Coaching 101 – Swim Equipment 101

With the first triathlon of the season and open water swimming only weeks away it is a good time to review your equipment to make sure you are ready for the season ahead.

As a beginner to the sport, all of the equipment required can appear daunting. The following information provides you with a basic understanding of what’s required and how it might be beneficial. Today we start with the swim

  • Swim cap- is especially important if you have long hair, or swim in the open water. I personally only use a silicon cap when swimming in cold water but again it is personal preference. In the pool a latex cap is fine. For super cold water you may need a neoprene option.
  • Goggles here you have a number of choices. My wide nose makes fitting goggles tough, but spend some time trying on a wide variety and see what sticks to your face without using the band to hold it in place. Some goggles now have on screen displays so you can see your pace etc. while you swim which I am sure will appeal to some triathletes. Then there are the lens’s which tend to be bigger for open water swimming than those used for racing in the pool. The type of lens is also important  
    • clear for indoors or dark mornings,
    • tinted for outdoors
    • or photochromic for varying light – they adjust to the conditions
  • Anti-fog for lens. While most lens’s say they are anti-fog the more you touch them the more it reduces its capacity. Zoggs used to make a great product I used to use but it is no longer available so today I just use a bit of spit. However most goggle companies have an anti-fog spray option that you can explore. Others go for baby shampoo, just make sure you wash it out
  • Swim suit (chlorine resistant for pool swimming) the choice is up to you
  • A wetsuit makes racing a more enjoyable experience, you are quicker and it keeps you warm. It is a wetsuit so it is meant to have water in it as this warms up next to your body and helps keep you warm. There are many different types with any number of additions to supposedly make them go faster. In the end find a suit that fits snugly and allows good shoulder mobility. Personally I like a good 5mm thickness all over as it floats better but again this will be personal reference and what is available. In most cases a full sleeve option is the way to go but for those who struggle with shoulder mobility a sleeveless is worth considering.
  • Anti-chaffing options for the back of neck and arm pits if you are using a wetsuit. Personally I just use Vaseline and have never found that it destroys my suit as is claimed, but products like body glide work well if you have fears
  • Baby oil, if you are racing some baby oil on your arms and legs will help slip the wetsuit off quicker in T1
  • For pool swimming a pull buoy typically helps those with long, heavy, sinker legs to keep them up and swim faster, while those with shorter floaty legs who kick a lot find a PB adds more resistance to their stroke. Either way it is good to have some options
  • Wetsuit shorts are another great option for the pool if you want to keep up and replicate a wetsuit swim indoors (they keep your legs up). When the water warms up they are great for open water swims as they are a lot quicker to put on while still providing a bit of protection when we go in above our waist!
  • Fins help us to swim more and work more specifically on drills /technique work. I prefer the longer fins but others chose the shorter ones. They both offer advantages you will just have to explore
  • Hand paddles are another strength toy that we can use to create a new stimulus, break up a swim and allow us to swim more. I go for the smaller hand sized ones, but stronger swimmers tend to use large ones. There are options you strap to your hand or the newer slide your thumb in model which users tend to rave about
  • A band is another drag options to increase force through upper body. I just use an old bike tube tied into a small loop but you can buy various strap options. While at first the feet may sink, give it time and they will get up to the surface
  • Kick board can help with technique. I haven’t used them a lot but if they are good enough for proper pool swimmers to use there must be advantages to them
  • Tempo trainer/ metronome to help with stroke rates and pacing in the pool and open water. Either use it to pace your efforts to beep every lap at goal time, or to link it to your stroke rates
  • A mesh bag to put all your toys in and stop it from going mouldy

There are other items that you can explore (front snorkels) but for me this is where I would start for the pool and open water swimming.

In Adelaide Titan performance is the best option if you want to browse and try on a variety of products.

While if you need your wetsuit repaired before we start the open water swimming then get in touch with Oi wetsuit repairs  I have used them a few times on different suits and they have done an amazing job of patching up my suit.


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