The Perfect Triathlon Swimming Gear Checklist for Beginners

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Having the right swimming gear can make a world of difference in your triathlon training and race performances.


In this article, I’ll provide you with a comprehensive checklist of essential swimming gear, tailored specifically for triathletes at every level. So, let’s dive in and get ready to conquer the water!

Table of Contents

The Basics: Swimwear and Goggles


When it comes to choosing swimwear, comfort and functionality are key.

Opt for a well-fitting swimsuit that allows for freedom of movement without causing any discomfort or chafing.

For men, Square cut briefs and “jammers” are popular choices, while women often prefer one-piece or two-piece suits. As swimwear is used exclusively for training, (tri suits are worn in the race) choose swimwear made of chlorine-resistant materials.

Remember, finding the right swimwear that makes you feel confident and comfortable is crucial for enjoyable swimming training.


Goggles are a triathlete’s best friend in the water. They protect your eyes from irritation and help you see clearly underwater.

When selecting goggles, consider both size and lens colour options.

Goggle Sizes

Goggles come in various sizes to accommodate different face shapes and sizes.

It’s essential to find a pair that fits snugly without feeling too tight or causing discomfort. Trying on different sizes and brands can help you find the perfect fit.

Lens Colour Options

Lens colour plays a significant role in enhancing your visibility and adapting to different lighting conditions.

Clear lenses are suitable for indoor pools or low-light conditions, while tinted lenses, such as blue or smoke, can reduce glare and improve visibility in outdoor settings.

Experiment with different lens colours to find the one that works best for you.

Enhanced Comfort and Speed: Wetsuits and Swim Caps


For open water swims, especially in colder temperatures, a wetsuit can provide both insulation and buoyancy. The specific type of wetsuit you choose may vary based on your experience level.


Novice Wetsuits

Novice triathletes may benefit from wetsuits that offer increased buoyancy and insulation, helping them maintain body temperature and improving their overall swimming experience.

Look for wetsuits with thicker neoprene material and additional buoyancy panels strategically placed around the core and legs.

Intermediate and Advanced Wetsuits

Intermediate and advanced athletes may prefer wetsuits that prioritise flexibility and hydrodynamics while still providing sufficient insulation.

These wetsuits often incorporate specialised panels, such as thinner neoprene on the arms and shoulders to enhance arm mobility and catch in the water.

Additionally, they may have textured forearm panels to improve propulsion during the swim stroke.

Swim Caps

Swim caps are not just for keeping your hair out of your face; they also improve hydrodynamics and reduce drag in the water and also add a layer of insulation. A brightly coloured swim cap will contribute to your safety by keeping you visible while swimming.

Swim Caps commonly come in materials such as silicone and latex, but neoprene versions are also available for cold-water swimming.

Choose a brightly coloured one that fits comfortably and stays securely in place during your swim particularly if you have longer hair, to prevent tangles and keep hair under control.

Navigating the Water: Swim Buoy and Navigation Tools

Safety Buoys

A safety buoy is a highly recommended safety device for open water swims. It enhances visibility and serves as a flotation aid if you need to take a quick rest during a long swim.


Safety buoys are typically bright in colour and can be easily strapped around your waist or attached to your leg.


It’s an essential tool that helps both beginner and experienced triathletes feel more secure in the water.

Fine-Tuning Your Technique: Pull Buoys and Swim Fins

Pull Buoys

A pull buoy is a fantastic training tool that helps improve your upper body strength and body position in the water.


By placing the buoy between your thighs, it helps you isolate your arm stroke, allowing you to focus on technique and arm strength.


Beginners and intermediate swimmers can benefit greatly from incorporating pull buoy exercises into their training routines.

Swim Fins

Swim fins, also known as flippers, are great for building leg strength and improving ankle flexibility. They provide additional propulsion in the water, allowing you to swim faster and increase your overall stamina.


Advanced swimmers often use swim fins during specific training sets to work on their kick technique and power. Just remember to start with shorter distances and gradually increase your usage to prevent strain or fatigue.

Other Swimming Training Tools


Kick Board



Investing in the right gear can significantly enhance your swimming experience and performance.

Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced triathlete, the checklist provided here will ensure you have the essentials covered.


Experiment with different gear options, listen to your body, and most importantly, enjoy the process of improving your swim leg.

Coach Shamus

At the heart of MultiSportCoaching is Coach Shamus, a seasoned athlete and experienced coach with a passion for helping others achieve their goals. With over 25 years of experience in coaching athletes of all levels, Coach Shamus has the knowledge and expertise to help you reach your full potential.
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