So You Want to Try a Tri

In this three-part series, we go over everything you’ll need to participate in your first triathlon

Thinking about participating in your first triathlon this summer? In this three-part series, we go over everything you’ll need to swim, bike and run your way to the finish line. Here’s what you’ll need to get for the swim portion of the event.

Swim Gear

A necessity if you want to see well and protect your eyes during the swim portion of your race, swim goggles can be purchased at most sporting good and swim stores. Look for a pair with large, fog-free lenses for better visibility during open water swimming, and an adjustable nose piece for a more precise fit.

If your goal triathlon is being held outdoors, a triathlon wetsuit is a good investment. Not only will a wetsuit help keep you warm in open water, but also helps with buoyancy so you don’t have to work as hard to stay afloat – a plus if you’re a relatively new swimmer. Look for a good entry-level triathlon wetsuit (i.e., not crazy expensive) that provides good flexibility, durability and buoyancy. If you’re not ready to spend a few hundred dollars on a new wetsuit, local multisport stores often offer wetsuits for rent.

One or two-piece trisuit
While you might be able to get away with your regular old swim suit, bike gear and run apparel during training, a trisuit is a must on race day so you can transition from swim to bike to run without having to get changed in the transition area. Trisuits are form-fitting and made of quick-drying material with a built-in chamois and/or sports bra for support and comfort on the bike and the run. You can purchase tri tops and bottoms separately, or for a more streamlined approach to race day, buy a one-piece trisuit.

Swim cap
Another necessity for the swim portion of a triathlon, a swim cap helps keep your hair dry and out of your face and reduces drag in the water. Swim caps come in several different materials, including silicone, latex, Lycra and rubber. Most swim caps are made out of latex, which offers the most stretch, while rubber and silicone caps are more durable. If you find rubber, latex and silicone caps are uncomfortable and pull on your hair, you can opt for a Lyrca or spandex cap, which won’t keep your hair dry but are softer and more comfortable. 

To continue reading part two, click here.

Photo: mimohe /">mimohe /



Race Reviews

Race reports from running races, triathlons, duathlons, adventure races, obstacles runs, bike races and more!


Tweet, Tweet

Are you tweeting with us?

Join us on Twitter