By Kevin Hurysz
While the swim portion of a triathlon may only be one-tenth of the race, strength in swimming will reduce pre-race anxiety and set you up for a better T1, a better bike and even a better run. If you’ve decided to work on improving your triathlon swim, you’re going to need the right gear. Podium Multisport has what you need whether you are new to the sport or a seasoned veteran. Having these ten things with you at swim practice will set you up for a PR performance.
Swim wall at Podium Multisport
1. Mesh gear bag. Backpacks, duffel bags, and sling bags are nice, but a mesh bag is open to let your gear breathe and dry out between workouts. Your gear bag will be big enough to hold everything you need for swim practice.
2. Swimsuit. “Jammers,” a knee length suit, are popular right now for men and a one-piece is the usual choice for women. Any swimsuit will do. Rinse your suit after every use for longer life. Eventually, you will need to decide if you’ll be wearing your bike gear under a wetsuit or speedsuit, or if you intend to change from swim gear into bike gear after you swim. Wetsuits and speedsuits are outside the scope of this post but might be something you need to think about depending on when and where you will be racing.
3. Goggles. In my competitive swimming days, I swore by Swedish goggles. In triathlon, soft gaskets (to protect the head and eyes) and large lenses (to maximize vision) are a best bet for racing. Not every goggle will fit every face. You will need to find a goggle that works for you. Aquasphere and Zoggs are a good place to start. Tint is an important factor depending on expected training and racing conditions. You will probably need more than one pair of goggles, and may even want a spare in case they break. To protect your goggles, rinse them after use and store them in a protective case.
4. Towel. If you swim a lot, you’ll end up doing a lot of laundry. Consider a smaller and lighter chamois sport towel (sometimes called a “Sammy”) instead of a normal bath towel. You can use it to dry off, rinse and squeeze it out, let it air dry, and it will be ready to use again after your next swim.
5. Water bottle. Be sure to stay hydrated while you swim.
6. Swim cap. I prefer not training in a swim cap, but you are going to wear one when you race so a race shouldn’t be the first time you put one on. If you have a lot of hair, putting on a cap might even be a two person job! I like to wear my goggle headstrap under the cap to keep them on my face if they’re kicked or swatted off.
7. Pull buoy. A pull buoy is a workout tool that supports your lower body while you isolate and focus on your stroke.
8. Kickboard. A kickboard is a workout tool that supports your upper body while you isolate and focus on your legs.
9. Fins. Fins let you ride higher in the water, focus on your kick, and feel what it’s like to go fast. Get a pair of full sized power fins first. Fins are sometimes used with a kickboard.
10. Paddles. Hand paddles are often used with a pull buoy to improve strength and technique. Be sure you have a good stroke before using paddles to improve your strength and technique. Ease into using them as they can stress your shoulder and elbow.
Put your name on your gear as it can get a little cluttered on deck!