead of changing out of a wetsuit, you may want to consider the advantages of wearing a tri-suit for your next triathlon.

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