To wetsuit or not to wetsuit

2 messages
07/08/2019 at 19:53

Hi All,

I'm doing my first (sprint) triathlon on Sunday at Dorney Lake. I'm a strong swimmer, and have done some open water swimming and felt fine in just my trisuit, but worried I might be losing a competitive advantage without one, or the lake will be a good 5 degrees colder than i'm used to (air temp is forecast to be about 15 deg). Being from the north of Scotland I'm pretty good in chilly water, especially if it's only for 15 mins?

Any tips on last minute wetsuit hire or any chilly issues I'll face towards the end of the swim? 

Can't decide whether to bite the bullet and rent or just risk it - also don't want anything too thick that'll impede my stroke. 

Advice much appreciated!

Izzy

Edited: 07/08/2019 at 19:54
08/08/2019 at 09:31
Technically good swimmers, which includes good body position, generally gain little from the extra buoyancy of a wetsuit. Getting the right fit and getting a wetsuit correctly positioned on your body takes a bit of practice otherwise it can restrict movement and slow you down. Taking a wetsuit off takes time and that can be quite a lot if you've not practiced and you haven't.

You may not have a choice over what to wear. If the water cold wet suits will be mandatory, very warm and wet suits will be banned. It is the middle range where wet suits are optional. BTF rules will give the exact temperatures.

With the caveat that I don't know you nor do I know anything about your swimming I'd suggest forgetting about a wetsuit. If you are a strong swimmer you won't take 15 mins. However, expect to hang about in the water pre-start. So you may wish to do a dryside warm up and enter the water as late as you can. Sew up any pockets as they will cause drag. Remember no calf guards etc. Work hard and you should keep warm enough. Enjoy the experience of skins racing. If you do get a bit cold expect to feel a bit dizzy when you stand up to exit the water. Some say kick extra hard for the final minute or so to get blood into your legs but that doesn't work for all. You may feel a bit cold starting on the bike but will soon warm up.

As its your first tri enjoy the day and take what comes. And, Izzy, best of luck
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