Beginner triathlon swim gear guide |

The Beginner Triathlete’s Swim Training Gear Guide

1. Swim suit

 Obviously you will need a swim suit as you train for your first triathlon, but the style is totally up to you and your preference. Don’t let the pictures of people wearing a little singlet intimidate you from doing your first triathlon. Wearing a swim suit may be embarrassing for you, so pick one that you feel the most comfortable in. Both women and men have a variety of options and styles to choose from:


Women: The typical one-piece Speedo is the most modest and popular option. However, for the race, this style can remain soggy and wet for a while which can make you uncomfortable and cause chaffing. Another option is a two-piece with a sports bra type top and bottom. The swim top can doubles as a sports bra, which is great for the actual triathlon… and your wallet!


Men: From a tiny Speedo to baggy board shorts, you have quite a few options as well. For the beginner triathlete, a pair of board shorts is a great option for training because they are modest and will also cause a bit of drag in the water, which will increase your endurance. For the race, they are not the best option because they may remain damp and cause chaffing during the bike and run. If you’re not comfortable with a little Speedo, then check out the longer version that comes to your mid thighs {called Jammers}. If you get a pair of jammers for your first triathlon, then they can double as bike shorts and even be worn for the run. A simple pair of spandex will work just find, especially if you will be wearing a wetsuit.


2. Goggles

 A good pair of goggles will make your swim training so much more enjoyable. Nothing is worse then having to frequently stop swimming to empty the water out of your goggles, however, finding the perfect pair may be a challenge. This is because they are usually packaged in thick plastic and you are not able to try them on. We recommend going to Sport’s Authority or Sport Chalet and trying on some of the more expensive brands and then trying to find a similar, less expensive pair.  On the other hand, if you find that you enjoy swimming and would like to continue competing in races after you do your first triathlon, then investing in a nice pair of goggles is a good idea.


3. Swim cap

Although you can train for your first triathlon without a swim cap, it’s still a good idea to get the feel of it. A simple/cheap swim cap will do the trick just fine. You will probably be given a swim cap for your race depending on your age and gender. {ie: pink for women, green for elite men, yellow for men 20-30… ect}.


4. Wet suit {optional}

Some races require the triathletes to wear a wet suit for the swim, others don’t and then it’s up to you whether you purchase a wetsuit. We recommend borrowing a wet suit from a friend. If you don’t know anyone who owns a wetsuit, do some research and see if you can rent one from a local sports store, or even from a scuba diving company. The type of wetsuit also depends on what time of year it is and how cold the water is. Again, that is up to your personal preferences. If you do borrow, rent or purchase a wetsuit, we suggest wearing it as you train for the swim to get the feel of it and tweak your stroke accordingly.

All of the gear shown in the pictures was purchased at either WalMart or Target!


You don’t need spend a lot of money to get the gear you need for your first triathlon!


Plus, if your goggles leak, or your swim cap is too tight, then you won’t feel as bad buying a different brand or size. We hope this helps you as you train for the swim portion ofyour first triathlon!

*Check out The Beginner Triathlete’s Running Gear Guide

*Check out The Beginner Triathlete’s Biking Gear Guide



About Author

Trainer DaveyTrainer Davey is an Orange County personal trainer at heart, but has since moved to Nashville and taken on the new challenge of triathlon training. Of course, he misses his home of Surf City...but Music City ain't so bad either!View all posts by Trainer Davey →