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What gear do I need for Open Water Swimming

What gear do I need for Open Water Swimming

What gear do I need for Open Water Swimming


With the triathlon season fast approaching, now is the time to take stock of your open water swim supplies and plan any replacements or upgrades. Here is my gear list to help you get started.

Swimsuit: Finding a comfortable swimsuit that provides good coverage and mobility is a given.

Wetsuit: Wetsuits improve buoyancy and reduce drag in the water. The higher the price, the more flexible the neoprene. And remember: full sleeve is faster than sleeveless.

Swimskin: In warm water conditions when wetsuits are not legal, a swimskin can help reduce drag in the water with a hydrophobic coating and by smoothing out your race kit.

Goggles: Because weather conditions vary when swimming outside, it is good to have a variety of lens colors. First, go mirrored. The mirrored surface reduces glare and reflects light away from your eyes. Blue tint increases color perception. Orange or gold lenses improve clarity in hazy, misty, or foggy open water conditions. And black tint helps reduce eye fatigue when it is bright.

Bright swim cap: Swim caps keep hair out of your face, improve your hydrodynamics, increase your visibility for other swimmers, lifeguards, and boaters, and can help keep you warm. If you are swimming in colder water, a neoprene swim cap is an excellent addition to your swim bag.

Earplugs: Earplugs help protect your ears from cold and/or dirty water. They can also be helpful in preventing vertigo or dizziness. Silicone, moldable earplugs are effective and cost efficient.

Swim buoy: Like a bright swim cap, swim buoys add another way to be seen by other swimmers, a lifeguard, or boaters. Swim buoys also give you a temporary place to hold on to if you need/want to stop swimming briefly.

Body Glide: Like all other sports that have repetitive motions, chafing happens when you swim. Use Body Glide at all points where fabric (swimsuit or wetsuit) transitions to skin.

Playtri Open Water Swim Pass: The Playtri Open Water Club is the longest-running weekly open water program in the DFW Metroplex. It runs mid-March through September on Saturday mornings from 7:30-8:45am at Pier 121 Marina. There are two training groups: skills development and deep-water swim. Cost is $10 (cash only) for a single swim drop-in or $100 for the season.


If you have questions about anything in this article or are interested in scheduling a one-on-one swim lesson or coaching, please reach out to me at Happy training and racing this year!



Jim Rowe is a Playtri Level 4 Coach and Coach Education Lead, a USAT LI Certified Coach, and NASM Certified Personal Trainer who works with adult athletes of all abilities from beginners to IRONMAN World Championship qualifiers. Learn more about Jim at

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