Triatholon Swimmers

It's all in the prep

One of the great things about swimming outdoors is it's free. You don't need any special kit -- in fact, if you're discreet you don't need any kit at all! But preparation is everything, and that means arriving knowing your swim spot and with everything you need to warm up afterwards. 


Here are some tips:

  • Know your venue: be aware of nuances like currents, tides and entry/exit points

  • Have an idea of the temperature: be aware of how cold the water is and use it to guide you

  • Don't swim alone: make sure you have a swim buddy or somebody to spot from the side

  • Don't stay in for too long

  • Take warming up seriously: have extra layers and a warm drink for afterwards

Here's a handy kit list to download

But remember, you don't have to buy new stuff -- you can improvise with what you've got.

  • Blue Bag
    Carry it well
    Kit bag

    Grab a bag. Think about how far you'll carry it, what the ground and weather are like while you swim, and where you'll put wet stuff afterwards.

    You could use a rucksack, holdall or even a supermarket bag for life.

  • Red Swim Cap
    Be seen
    Stay safe

    Think about your visibility. A brightly-coloured hat and tow float will ensure others can see you. If you're swimming heads-up breaststroke you could wear a bobble hat or beanie.

  • Orange Goggles
    What you need to swim
    Swimming stuff

    For open water swimming with your head in the water, you'll need goggles, earplugs and a swim hat. If it's sunny, pick polarised or shaded goggles.

  • Wetsuit or skins?

    You're going to be in the water for 30-45 mins, so I recommend an outdoor swimming wetsuit. If you're training for a skins event, it's best if I coach you without.

    Swimming wetsuits are different to surfing wetsuits. Please make sure you buy carefully.

    A swimming wetsuit will have a smooth coating and variable thickness so that you are kept buoyant in the right places but you're still able to move your arms freely. Check out my wetsuit buying guide for more info.

  • Jacket
    Pack an extra layer
    For afterwards

    Pack a towel and changing robe or dressing gown to change under, plus an extra layer of warm clothing.

  • Bring a warm drink
    Eat and drink

    Make sure you have eaten and you're well hydrated. A snack and warm drink is a great way to warm up afterwards too.

  • Black Rubber Wellies
    Pack for the weather
    Sun, wind or rain

    Adjust your kit to suit the weather. UV protection is important in the summer, and windproof/waterproof layers are important in the rain. Hot water bottles, hand warmers, thermal socks and lots of layers are essential in the winter.