Are you looking to take on a triathlon or open water swimming challenge this summer?
Choosing the right swimming wetsuit can be a difficult decision, particularly for indoor swimmers who are looking to take to the open water for the first time.
British waters can be a little on the chilly side even during these hot summer months, so choosing a wetsuit that offers warmth along with buoyancy and energy efficiency is key.
Specialist swimming or triathlon wetsuits differ from the standard wetsuits you’ll see surfers or beach-goers wearing, so it’s worth checking out this video from 2XU featuring open water swimmer Haydn Tierney.
Tierney stresses the importance of wearing a triathlon wetsuit, explaining: “They’re designed for saving time and that’s exactly what they do.
“I like to think there is a 10% advantage of wearing a swim wetsuit, and that’s just in the swimming pool. In the ocean, it could be as high as 15% or 20%.
“One of the benefits of wearing a good wetsuit is that extra bit of rubber around the hips. That’s going to keep your legs up, so you don’t slow down as much.
“But it’s a good idea to synchronise your strokes so you’re doing a bit of extra kicking as you’re lifting your head up to keep your body high in the water.”
Watch the video to familiarise yourself with triathlon wetsuits, and read the answers to these frequently asked questions below.
Is an open water swimming wetsuit different to a standard wetsuit?
Yes! One of the biggest mistakes a first-time triathlete can make is using a standard wetsuit for training or the race itself.
Standard wetsuits designed for beach use are not made with the swimmer’s needs in mind. They don’t offer as much flexibility in the arms and shoulders, so your swimming stroke will suffer as a result.
Triathlon wetsuits take those freestyle needs into account. They allow for an unrestricted range of motion, due to a thinner neoprene around the armpits and shoulders, and are also more buoyant and thinner than a standard suit.
So by using a triathlon wetsuit, you’ll save energy in the water which can be put to better use later – ideally the cycle and run!
Are there triathlon wetsuits to suit any swimming ability?
All wetsuits are different, so take some time browsing our full wetsuit range to get a full understanding of what each suit can offer.
Generally, beginner wetsuits are made with increased buoyancy as it helps to conserve additional energy while compensating for any shortfalls in stroke technique.
More experienced triathletes will prefer to sacrifice some of this buoyancy for extra flexibility and a better ‘feel’ for the water.
Where can I find a triathlon wetsuit size chart?
At ProSwimwear, we provide a detailed size chart specific to every wetsuit listed.
So if you’re unsure about which size you need, just view the wetsuit you’re interested in and click on the ‘size chart’ tab.
We suggest you get a tape measure and measure yourself in front of your PC, laptop, tablet or mobile phone, just so you’re sure your measurements are as accurate as possible.
Check your measurements against your chosen size chart and find the closest fit for you. If you’re between sizes, generally it’s a good idea to go for the smaller of the two sizes as you want your wetsuit to be a snug fit.
How much will a triathlon wetsuit cost?
Entry-level triathlon wetsuits aren’t as expensive as you might think. You can pick up a solid and reliable suit for less than £150.00. Take a look at the Orca Openwater Core Wetsuit, the Aqua Sphere Pursuit Wetsuit or the Blueseventy Fusion Fullsuit Wetsuit. These suits are available for both men and women.
More experienced triathletes could check out the ranges from brands such as TYR, HUUB, 2XU and Blueseventy.
What are the British Triathlon wetsuit rules?
British Triathlon rules currently state that wetsuits are mandatory when water temperature is below 14 (up to 1500m), below 15 (1501m to 3000m) or below 16 (3001m to 4000m).
They are also forbidden if water temperature is above 22, 23 or 24 over the same respective distances above.
The rules also state that wetsuits cannot exceed 5mm thickness anywhere. If you’re using a two-piece wetsuit, the combined thickness in the overlapping areas must not exceed this 5mm thickness.Visit here for a full set of 2018 British Triathlon Competition Rules.