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What to Wear Under a Wetsuit for Open Water Swimming

   March 23rd, 2017   Posted In: Articles   Tags:

What to Wear Under a Wetsuit for Open Water Swimming

You might have wondered what to wear under a wetsuit for open water swimming. The typical question of what to wear can make or break a date night, job interview, or even your first open water swim where you try out your new triathlon wetsuit! Let’s jump into this a little further to talk about what to wear under a wetsuit for open water swimming. You’re on your own for the date night.

To start, your wetsuit is not intended to keep you dry. Mind blown right? Your wetsuit is designed to help keep you warmer, provide some buoyancy, and help you glide through that beautiful blue liquid a little easier. So whatever you’ve decided to on what to wear under a wetsuit for open water swimming, make sure it can be wet. That new cotton t-shirt from the local swim club is not a great choice. You’ll want something that is going to cling to the skin, and something that when it gets wet, doesn’t move around, bunch up or chafe. Ugh, chafing. What to Wear Under a Wetsuit for Open Water Swimming

That new tri-suit would be a great choice! It will dry quickly when you get out and, even if you don’t go for a bike ride or run right after your swim, you’ll be able to experience the water-wicking capability just sitting around and talking about how awesome it is to swim in open water!

If you’re thinking, “Well, Adam, that’s all fine, but I don’t have a tri-suit.” What do you wear when swimming in the pool? Chances are your favorite training suit will work just fine! Those jammers, briefs or square leg suits are great options for what to wear under a triathlon wetsuit. No need to wear a shirt; however, if you want to cover your torso, make sure it is covered with something that won’t move around a lot. A rash guard would be a good idea.

Ladies, that one piece trainer/race suit that you own (or I’ve even seen the occasional bikini being worn under a triathlon wetsuit) would be excellent options for you. Flowy and baggy, even though a current fashion trend is NOT what we are going for here with either gender.

As with all my recommendations, you simply have to find what works for you. I am simply offering advice based on my experiences. Trial and error is the way to go. Personally, I like to wear jammers for practice swims or open water swim events. When I am wearing jammers, it is very important to note that I make sure to apply ample amounts of wetsuit lube (Body Glide, for example) in order to make sure the dreaded chaffing will not rear its painful sting. When I am training for a triathlon, I make sure to wear a triathlon suit, as that only makes sense for me.

As for my tri suit line-up, I do have multiple ‘practice’ tri suits and ‘race’ tri suits. I always make sure to wear the race tri suits for at least one longer swim to make sure there are no issues. Race day is definitely not the best day for trial and error – finding out that your clothing rubs in places we ought not to speak of is not a good way to start/middle/end a race. That can make for a long day, in more ways than one.

Adam Himmelwright

Adam Himmelwright

Adam Himmelwright is a swimmer that started competing in triathlons as a way to get back into shape. In the 2009 Nations Triathlon, Adam swam the swim portion in a relay triathlon. That propelled him to competing solo. Eight years and numerous tri's later, he is living the triathlete lifestyle.
Adam Himmelwright

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One Comment

  • Avatar TriNewb says:

    I’ve done one tri and it was wonderful- the sport has a lifelong fan of me now. But that swim was cooooold. So I am now looking at wetsuites & shorties. But how about just a neoprene vest, instead of the full “shorty”. Will it do well in swim? Concern is maybe the waist, (with no lower half), will be too open and perhaps baloon out, or somehow prevent warmth from staying close to body, or hinder the swim? Thought? ~Thank you

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